Spain boss hits back at Barcelona complaints after Gavi suffers serious knee injury
The teenager's season could be over.
Spain boss Luis de la Fuente has rejected suggestions from Barcelona that he unnecessarily risked Gavi after the teenager suffered a serious knee injury in Sunday night’s 3-1 win over Georgia.
The 19-year-old was forced off in tears in the 26th minute of the Euro 2024 qualifier when his knee gave way as he attempted to control the ball, having earlier taken a heavy knock to the same knee.
Early indications are that Gavi has torn his ACL, which would mean his season is over and he will likely miss next summer’s tournament in Germany too.
Reports in Spain claim Barcelona are furious with Fuentes for playing Gavi – with La Roja’s qualification already assured – while his pre-match comments about the midfielder’s workload, in which he said ‘good players don’t need rest’, have not gone down well.
Asked about Barcelona’s grievances, De la Fuente replied: ‘I understand Barca’s complaints, but if it’s not Gavi it could have happened to someone else.
‘This can happen in a La Liga match, in training or in any situation.
‘Sometimes people don’t realise the risk that every moment entails from the moment you put on your boots.
‘It was an accident, a misfortune, but Gavi was perfectly ready to play.’
Asked if Gavi’s participation at both the Euros and the Olympics next summer is under threat, De La Fuente added: ‘Now I’m not even thinking about the European Championships, with all due respect. Only the health of the player.’
On how Gavi, and the whole squad, reacted to the injury, the Spain boss continued: ‘It is the most complicated, bitter and difficult day of my career.
‘It is a very hard moment for the player, for Barcelona, for the RFEF (Spanish FA) and also for me. In the locker toom, it seemed like we had lost.
‘At half-time, it was like a wake. Football has moments like this, it is a risky activity and this is the ugly part. I’m so sorry for Gavi.
‘We have spoken with him. The blow had nothing to do with it. The damage was done in a control in which he was turning, he stepped wrong and the knee went out.
‘He is sad, he does not understand why this has happened to him. Sometimes we believe that we are untouchable but life teaches us that we are tremendously fragile.’
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