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Gavi becomes Spain's youngest-ever player after being named in starting line-up vs Italy

23:25 BST 06/10/2021
Gavi Italy vs Spain Nation League 2021
Luis Enrique decided to give the Barcelona wonderkid the chance to shine in the Nations League semi-final fixture

Barcelona prodigy Gavi has become the youngest player ever to appear in a senior Spain international after being picked to start Wednesday's UEFA Nations League clash with Italy. 

The 17-year-old has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season so far for Barcelona. 

He thrived in his chance with the national team after being called up by Spain boss Luis Enrique, with his nation winning 2-1 over the Azzurri.

Record-breaker 

Gavi was picked alongside Barca team-mate Sergio Busquets and Atletico Madrid's Koke in a three-man Roja midfield against the reigning European champions. 

And, once the game kicked off in the Nations League semi-final encounter, he made history. 

At 17 years and 62 days he is the youngest man ever to pull on the Spain shirt, breaking a record previously set by Angel Zubieta in 1936. 

Fellow Blaugrana wonderkid Ansu Fati came close to breaking the record himself last year, making his Spain bow at 17 years and 308 days to become the second-youngest debutant after Zubieta. 

What has been said?

“See how good the kids are in Spain! It is not normal to see a player with this character, this confidence on his debut. [Gavi] will be the future of the Spain squad and I think the present too,” Luis Enrique told RAI.

“Verratti is his idol! I told him, today you press Verratti from the first moment to the last. He loved it."

The bigger picture 

Gavi has been with Barcelona since the age of 11, having been recruited initially from Betis' youth system. 

His march through the Catalan academy has since been dizzying, as he signed his first professional contract in September 2020 and one year later, just weeks after his 17th birthday, received his first-team bow in La Liga against Getafe. 

To date Gavi has made seven appearances for Barca in all competitions, although he is still waiting for his first competitive goal. 

He was not the only Spain debutant on show on Wednesday, either. 

Villarreal's 18-year-old gem Yeremi Pino came on for the injured Ferran Torres shortly after half-time to make his first appearance, with the Roja leading Italy 2-0 thanks to the Manchester City star's double in the opening 45 minutes.

Further reading