Gavi ruled out of Barcelona’s Europa League second leg against Man Utd


Barcelona have been dealt a huge blow already ahead of the second leg of their Europa League knockout playoff against Manchester United next week.

The Catalans played out a 2-2 draw with the Premier League side at Camp Nou on Thursday night, evoking memories of iconic back-to-back 3-3 draws between the clubs back in the autumn of 1998, which has left the tie delicately balanced.

But Barca will have to do without Gawi in Manchester, whose yellow card for a foul on Fred means he is now out of the second leg.

It was the 18-year-old’s third booking in European competition this season, enough to trigger a one-match ban. United were missing both Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer at the Camp Nou for similar reasons, with the latter collecting his yellow cards with parent club Bayern Munich.

Gavi has been a regular first-team player for Barcelona since turning 17 at the start of last season. He made most of his debut campaign alongside fellow youngster Pedri in central midfield, but has established himself on the left wing in recent weeks.

A graduate of La Masia after joining Barcelona as an 11-year-old, he now has a buyout clause in his contract worth €1bn in a deal that runs until 2026.

That deal was agreed back in September but only formally registered in late January. Before that, Gavi was officially still a Barcelona Athletic player, but his move to the first-team has seen him assigned a new shirt number – the six made famous by current boss Xavi.

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