Gavi wins the Kopa Trophy as the world's best Under-21 footballer

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Barcelona's 18-year-old midfielder Gavi has been crowned the world's best Under-21 footballer at the Ballon d'Or awards.
  • Gavi scoops top prize
  • Beats Camavinga and Musiala to award
  • Takes over from Pedri

WHAT HAPPENED? The Spain international has been named as the winner of the 2022 Kopa Trophy which is handed to the best Under-21 player in the world. Gavi beat off competition from the likes of Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, Bayern's Jamal Musiala and Eduardo Camavinga to scoop the prize. Gavi's Barcelona team-mate Pedri won the award last year and previous winners include Kylian Mbappe and Matthijs de Ligt.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Gavi burst onto the scene in 2021 and quickly became a regular for Barcelona and Spain despite his lack of top-level experience. The combative midfielder has already made 60 appearances for the Catalan giants, despite only turning 18 in August. Barcelona moved to secure his long-term future by handing him a contract in September that contains a €1 billion release clause.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I try and give the best of myself the whole time and try to apply myself in the best way," Gavi said after picking up the award from team-mate Pedri. Last year's winner admitted he was thrilled to see his midfield partner succeed him. "It is a very proud thing to see [Gavi win]," he added. "We spend a lot of time together and I hope we are playing together for many years to come."

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Pedri and Gavi 2022-23

DID YOU KNOW? Gavi is the youngest player ever to score for Spain in a competitive game. He found the back of the net against Ukraine in the Nations League in September 2020 at the age of 17 years and 304 days.

WHAT NEXT FOR GAVI? The teenager was left out of Barcelona's starting XI for El Clasico but will be hoping to return on Thursday when Xavi's side take on Villarreal in La Liga at the Camp Nou.