With Euro 2024 qualifying coming to a close, Spain have suffered a devastating injury that could have great effect both at the international level and in La Liga.
Barcelona midfielder Gavi was withdrawn in the 26th minute of Spain’s victory over Georgia to close out the qualifying competition.
Spain had already qualified for the finals in Germany next summer, while Georgia was already on a collision course for the playoff round, making the match meaningless from a competitive standpoint.
Regardless, both Barcelona and Spain may have to set contingency plans into motion as they are likely to be without one of Europe’s most influential young players.
MORE: Full list of teams who have qualified for Euro 2024 with the main phase complete
According to a report by Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens of ESPN, Barcelona midfielder Gavi has suffered a serious knee injury on international duty with Spain. Barcelona-based radio journalist Marta Ramon Gorina corroborated that report, while Fabrizio Romano was a little more vague, saying Gavi had suffered a “major knee injury.”
The 19-year-old star was forced off in the opening half-hour of Spain’s 3-1 win over Georgia on November 19, unable to continue and sporting a pained look on his face as he received treatment.
“It looks like it’s a serious injury,” Spain head coach Luis de la Fuente said after the match. “He is really worried. It’s the most bitter victory I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
The players, seemingly well aware of the serious nature of the injury, rallied around Gavi as the match progressed. Ferran Torres gave Spain a 2-1 lead shortly after halftime and held up Gavi’s jersey to the fans as part of his celebration.
If it is confirmed that Gavi suffered a torn ACL, he could miss the rest of the club season with Barcelona. Recovery time for such an injury can take anywhere between 6-12 months depending on the severity of the injury and the player’s response to recovery.
Euro 2024 begins on June 14 in Germany, which is about seven months from suffering the injury.
Given his young, Gavi may have a chance at recovering in time for the end of the club campaign, or for the summer’s European championship. However, he will need to rebuild his full match fitness to play a significant role for club or country, and without matches with Barcelona to help in that regard, he may not be fit for a full 90 minute contribution over the summer for the national team.
With Spain having already secured qualification to Euro 2024, Gavi was one of just two Spain players who retained their starting place from the 3-1 win over Cyprus days prior.
Yet after a coming together with Luka Lochoshvili in midfield, the young star landed awkwardly and collapsed to the turf.
Gavi has been heavily used this season for both club and country, logging 1,172 minutes for Barcelona this year across all competitions, while also starting each of Spain’s last eight matches dating back to June’s UEFA Nations League finals.
Despite that, Spain boss de la Fuente denied suggestions that overuse contributed to Gavi’s injury. “It’s an accident, it’s bad luck. It doesn’t have anything to do with the accumulation of games,” de la Fuente said.
“He was in perfect condition. He hasn’t played before the international break because he was suspended, he was fresh and in great shape. There was no problem.”
Marta Ramon Gorina’s report states that Barcelona are “furious” with de la Fuente for risking Gavi in a meaningless game considering his heavy workload this season.