Barcelona's Gavi suffers 'significant knee injury' with Spain

BySAM MARSDEN AND MOISÉS LLORENS
November 19, 2023, 5:49 PM

Barcelona midfielder Gavi suffered a "significant knee injury" in Spain's 3-1 Euro 2024 qualifying win against Georgia on Sunday, a Spanish Football Federation [RFEF] spokesperson confirmed to ESPN.

Gavi, 19, will undergo tests on Monday to determine the full severity of the injury, but sources close to the player fear he could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

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Spain coach Luis de la Fuente made nine changes to the La Roja side that beat Cyprus last Friday, with Gavi one of just two players, along with Real Sociedad's Robin Le Normand, to keep their place.

However, he was forced off midway through the first half after a collision with Georgia's Luka Lochoshvili, replaced by Athletic Club's  Oihan Sancet.

Gavi was able to limp off the pitch with Spain's medical staff, but the expression on his face suggested he feared the worst.

The Spain players also seemed aware of the extent of the injury, with Barça teammate Ferran Torres celebrating his goal, which made it 2-1, by holding up Gavi's No.9 shirt.

Gavi has been a a regular for Barça and Spain this season, only missing two games -- both for his club -- through suspension.

His importance for Xavi Hernández's Spanish champions has grown due to long-term injuries to Pedri and Frenkie de Jong, with the coach calling him the "heart and soul of the team."

Pedri returned to action just before the international break after two months out, with De Jong in line to make his comeback against Rayo Vallecano this weekend.

Barça then face FC Porto, Atlético Madrid and surprise LaLiga leaders Girona at home in three potentially season-defining games.

Spain had already booked their place at next summer's Euro 2024 finals in Germany prior to Sunday's match against Georgia, but still ended their qualifying campaign with a win at the José Zorrilla Stadium in Valladolid.

Le Normand gave them a fourth minute lead only for Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia to draw the visitors level just six minutes later.

Torres restored Spain's lead in the 55th minute and Lochoshvili completed the scoring, heading youngster Lamine Yamal's cross into his own net with just under 20 minutes remaining.