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Former coach claims Atlético, Real Madrid had chance to sign Gavi

Barcelona’s new teenage sensation could have been a Rojiblanco.

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

In an interview with Barcelona-based Diario Sport, Gavi’s first manager told the publication that Atlético Madrid were among the many teams that had a chance to sign the 17-year-old wonderkid.

“I know that Madrid and Atlético wanted him, but when he went to Barcelona he told his parents: ‘Dad, the best players are here and I want to play here,’” Vasco said.

Gavi, a Seville native, left Real Betis’s academy to join Barça’s La Masia in 2015. Vasco, who coached the midfielder before his move to Catalonia, claims that Sevilla were in the race to poach him alongside Atlético and Real Madrid.

FC Barcelona v Elche CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images

“Barcelona signed him in a tournament that took place in the Algarve...but before that, I think he was in Madrid with (Atlético and Real), and they were watching him,” Vasco said. “He was clear that, if he had to choose between the big clubs, he liked Barcelona more.”

All those teams might be kicking themselves now. Gavi joined the blaugrana’s first team at the start of this season and has exploded onto the scene, almost immediately becoming a standout for “baby Barça.” Luis Enrique handed him his Spain debut in October, and while player trajectories are notoriously tricky to track, it’s plausible that Gavi is headed for stardom.

And any hopes of plucking the youngster from under cash-strapped Barça’s noses are likely to be dashed in the coming weeks. Gavi is set to sign a new long-term contract with a substantial salary increase and a prohibitive release clause. Multiple reports have indicated he has no desire to play elsewhere.