Why did Barcelona star Gavi wear No.30 instead of 6 against Man Utd? Shirt number confusion explained

Gavi Barcelona 2022-23
Barcelona made a show of handing Gavi their No.6 shirt in January, but the 18-year-old midfielder had No.30 on his back when facing Manchester United.
  • Midfielder handed Xavi's former shirt
  • Able to wear new number in La Liga
  • Barred from doing so in Europa League

WHAT HAPPENED? The highly-rated youngster figured prominently in a Europa League knockout play-off round first leg at Camp Nou, but left some confused as to why he had reverted back to the squad number he filled at the start of the season.

WHY WAS GAVI IN A DIFFERENT SHIRT? Gavi, who has inherited the shirt once filled by his manager Xavi, was unable to wear No.6 against United as UEFA rules prevent players from switching numbers in the middle of a season. In contrast, La Liga regulations allow numbers to be changed mid-campaign if no other player has already donned said jersey – with Riqui Puig having vacated Barca’s No.6 when joining MLS side LA Galaxy in August 2022.


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Gavi Barcelona 2022-23 No 30

Gavi Barcelona 2022-23 No 6

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Gavi will not be figuring at all for Barcelona when they take in a return date with United at Old Trafford next Thursday, with the yellow card he picked up for a foul on Fred seeing him reach three for the season in European competition – meaning that he must now serve a one-match ban.

WHAT'S NEXT: Barcelona were involved in a thrilling 2-2 draw with United at Camp Nou, with all to play for in their heavyweight continental encounter as both sides take aim at the last 16 of the Europa League.