Gavi has been one of the key topics of conversation in Spain this week, and this time it is not related to his stellar performances. Following their 1-0 win over Getafe, there were plenty of dissenting voices complaining that Gavi tends to get away with fouls, but in particular bookings.
The 18-year-old is one of the most aggressive players in the league and pursues the ball with intensity, which is part of what makes him so effective. Some say that he crosses the line though, even comparing him to Casemiro, who had a reputation for escaping punishment.
Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s clash with Real Sociedad, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez dismissed the idea.
“It seems silly to me. There is a referee who decides. Gavi is passionate and has courage, he puts that into his game. From my point of view there are many fouls and they whistle few. Those who think otherwise are the creators of ‘Villarato’.”
Xavi references the famous concept that referees favoured one, or both, of the big two under former RFEF President Jose Angel Villar.
“When he goes with the national team he’s wonderful and, when he plays for Barca, people do not like him. It’s normal. And if we win, people like it less. That’s the way it is. Gavi has to be calm and keep playing with passion. I recommend that he doesn’t stop. He has no ceiling.”
No doubt Xavi has a point that the partisan has an influence in how Gavi’s physicality is viewed. Neither is he himself objective in that matter though.
Currently Gavi has three yellow cards in La Liga, gained from 41 fouls. Only Vinicius Souza of Espanyol and Erik Lamela of Sevilla have made more fouls this season.