Barcelona thrashed Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in their La Liga clash on Sunday but the victory came with sad news for the Catalans as Barcelona’s golden boy Gavi, limped out of the pitch after sustaining a groin injury.
Ousmane Dembele opened the scoresheet and laid on a hat-trick of assists as the Catalans defeated Athletic Bilbao 4-0 on Sunday, October 23 to stay three points behind toppers Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, it was Valverde’s first meeting against Barcelona since Barca sacked him in January 2020. Valverde wom two league titles, and settled the Catalans on top of the La Liga table in his third campaign at the club before his dismissal.
In the game on Sunday, Dembele netted the opener in the 12th minute of the first half and then created goals for Sergi Roberto and Robert Lewandowski before the end of halftime.
Lewandowski provided the assist for the opener, lofting the ball for Dembele to head in.
In the 18th minute, Barcelona got the second goal as Sergi Roberto scored from a shot with his right foot that takes a deflection, thanks to Dembele’s brilliant assist.
Dembele returned Lewandowski’s favor, creating a scoring opportunity for the Polish striker as he scores with his left foot in the 22nd minute, making it 3-0 for Barcelona within the space of eight minutes!
Robert Lewandowski has now netted his 12th goal in 11 La Liga matches for Barcelona.
While the Catalans became more ferocious and left no breathing space for the visitors, Gavi was leveled to the ground with a knock to his groin area in a duel with Athletic’s Dani Garcia in the 28th minute of the first half.
The play was halted as the injured 2022 Kopa Trophy and Golden Boy winner received medical attention on the field.
Gavi was back to his feet but after trying to play on for about 30 seconds, he went down again and Kessie came on to replace him.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s coach, Xavi Hernandez was booked for yelling at the referee who turned blind eye to the foul on Gavi.
Juan Martinez was not welcoming the complaints from Xavi Hernandez and gave him a yellow card for dissent.
Ousmane Dembele was on the assist again as Ferran Torres fired home in the 73rd minute of the second half after Dembele found him in the area to complete the 4-0 thrashing.
Gavi’s Injury Trouble
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s wonder kid and 2022 Kopa Trophy and Golden Boy winner Pablo Gavira was injured one month before Qatar’s World Cup.
The 18-year-old Spanish midfielder was substituted in tears after a strike to his groin region in a contest with Athletic’s Dani Garcia midway through the first half of the league game on October 23.
After receiving medical treatment and struggling to continue with the match, Gavi fell to the ground a few minutes later, sobbing and holding his right leg.
How Gavi’s injury happened
Gavi had the ball and Dani Garcia ran after him with force to snatch the ball off him. However, the 32-year-old Athletic Bilbao midfielder accidentally caught him in the groin with his knee.
The 18-year-old Barca midfielder was in gruesome pain seconds after picking up the knock.
Gavi tried to play on after doctors came out to treat him but went down again a few minutes later and had to be replaced by Kessie.
Update on Gavi’s injury
With the World Cup just 27 days away, Gavi’s injury will be of concern for the Spanish head coach Luis Enrique especially if it’s a muscle tear.
However, his injury is not believed to be a serious one and shouldn’t impede his hopes of featuring in the Qatar World Cup with Spain.
The 18-year-old midfielder and 2022 Kopa Trophy and Golden Boy winner returned to the pitch at end of the match in a tracksuit to shake hands with the opposition and celebrate with his teammates.
Any muscular tear at this stage of the season could cast a bad spell for any player set to make the trip to the Gulf for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
However, it’s good news for Barcelona and the Spanish fans as the early medical inspections on Gavi have dismissed any muscular problems, verifying the player just had a bruise in the groin area.
When is Gavi likely to return?
Since Gavi joined Barcelona under 16 junior team at the tender age of 11 in 2015 and was promoted to the senior squad last season, the 18-year-old teenage midfielder has formed an important part of Xavi’s team.
The 18-year-old Gavi is also a prominent piece of Luis Enrique’s Spanish squad that will play their World Cup opener in one month against Costa Rica.
However, while the extent of Gavi’s groin injury is yet to be confirmed, Barcelona manager, Xavi Hernandez has dismissed the notion that he could potentially miss the 2022 Qatar World Cup which begins in November.
It means that Luis Enrique will be hoping the injury does not affect Gavi’s impact in his participation for Spain in the World Cup, where he would have a big role to play.
Xavi said: “It looks like it’s not serious, it was a hard blow to the muscle, but we have to wait until tomorrow [Monday] for the medical test.”
However, Gavi will certainly miss Barcelona’s crucial Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Wednesday, October 26.