Gavi World CupSoccer Future Watch: Gavi Soccer Cards, FC BarcelonaAsk any Barcelona fan to name some positives from Ronaldo Koeman’s time in charge at the Camp Nou and you’ll find the list is rather short.

However, there is one thing that almost anyone you ask would mention. And that one thing, or rather one player, is Gavi. On the 29th of August 2021, Pablo Martín Páez Gavira, the barely 17 year old central midfielder from Andalusia, made his first team debut as a late substitute in a win over Getafe. That made him the fourth youngest player ever to appear for Barça in La Liga.

Almost immediately after his club debut, Gavi was called up to the Spain senior squad by Luis Enrique. He made his national team debut in the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals against Italy on October 6th 2021. This made him the youngest player ever to represent Spain at senior level. Eyebrows were raised. This kid had only played for Spain at under-15 and under-16 level, and now he was skipping the 19s and the 21s and slotting straight into the senior team. What provoked an even more incredulous reaction was the fact that Gavi didn’t look out of place. He flew into tackles, he took on his man, he mixed it up with the likes of Jorginho, Nico Barella, and Paul Pogba.  He came out looking like he belonged.

Soccer Future Watch: Gavi Soccer Cards, FC BarcelonaSince then Gavi has cemented his place in the national team and at Barcelona. He and teammate Pedri are seen as the heirs to Xavi and Iniesta. The fact that Xavi now manages Barcelona and that Gavi’s name happens to sound a lot like Xavi’s name has something to do with this comparison. However, there is some truth to it too. Gavi regularly displays the aggressiveness, the will to win, and the progressive style of play that have been all too rare at FC Barcelona in recent years.

It takes a lot for a midfielder to make a hobby impact in soccer. In 66 career appearances (49 starts) for Barcelona, Gavi only has 2 goals and 6 assists. By way of contrast, he has 20 yellow cards in the same period. Gavi will never be your Frank Lampard 20 goal a season midfielder, but that’s okay. Anyone that watches this young man, whether it be for Barcelona or for Spain, cannot take their eyes off him. Gavi grabs games, and sometimes other players, by the scruff of the neck. He is never a passenger, he is a driving force. And when the unstoppable force of Gavi meets the immovable object of card collectors’ obsession with goals… Gavi wins every time.

Look for Gavi’s rookie cards in 2021-22 Topps UEFA Champions League releases, 2021-22 Panini La Liga Mosaic, La Liga Chronicles, Panini Obsidian Soccer, and Panini 2022 World Cup Prizm.

Soccer Future Watch: Gavi – Statistics

Soccer Future Watch: Gavi Soccer Cards, FC BarcelonaStatistical image generated on Sports Reference as of 11/21/2022.

Soccer Future Watch: Gavi Soccer Cards, FC Barcelona – More Resources

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Jason Flynn
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