Spain national team head coach Luis de la Fuente responded to criticism he has been receiving ever since FC Barcelona’s midfielder Pablo Gavi tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers match between Spain and Georgia.
Fuente, who became Spain’s coach last year, stated that he doesn’t like when clubs try to interfere in national team setup and cleared himself of any blame for Gavi’s unfortunate injury.
“Barca did not ask for Gavi not to play the last game with Spain. Just as I don’t interfere in the clubs, I don’t like it when they do it. We had the idea that he would play 45 minutes against Georgia,” De La Fuente told Radio Marca.
Despite Spain already qualifying for the European championship, De La Fuente clarified that the match against Georgia was not a formality and the players should be in the best physical shape to represent their country.
“Gavi’s injury? Whoever thinks this match was a formality is wrong. You always have to be in the best shape and have the honour of representing your country. I informed Xavi of my regrets about the injury.
“He is very loved. He saw that I had a bad time and he calmed me down. I had a very bad time. I didn’t care about the result,” he added.
He emphasised that the best time for players to rest is when they are with the club because of the size of the squad and the amount of matches. He also added that the players want to play for the national team which is why they are not responsible for anything that happens to them during the international break.
“The place where a player has the greatest opportunity to rest is when he is with his club because he plays 40 matches
“The footballer always wants to play. That’s why I say that the national team is not responsible for anything. The calendar is what it is,” he said.
It must be noted that Gavi had a complete ACL tear which will keep him out of action for 7-9 months, the club had confirmed in a brief press release.