Why Gavi Wore The Wrong Shirt Number VS. Manchester United
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Barcelona starlet Gavi wore the “wrong” shirt number during his club’s thrilling Europa League clash against Manchester United on Thursday, which left many confused.
However, it has now emerged that UEFA rules were the reason behind the 18-year-old midfielder wearing the number 30 shirt instead of his usual number six jersey.
Barcelona and Manchester United played out an exciting encounter at the Camp Nou, which ended 2-2 in the first leg of their Europa League play-off round tie.
Marcos Alonso gave Barcelona the lead, but Marcus Rashford and Jules Kounde scored to give United a 2-1 lead before Raphina levelled late in the match.
However, some eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Gavi was wearing the number 30 shirt, which he inherited from his time in Barcelona’s academy, instead of the number six shirt he has been wearing since last month.
The number six is a significant number at Barcelona as it was once worn by club legend and current manager Xavi Hernandez.
UEFA rules stipulate that players cannot change shirt numbers during a campaign, and Gavi started the season wearing the number 30 shirt. Therefore, he must continue to wear that shirt for European competitions until the start of the 2023/24 season.
In contrast, La Liga rules allow players to change shirt numbers during the season, as long as no other player has worn that number previously that term. Since Riqui Puig left Barcelona for LA Galaxy in August last year, the number six shirt had been vacant, making it available for Gavi.
Despite the confusion, Gavi played an essential role in Barcelona’s tactical setup on Thursday, as he played on the left-wing and often drifted inside when his team had possession.
He created space for Barcelona’s left-back, Jordi Alba, to attack and also forced United’s right-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, to follow him.
However, the Barcelona starlet picked up a booking for a foul on Fred and will miss the second leg against Manchester United at Old Trafford. It was his third booking in European competition this season, leading to a one-match suspension.