In a European Championship qualification match on Sunday, Spain defeated Georgia 3-1 at home with to goals and assists from Ferran Torres. However, the game was overshadowed by midfielder Gavi’s possibly catastrophic knee injury.
When Gavi hobbled off in the 24th minute against Valladolid, he broke down in tears.
Gavi’s goal for Spain in a 1-0 victory against Norway in October guaranteed both Spain and Scotland’s places in the tournament in Germany the following year.
The 19-year-old Barcelona youngster clashed with an opponent and sustained a severe blow to the side of his right knee. After a few minutes of play, he seemed to injure the same leg while attempting to handle the ball. He then informed the squad right away that he was unable to continue.
After giving his young youngster a hug, Spain’s coach Luis de la Fuente led Gavi into the locker room accompanied by team physicians.
Four minutes into the match, Torres curled a cross to the second post, where the Real Sociedad central defender headed in to give Spain the lead via Robin Le Normand.
Tenth-minute comeback by Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of Georgia equalized the score after some clumsy defense by Le Normand and Dani Carvajal.
Álvaro Morata’s point-blank effort was parried by Georgia’s goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili, who plays for Valencia in Spain, in a reflex save that left the score tied at halftime.
In the 55th minute, Torres scored from José Gaya’s cross when his header went above Mamardashvili’s reach and off the ground.
During his excitement, Torres raced to the bench and held up Gavi’s shirt to dedicate the goal to his clubmate.
“We think it could be serious, given how we know Gavi is a warrior and how he left the field, but we don’t know the extent of the injury,” Torres said. “Our goal is for him to recuperate as soon as possible.”
De la Fuente only included Gavi and Le Normand in his starting lineup from Spain’s 3-1 victory in Cyprus on Thursday.
Group A leader Spain finished first with 19 points. Scotland tied 3-3 with third-place Norway in Glasgow to go into second position with 17 points.
With eight points from eight games, Georgia came in fourth place.