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Gavi o Gabrieliño

There are players that the general public is taking the temperature very little by little, especially those more veteran fans who have tasted promises of all sizes and colors, as is the case of my grandfather Manolo. The old man, who finished the Pizjuán game quite tired because from a certain age even the minutes of televised football weigh, especially in rainy conditions, continues to call Pablo Martín Páez Gavira “Gabrieliño” as if every day he took it out himself to the field of the hand. It is a common mistake in people with a petrified ear and little desire to be corrected: what is gained by what is lost. But it is also a show of respect – and almost devotion – to give a proper name to a footballer of youth age and with the body of a small bullfighter, like that Emilio Muñoz who dazzled Madonna in Take a Bow . Without going any further, and about to end their contracts, Dembélé and Coutinho continue to be, for my grandfather, “the French” and “nothing at all”.

At first glance, Gavi, could seem like a tribune-playing footballer, which in politics would be a populist: he doesn't take a break, doesn't sign a truce, goes to everything and with everything, like those lion cubs who fight with her littermates for every inch of mother's nipple. He does not care about the size, nor the cold numbers of the DNI, nor the scars accumulated by the rival. He treats all of them with the same lack of respect, understanding this, respect, as an overrated word that has nothing to do with its academic meaning when it comes to a soccer field. But scratching a little more, what really instills respect are his abilities with the ball, his respect – now – reverential towards the Holy Grail of a sport that, too often, exalts athletes and hitmen as if the field of play were a succession of tartan and trenches. There is play at the feet of the Sevillian. And fundamentals in a head so well furnished that it makes you want to be photographed with her in the Hello!

Barça won the lottery with the early hatching of a larva that Luis Enrique sensed the bug's face as soon as he saw it appear in the Camp Nou garden. A garden that he shared with Messi, his rightful owner, and that now chooses his name as a weapon of massive resurrection. Once again, the need has shown the club the convenience of finding at home before looking outside everything that is not differential. And I do not mean that Gavi is not, or that he will not be: only that it is more profitable to cultivate pearls than to deal in diamonds, a lesson that the big clubs end up learning when their pantries are full of cobwebs. That my grandfather confuses the root of his nickname is the least of it. It was enough for him to sense blood in his eye and wind in his legs to decide that Páez Gavira, 'Gavi', had to be baptized as any pro Galician would do with his own grandson: ignoring the initial will of his parents and adding, in the end , a suffix of endearment.

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