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Gavi ruled out of Barcelona’s second leg against Man Utd

Barcelona have been dealt a huge blow already ahead of the second leg of their Europa League knockout playoff against Manchester United next week.

The Catalans played out a 2-2 draw with the Premier League side at Camp Nou on Thursday night, evoking memories of iconic back-to-back 3-3 draws between the clubs back in the autumn of 1998, which has left the tie delicately balanced.

But Barça will have to make do in Manchester without Gavi, whose yellow card for a foul on Fred means he is now ruled out of the second leg.

It was the 18-year-old’s third booking in European competition this season, enough to trigger a one-match ban. United had been missing both Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer at Camp Nou for similar reasons, the latter accumulating his yellow cards with parent club Bayern Munich.

Gavi has been a regular first-team player for Barcelona since shortly after turning 17 at the start of last season. He made most of his appearances in his debut campaign in central midfield alongside fellow youngster Pedri, but has established himself on the left wing in recent weeks.

A graduate of La Masia after joining Barcelona aged 11, he now has a buyout clause in his contract worth €1bn in a deal that runs until 2026.

That contract was agreed way back in September but was only formally registered at the end of January. Prior to that, Gavi was officially still a Barcelona Atletic player, but the move into the first-team has seen him assigned a new shirt number – the six made famous by current boss Xavi.

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