Gavi Becomes One of the Youngest Goal Scorers in FIFA World Cup History

Gavi has kicked his way in to the World Cup history books…

The 18-year-old Spanish midfielder has become the third-youngest goal scorer in FIFA World Cup history and youngest since Brazil legend Pele in 1958 with his 74th-minute strike in a 7-0 win against Costa Rica on Wednesday.

GaviWhen he stepped on the field to start the game, the Barcelona prodigy also became the youngest player (18 years, 110 days) to appear for Spain in a major international tournament (World Cup or European Championship).

“I never dreamed to be here at this age,” Gavi said through an interpreter. “I’m so happy to be here. This is only one step. I need to keep going.”

Pele was aged 17 years, 249 days when he scored in Brazil’s 1958 World Cup final win over Sweden. He holds the record for the youngest to score in a World Cup when scoring 10 days earlier in the quarterfinals.

Mexico‘s Manuel Rosas is the second-youngest scorer, aged 18 years and 93 days when finding the net in the inaugural 1930 tournament.

Spain led 4-0 when a driving run from Alejandro Balde pierced the Costa Rica defense and after goalkeeper Keylor Navas’ partial clearance, Alvaro Morata found Gavi on a late-arriving run.

The teenager struck it with the outside of his right boot and it deflected in off the right post in what was one of the most impressive displays of skill in the tournament so far.

His overall contribution earned him FIFA‘s player of the match award.

“It was a great game. We started from the first minute to win this game and I’m really happy,” Gavi said. “Now I’m waiting for the next one. I’m really happy to win MVP but today we all did a really great game and I’m really happy for all of them.

“I know I’m the youngest in the team and I respect everyone, but on the field it’s different and I bring out my best. I’m proud to be in that podium.”

It was a historically dominant win for Spain, who didn’t allow a single shot and recorded the most passes (1,043) and highest possession percentage (81.3) in a World Cup match since at least 1966.

Spain’s victory was the most lopsided win at a World Cup since Portugal beat North Korea 7-0 in 2010.

Alexia Putellas Wins Ballon d’Or Feminin for Second Consecutive Year

Alexia Putellas has earned a place in soccer history…

The 28-year-old Spanish professional footballer and Barcelona midfielder has won the Ballon d’Or Feminin for the second consecutive year, becoming the first woman to win the award twice since it launched in 2018.

Alexia PutellasPutellas was named the best women’s player in the world at the Monday gala in Paris despite being sidelined since June with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. 

She finished ahead of Arsenal‘s Beth Mead and Chelsea‘s Sam Kerr, who were second and third, respectively.

“Without my teammates this would not have been possible,” Putellas said after receiving the award. “I want to thank the staff and the coach and everyone involved at Barcelona.

“I’m very happy to be back here and pleased because a year ago I was able to win this prize and it pushed me to want to be even better.”

Prior to her injury in the summer, Putellas captained Barcelona to a third successive Primera Division title. The Catalan side made history by winning all 30 of their league games throughout the 2021-22 campaign.

She also led Barcelona to success in the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa de la Reina to complete a domestic treble, although they came up short in the Champions League.

Putellas’ strike in the final was not enough to stop French side Lyon from beating Barcelona 3-1 in Turin.

However, after scoring 11 goals in the Champions League, more than any other player in the competition, Putellas was later named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year ahead of Mead and Lena Oberdorf.

In addition to those 11 goals in Europe, she scored 18 league goals from midfield, four in the Copa de la Reina and one in the Super Cup.

Putellas had hoped success would follow for Spain in the summer, but she tore her left ACL in training with the national team ahead of the European Championship in England.

She has not played since and is expected to remain out of action for several more months.

Last year, Putellas became the first Spanish winner of a Ballon d’Or since Luis Suarez in 1960. She was also named the Best FIFA Women’s Player.

The Ballon d’Or Feminin was launched in 2018 when it was won by Lyon’s Ada HegerbergMegan Rapinoe won it the following year before it was suspended in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Sergio Ramos Becomes Most Capped European Player Ever

There’s a new feather in Sergio Ramos’ cap(ped)…

The 34-year-old Spanish soccer player has become the most capped male European footballer ever, making his 177th appearance for Spain in their UEFA Nations League 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Saturday.

