"It can't be, I have to play," Gavi shouted at half-time. She refused, through tears, to accept the first misdiagnosis. Something had cracked in his right knee. And everyone feared the worst. FC Barcelona have confirmed the suspicions after subjecting the player to the relevant medical tests on Monday morning: "The footballer has a complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the right knee and an injury associated with the external meniscus," says the medical statement. It's the most serious injury of his career. He will undergo surgery in the coming days and, although the time off will be known after the operation, it is estimated that it will vary between six and eight months. Or more. Therefore, he will miss the season and his participation in the European Championship and the Olympics will most likely be in jeopardy.
Gavi joins the 13 players injured this international break and the FIFA virus that is transforming into a pandemic. More games, tight schedules, and more international travel. A problem that the FIFPRO union has been warning about for years, and that coaches such as Guardiola or Ancelotti have criticised. And before the Christmas break, Barcelona will not rest either, and will play a friendly in Dallas against Club America on December 21. Just one day after the last LaLiga game of the year.
De la Fuente: "It's the bitterest victory of my life"
The Barça player was seriously injured in Spain's match against Georgia in the pre-European Championship phases. La Roja had already qualified. "Important injury," the federation said on Sunday. And it came true. On the pitch the tragedy was chewed up. The 19-year-old left the dressing room crying in the 26th minute. Ferran showed Gavi's shirt after scoring a goal, and social networks went down with messages from other players and teammates. "We're leaving with a bad feeling because of Gavi's injury. We send you courage and strength. We don't know the extent of the injury, but knowing how he is as a warrior and how he has left the field, we believe that it could be serious," Ferran said after the match. And he was right. Mourning was coming to Barcelona, who do not have a large squad.
We're with you, brother! I know you'll come back stronger than ever. Lots of strength, Gavi! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/RFOIYDbgVV
— Pedri González (@Pedri) November 19, 2023
Gavi fell to the ground, overwhelmed, after a fortuitous action with Luka Lochoshvili. He writhed and suffered from his knee, which had been beaten, so he left the field and was attended to by the doctors. But he would return to the pitch and, after a jump, land on the turf and his knee would shudder. "Gavi is hyperactive. He never wants to stop. He's got a lot of energy and that's why he plays so much and so well. Good players never rest, that's why they're good and special," said Luis de la Fuente in the build-up to the game. But after the match the coach was "devastated", and blamed the injury on an accident and misfortune in football: "In the dressing room it seems that we lost. It's a wake. I told the players that, even with a broken heart, we had to take the game forward in tribute to the injured teammate."
Gavi has played practically everything. Since De la Fuente arrived on the bench of the national team, the Barça player has been present in all the matches: nine as a starter, one as a substitute. "We feel it in our souls," said the Spanish coach when asked a few words for FC Barcelona, Gavi's team. Within the club, his presence is central and his impact on the team is total. Barcelona will have to get used to the loss of competitiveness and commitment that Gavi offered in midfield. This season, in LaLiga, he is the second Barcelona player to recover the most (8), only behind Gündogan with one more. And he is the third with the most minutes played (943), with Ter Stegen (1170) and Gündogan (1091) at the helm. Of the entire competition, he is the player who wins the second most defensive duels (83), behind Rayo Vallecano defender Pacha Espino (97). Of the 111 games he has played for Barça, 89 of them have been as a starter. He only missed six games in his first season, four in his second and two more since the start of this season. A lot of minutes for a 19-year-old.
Despite this, there are those who do not see a clear correlation between the calendar and cruciate injuries. This is according to LaLiga, which points out that the boy is number 59 in participation per minute in the Spanish championship. Sources from the employers' association also recall other cases such as those of Courtois, Militão or David Silva, who were injured in pre-season or at the beginning of the season, "when there has not yet been saturation of matches".
Be that as it may, Gavi's absence leaves a big hole in Barcelona, who will be able to take advantage of LaLiga regulations and, as it is an injury of more than four months, incorporate a new player. The requirement will be that his salary is a maximum of 80% of Gavi's salary for the remainder of the season at the time of his registration. And without repercussions on fairplay, although it will not be free: it will have to be computed next year.
FIFA will also have to pay for the midfielder. According to the organization's club protection program, for the loan of players to their national teams, from 28 days of inactivity since the injury, Barcelona will receive compensation. The daily amount is up to €20,548, with a maximum of 365 days and therefore €7.5 million.
Ter Stegen suffers from low back pain
Barcelona were starting to get back on their feet after a fearsome waiting list in the infirmary last month. But bad news came to Barcelona from Germany. During this international break, Ter Stegen was also showing discomfort. The Barça goalkeeper left the training camp with Germany on Friday. A sharp pain in his back forced him to miss the games against Turkey and Austria, and he returned to Barcelona to recover and find out the extent of his ailment on Monday afternoon. Although, although alarm bells went off at Can Barça because he is an essential player, it is an episode of low back pain. A serious injury is ruled out, which gives Xavi Hernandez air and oxygen.
The evolution of his pain over the next few days will mark his presence in next weekend's match against Rayo Vallecano on matchday 14 of LaLiga. Beyond Gavi, only Sergi Roberto and Frenkie de Jong remain to recover after accumulating up to six injured players at the same time. In total, 12 first-team players have been out since the start of the season.
The Dutch footballer trained with the group on Monday, with the expectation of being cleared and being able to travel to Madrid. Another respite for Xavi, who has seen in the last two seasons how up to eight players have lost with the national teams of their respective countries: Alejandro Balde, Ronald Araujo, Jules Koundé did so at the beginning of this season; and Ousmane Dembele, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay, last year. A pandemic of injuries that Barcelona never seems to be completely free of. Optimism and concern haunt the Catalans.
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