Barcelona are basking in the glow of their 3-1 victory over arch nemesis Real Madrid, but nobody more so than teenage superstar Gavi.
The 18-year-old was unquestionably man of the match, despite playing in an unfamiliar position on the left wing. Against five-time Champions League-winning right-back Dani Carvajal, he proved uncontainable.
“I’m left speechless.” manager Xavi Hernandez told Marca after the match.
“He’s pure passion, pure soul. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when he doesn’t play. He’s contagious for the team and he’s only 18 years old.”
“The heart he puts into it is incredible. Gavi is a kid who excites us all. He puts in soul and character and infects the rest of the team with it. He is an innate leader and it comes from within. The rage that comes out of him is spectacular. I never tire of praising him. This boy has no ceiling.”
The statistics behind his match were highly impressive too. Few players have the blend of technique and aggression that Gavi brings.
Gavi’s game by numbers vs. Real Madrid:
100% crosses completed
88% pass accuracy
7/9 ground duels won
3/3 tackles won
3/3 aerial duels won
3 key passes
The complete performance. 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/XKDCLXQ2Yx
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 15, 2023
Gavi was involved in all three goals with either the decisive pass or the decisive touch. While there is no way that he needed a coming of age moment, this feels like a further step in his remarkable rise to the top.
While in the past perhaps it has been easiest for Xavi to drop Gavi rather than Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets or Pedri, performances like this will quickly do away with any idea of leaving him on the bench. From now on, he can probably expect to be a fixture in the starting XI for Barcelona.
👶 𝗚𝗮𝘃𝗶, el jugador más joven el marcar un gol y dar una asistencia en la 𝗵𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗮 𝗱𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘀 𝗰𝗹𝗮́𝘀𝗶𝗰𝗼𝘀.
😍 ¡AQUÍ SU PARTIDAZO!
— RFEF (@rfef) January 16, 2023