Sergio Ramos

But the milestone day almost turned into a nightmare as Ramos squandered two penalties in the stalemate, after not having not missed in his previous 24 attempts for either Spain or Real Madrid.

The defender — who captains both club and country — has now played one international game more than the previous record holder, former Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who retired from international duty in

Ramos is now targeting the world record held by Egypt‘s Ahmed Hassan, who played 184 games for his country between 1995 and 2012. The defender could reach that mark at next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament, if he features in all of Spain’s matches before then.

But Spain coach Luis Enrique said Ramos’s twin spot-kick misses wouldn’t affect his captain.

“Sergio’s numbers when it comes to taking penalties are in the reach of few players. If we had got a third penalty or a fourth one he would have taken them as well,” he said. “He had scored his last 25, but football has moments like this.”

The number one spot-kick taker for Real Madrid and Spain, despite being a defender, Ramos has turned penalty taking into an art in the last two years, with his last miss coming when he hit the crossbar in Madrid’s 3-2 defeat by Sevilla FC in May 2018.

He has confessed to relishing the high-stakes situation of a penalty, scoring a number of crucial spot-kicks in Real’s run to the La Liga title last season as well as netting from the spot in last month’s 3-1 win at Barcelona.

But he finally met his match in Swiss keeper Yann Sommer, who guessed the right way to parry Ramos’ first penalty early in the second half and then refused to be fooled by the Spaniard’s ‘Panenka‘ routine which has worked so well for him in the past.

“It’s a real shame that Ramos missed the penalties because he’s usually so good,” added Spain forward Dani Olmo.

“But he’s very strong mentally and I’m sure that the next time he takes a penalty he’ll score.”

Saturday’s start further entrenches a remarkable international career that began when he made his Spain debut in March 2005, coming on for Carles Puyol at half time in a 3-0 friendly win over China.

He initially featured as a right back — including at Euro 2008, Spain’s first tournament win in 44 years, and in the country’s only World Cup winning side in 2010 — before switching to centerback for their defense of the European Championship title in 2012.

Despite turning 35 next March, he has expressed a desire to feature not just at the Euros in June, but also the Tokyo Olympics, describing the possibility as “a nice idea, an event no-one would say no to.”

Villa Moving from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid

David Villa is switching teams…

The 31-year-old Spanish international soccer star will be leaving Futbol Club Barcelona to play for Atletico Madrid.

David Villa

It’s all part of a deal potentially worth $6.55 million, according to Barça officials.

Copa del Rey winner Atletico will pay the defending La Liga champion 2.1 million euros this season, with the promise of another 2.1 million if Villa continues to play in 2014-2015, Barcelona said in a statement.

Atletico will have to hand over an additional 1 million euros if Villa remains with the club into the 2015-2016 season.

Barcelona also retains a claim to 50 percent of any future transfer fee for Villa.

With 56 goals in 92 appearances, Villa is Spain’s leading scorer in international play, despite his missing the 2012 European Championship due to an injury.

He was an integral part of the Spanish squad that won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

Villa joined Barça in 2010 and kicked 48 goals in 119 official matches with the club, but he had a hard time getting back into the starting lineup after the broken leg he suffered in 2011 kept him off the pitch for months.

Barcelona’s recent signing of Brazilian sensation Neymar left Villa’s future with the red-and-blue even cloudier.

Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United were said to be interested in Villa, but Atletico – anxious to replace departed striker Radamel Falcao – beat the English sides to the negotiating table.

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are to meet next month in the Spanish Supercup.

Iniesta Named Euro Cup 2012 MVP…

Andres Iniesta is simply the best… And, he’s got the medal to prove it.

The 28-year-old Spanish futbolista has been honored as best player of the European Championship—the Euro Cup 2012—after helping Spain become the first nation to successfully defend the continental crown.

Andres Iniesta

Iniesta started all six of Spain’s matches, including Sunday’s 4-0 victory over Italy in the championship game at the Olympic Stadium in which he recorded an assist.

“Iniesta deserved it. He symbolized the tournament — the creative, incisive runner, with and without the ball,” says Union of European Football Association (UEFA) technical director Andy Roxbuirgh. “We felt that he epitomized a lot of what we saw.”

Roxbuirgh says UEFA’s panel also considered Spain midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso and Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo for the award.