Barcelona are enjoying themselves at the top of the table, after a tricky spell before the World Cup. Now with an 11-point lead over Real Madrid, the Blaugrana have solidified under Xavi Hernandez and are working in a positive environment.
A large part of this is down to the recruitment carried out in the summer, with Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen at the heart of the improvements. Equally, the young generation already at the club are leading the team forward, with Pedri and Alejandro Balde impressing every weekend.
Speaking to Sid Lowe in The Guardian though, goalkeeper and vice-captain Marc-Andre ter Stegen has highlighted one important element that has helped to turn things around, namely Gavi. Asked whether he was as feisty and agressive in training, ter Stegen confirmed there was only one side to Gavi.
“Yeah, he is. I would say something else [to describe him] but yeah, he is.”
“He gives us something very different. You see it in games. It’s minute 90 and he’s still jumping up. He doesn’t care if the guy next to him is two metres tall, he fights for every ball. He’s very different to the player types we had before.”
“It’s also his mentality. He came in and didn’t worry and this is actually what makes him really, really strong. He doesn’t think about the consequences, which is nice. It’s what we needed. This is why he is very, very important for the team and the group.”
The aggression Gavi gives this Barcelona stands out, with perhaps only Ronald Araujo exhibiting something similar. Frequently Barcelona have lost out in the past few years, in part due to being outfought. Often pressing in the first line of pressure, Gavi sets the tone with his fearless play.