Spanish football club Barcelona have confirmed that their star player Gavi suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear and will undergo surgery, which rules him out of competitive football for at least seven to nine months.
Gavi suffered the injury during his national team’s Euro qualifier match against Georgia on Sunday (Nov 19). The teenager was forced off the field in tears and it quickly became evident that he had suffered some serious damage.
“Tests carried out on Monday morning on the first team player Gavi have shown that he has a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and an associated injury to the lateral meniscus,” Barcelona said in a statement.
“The player will have surgery in the coming days after which a new medical update will be released.”
The injury means that Gavi will miss the rest of the La Liga season as well as the Champions League campaign for the Catalan side. As for the national team, it looks highly unlikely that he will be available for Euro 2024, scheduled to take place in Germany in June 2024.
Massive blow for Spain and Barcelona
The injury is a massive blow as Gavi, despite being a teenager, had become a central part of both Barcelona and Spain. Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has described the boy wonder as the “heart and soul” due to his tenacity and desire for the game.
Spain coach Luis de la Fuente, however, has come under heavy scrutiny from the fans for playing Gavi in a match when most the starters had been given a rest.
Speaking after the match, De la Fuente said the dressing room wore the look of a funeral.
“The dressing room is like a funeral parlour. It was an accident, it could have happened to anyone,” said De la Fuente who revealed that it was a few minutes after Luka Lochoshvili’s challenge that Gavi suffered the injury, attempting to control the ball midway through the first half.
The injury has reopened the debate about players being forced to play an excessive number of games at the elite level. Still only 19, Gavi has already played over 100 times for Barcelona and has made 27 appearances for Spain.
The likes of Gavi and other top footballers are forced to play over 60 games a season if their club team goes the distance in all tournaments. With international games, the tally goes upward of 70, meaning the players have less and less recovery time between the matches.
(With inputs from agencies)