Spain midfielder Gavi leaves European qualifier in tears with knee injury

Spain midfielder Gavi was substituted in the first half after suffering a potentially serious right-knee injury during a 3-1 win over Georgia in their final European Championship qualifying game on Sunday.

The 19-year-old Barcelona player was in tears when he limped off the field in the 24th minute in Valladolid.

“It is a very hard, very difficult moment, above all for our player, but also for Barcelona, the federation, the national team, his teammates, for me,” Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said. “We are distraught. The mood in the locker room was like we had lost. But this is part of soccer, this is its ugly side.”

Gavi took a hard hit to the side of his right knee when he and a Georgia player collided a few minutes before he had to come off. He kept playing and appeared to hurt the same leg while trying to control a ball. After that he immediately signaled to the team that he could not continue.

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Spain forward Ferran Torres held up Gavi’s jersey after scoring in the second half to make it 2-1.

Gavi has become a key player for Barcelona and for Spain. He started every game for Spain at last year’s World Cup, and his goal against Norway in October secured a 1-0 win that qualified his nation for Euro 2024 next year.

Last year he won the Kopa Trophy for the best under-21 player at age 18.


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