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Xavi explains how much Barcelona miss Gavi: “He is the soul of the team”

The boss says the young midfielder’s absence is one of the reasons for the recent struggles

Real Mallorca v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by David S.Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Barcelona’s season took a turn for the worse after the November international break, with a run of terrible performances and results that continued through December and the first two weeks of 2024, culminating in the awful El Clásico defeat in the Spanish Super Cup Final.

It is no coincidence that Barça’s worst stretch of the season has happened since the season-ending injury to midfielder Gavi in Spain duty. The 19-year-old had become a crucial part of the team just before tearing his ACL, and he was one of the big reasons why Barça were playing well and showing great competitive spirit during the months of September and October when the Blaugrana were winning almost every game.

Gavi’s absence has certainly been felt not only in the lack of quality football but especially in the lack of passion and intensity in several of the recent games, and coach Xavi Hernández also knows that’s the case. Speaking to the press before Thursday’s Copa del Rey tie away to Unionistas de Salamanca, the coach explained just how much Gavi means to the squad.

Xavi is not wrong. Barça’s chaotic season has been disrputed by a number of serious injuries to key players since the very beginning, and losing the likes of Gavi, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Marc-André ter Stegen for long stretches throughout the campaign has hurt the team’s continuity and their ability to play a number of consecutive games together.

The boss still seems to be searching for the right formula to replace Gavi’s heart, but the two-month sample size without the young midfielder has been hugely concerning as the team cannot show the same passion and the coach can’t offer many tactical solutions to the problems that Gavi’s absence creates.

Xavi is obviously not the only one to blame. Players must take responsibility and search within themselves to find the same passion and love for the badge that Gavi showed every single game, and sometimes players can unite and be good enough to overcome poor coaching and still achieve success by themselves.

Sacking Xavi won’t solve every problem and Gavi is not coming back. The season is not over, and this squad is way too talented and experienced not to find a way to do better.

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