Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has denied reports that he was frustrated with Spain manager Luis de la Fuente for his management of Gavi, after the 19-year-old tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Sunday.
Speaking initially onwhat the loss of Gavi meant to the team, he noted that he would be missed especially at Vallecas, where Barcelona will take on Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
“Gavi’s loss is a disgrace for us. He is irreplaceable. The heart, the desire and the courage he puts in… we have to try to replace him but it is difficult. Tomorrow we would need Gavi, for example. Because of the game that it is, the rival that it is. Vallecas is always very complicated. In recent times we have not been able to beat this team. We have been able to train quite well with those who have stayed.”
After the Spain injury, there was a series of reports claiming that Xavi was highly frustrated with Spain manager Luis de la Fuente for starting Gavi against Georgia. After playing 90 minutes in the previous match against Cyprus with Spain cruising to a win, de la Fuente said ahead of the match that the ‘good players never rest’.
“I have a very good relationship with De la Fuente. He called me on Tuesday and we were talking. I don’t think it’s a problem of a coach’s management, but rather the calendar. With Gavi’s age, he has a lot of minutes. Sometimes it’s a matter of misfortune. I think it’s to do with the calendar, of minutes.”
Xavi was probed again, but was assertive that he was not blaming de la Fuente for the injury.
“There is no controversy with De la Fuente. There is no problem with him, there is no controversy. The issue is the calendar.”
Gavi’s injury was highly unfortunate for both Barcelona and Spain, as he is likely to miss both the Euros and the Olympics next summer, leaving him distraught. For Barcelona, it will put increased strain on the likes of Pedri, who has been laid low with consistent injuries for the past two seasons, and Ilkay Gundogan, who has played almost all of the minutes this season.