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Did Bellingham and Musiala deserve the Kopa trophy more than Gavi?

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Barcelona midfielder Gavi won the Kopa Trophy earlier this week, given to the best under-21 player in world football. Named after former French footballer Raymond Kopa, the winner is selected by former Ballon d’Or winners.   

 

First bestowed in 2018, past winners include Kylian Mbappé, and Matthijs de Ligt, whilst last year, it was Gavi’s Barcelona team-mate Pedri who picked up the award.

 

However, the choice of Gavi has proved a controversial one, with some claiming that there were other more deserving recipients. For example, Jamal Musiala, who plays for Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga with them, is already an established German international, yet had to set for third.

 

Meanwhile Jude Bellingham was part of the Borussia Dortmund side that finished second to Bayern last season, has already become an England stalwart under Gareth Southgate, and has captained the Bundesliga side several times already this season, despite still being just 19.

 

There have also been accusations that there is bias operating here, and that Gavi won because he is a graduate of the famous Barcelona “La Masia” academy.

 

Defenders of Gavi will point to the fact that, despite only turning 18 in August, he was a mainstay of the Barcelona team last season, making a total of 48 appearances across all competitions. He has already earned 12 senior caps for Spain and is certain to be named in their World Cup squad for Qatar.

 

He also became the youngest ever goalscorer for his country when he found the net in a Nations League game against the Czech Republic in September.

 

In truth, these awards can sometimes be random, and, whilst they are good to receive, people should not attach too much stock to them.

 

After all, Eduardo Camavinga came second to Gavi, and, although he was part of the Real Madrid side that won both La Liga and the Champions League last season, he did not start many games, and many of his 40 appearances were off the bench when more experienced players began to tire in games.

 

Given also that the last Ballon d’or winner who was not playing or closely affiliated with a Spanish club at the time was Cristiano Ronaldo in his first Manchester United incarnation back in 2008, it is perhaps inevitable that they are inclined to favour players based in Spain.

 

Neither Musiala or Bellingham are likely to feel any lasting disappointment about missing out. They have other more important things to worry about.

 

As for Gavi, it is one thing being recognised as a great young player. Now he has to fulfil that potential.

I'm a sports enthusiast, love writing about football. I have been writing about top teams in Europe, the Premier League and La Liga.

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