New Delhi: Barcelona’s 18-year-old midfielder, Pablo Martín Páez Gavira, known as Gavi, has been crowned the world’s best Under-21 footballer by winning the Kopa Trophy at the Ballon d’Or awards.
The Spain international has been named the winner of the 2022 Kopa Trophy which is handed to the best Under-21 player in the world. Gavi has beaten Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, Bayern’s Jamal Musiala, and Eduardo Camavinga to win the prize. Gavi’s Barcelona team-mate Pedri won the award last year and previous winners include Kylian Mbappe and Matthijs de Ligt.
Gavi burst onto the scene in 2021 and quickly became a regular for Barcelona and Spain despite his lack of top-level experience. The tactical midfielder has already made 60 appearances for Barca, despite only turning 18 in August. Barcelona moved to secure his long-term future by handing him a contract in September that contains a €1 billion release clause.
Gavi after picking up the award from team-mate and former winner Pedri said, “I try and give the best of myself the whole time and try to apply myself in the best way.” While, last year’s winner admitted he was thrilled to see his midfield partner succeed him saying, “It is a very proud thing to see [Gavi win],” he added. “We spend a lot of time together and I hope we are playing together for many years to come.”
Gavi is the youngest player ever to score for Spain in a competitive game. He found the back of the net against Ukraine in the Nations League in September 2020 at the age of 17 years and 304 days.
The teenager was left out of Barcelona’s starting XI for El Clasico but will be hoping to return on Thursday when Xavi’s side takes on Villarreal in La Liga at Camp Nou.