New Barcelona wonderkid Gavi emerges from Ilaix Moriba’s shadow

Carlo Garganese
Carlo Garganese Updated: 17 May 2021 18:27 CEST 3 min read
New Barcelona wonderkid Gavi emerges from Ilaix Moriba’s shadow

Teenage midfielder Gavi earned rave reviews after a brilliant first start for Barcelona B on Sunday.

The 16-year-old filled in the void left by Ilaix Moriba, who has now been promoted to the Barcelona senior side after a stunning goal against Osasuna last week.

Who is Gavi?

Like the 18-year-old Moriba, Pablo Paez Gavira – or ‘Gavi’ – is a central midfielder who has graduated through the ranks of La Masia.

Playing this season for the Under-19 side, he was handed his Barcelona B debut by coach Francisco Garcia Pimienta on February 22 in a 6-0 win over L’Hospitalet. He hit the post in a 13-minute substitute appearance.

And on Sunday, Gavi was given his first Barcelona B start in the away match against Espanyol B.

The midfielder was one of the standout players on the pitch as Barca B ran out 1-0 winners, a result that took them to join-top of the Segunda Division B Grupo 3 Grupo A table.

He illustrated his impressive close control, quick feet and dribbling qualities with a number of outstanding runs.

His press resistance and creativity were also clear to see as he always wanted to get on the ball. He has been compared to another teenage star in Pedri.

This performance excited journalists and fans, who took to social media to hail yet another highly touted talent from La Masia.

How good is Gavi?

Indeed, Gavi is regarded by club officials as one of the most gifted youngsters to develop at La Masia in recent years.

He joined Barcelona in 2015 after scoring 96 goals in one season for Real Betis’ youth academy.

Barca beat off interest from Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid to sign the then 11-year-old.

He has since progressed through the youth ranks and – after more interest from Europe’s biggest clubs – he signed a new contract last summer at Camp Nou until 2023.

During a difficult season in which Barcelona are struggling to win a major trophy and are already out of the Champions League, the emergence of youth players such as Moriba, Pedri and Gavi will certainly offer fans hope for a brighter future.