Who is Gavi, the 17-year-old who became La Roja’s youngest ever goalscorer?

Aged 17 and 304 days, the FC Barcelona midfielder has broken Ansu Fati’s record by netting against the Czech Republic.

Gavi, the Barcelona and Spain midfielder, has broken yet another record. He was already the youngest debutant in the history of the national team and on Sunday he scored his first goal, becoming the youngest ever player to score for La Roja.

By finding the back of the net at the age of 17 years and 304 days in a 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic in the Nations League this week, Gavi broke the record set in 2020 by his FC Barcelona teammate Ansu Fati, who scored for Spain aged 17 years and 311 days.

During the October 2021 international break, Gavi had already made history. By making his debut against Italy in the Nations League semi-finals, becoming the youngest debutant in the history of La Roja, at just 17 years and 62 days. The record was previously held by Ángel Zubieta, who made his debut for Spain at the age of 17 years and 284 days in 1936, with Gavi surpassing him by more than 200 days.

It has been a rapid rise for Gavi, who has skipped the U19 and U21 age groups to go straight to the senior squad. That is similar to his meteoric progression through La Masia, the academy he joined aged 11 in 2015 after taking his first steps in football with Real Betis in his home province of Seville. After arriving in Barcelona’s renowned football school, Gavi worked his way through the various age categories to the point where he made his debut for the Catalan club’s senior side in September of 2021, going on to play 46 times for the Blaugrana in the 2021/22 season.

Gavi’s style of play fits perfectly into Barcelona’s midfield, with comparisons to his coach Xavi based on a lot more than the similarity of their names. Despite his small frame, the right-footed midfielder can get the better of bigger, stronger and older opponents through his intuition and rapid reading of the field.

That’s why he was trusted to start so many important matches. Gavi’s minutes weren’t given to him because of a lack of alternative options in midfield. On the contrary, he earned those opportunities to start ahead of older and more experienced midfield talents.

With Pedri and Ansu Fati also there, FC Barcelona really do have an exciting young core of up-and-coming talents and Gavi is very much a part of this reason for optimism. This is encouraging for the Spanish national team too and the genesis of what could be a promising international career for Gavi.

Three things you may not know about Gavi

His move into La Masia accommodation

After being signed by Barcelona’s academy from Real Betis at the age of 11, Gavi moved to the Catalan capital with his family and they stayed in an apartment in the very centre of town in La Rambla. Before long though, he told his family that they should move back to Andalusia and that he would move into the accommodation at La Masia, convinced he could make it at the Blaugrana.

His triumph at LaLiga Promises

LaLiga Promises is one of the most prestigious youth football tournaments in the world and Gavi won this title during his youth career. In the 2016 edition, Barça were the victors as they defeated Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid in the semi-finals and final, with Gavi scoring both of the goals in the 2-0 semi-final win over the Catalan club’s great rivals.

His red card during another Spain experience

Before his senior debut, the last time Gavi played for Spain at any level was in a friendly match for the U18s against France in May of 2021. That 2-2 draw wasn’t his happiest experience, as the midfielder was shown a straight red card in the 36th minute. Since then, though, Gavi has enjoyed success after success and has made history with La Roja’s senior side.

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