After the 3-1 win over Georgia, which leaves Spain as top seeds for the upcoming draw for the European Championships in Hamburg, Luis de la Fuente's mood was anything but celebratory. Looking serious, he said "It's one of the most bittersweet victories I've ever had," he said. "As far as I can remember, it's the hardest, the bitterest of moments, to see an important player like Gavi sustain an injury like that.
On how the 18-year-old was coping with the injury, he said he was "broken". "He was hurt, sad; sometimes we feel indestructible but it's not like that", he explained, "life has these bad moments and, when the good moments come, we don't value them properly either".
🗣️ Luis de la Fuente, seleccionador nacional: "Es un momento muy difícil y muy duro para él, su club, para sus compañeros, para mí y para la @RFEF. Estamos destrozados".— Selección Española Masculina de Fútbol (@SEFutbol) November 19, 2023
➡️ "Esta es la parte fea del fútbol, son circunstancias incontrolables".#VamosEspaña | #EURO2024 pic.twitter.com/ZVQ16AbVr2
"It's a very difficult moment for the player, for his club, for the RFEF, for the national team and for all his team-mates; in the dressing room it felt like we had lost," he said. "This is the ugly side of football," he added.
The national coach insisted that these are things that can happen in football. "Football is a risky activity occasionally, something we often forget to appreciate; it was an unfortunate incident, but Gavi was perfectly fit to play the game and it was just unlucky, really really unlucky" he solemnly explained.
🗣️ Luis de la Fuente: "Gavi no comprendía que estas cosas le podían pasar a él. Nadie piensa que le puede pasar una desgracia así"— Selección Española Masculina de Fútbol (@SEFutbol) November 19, 2023
➡️ "Estaba triste, dolido. La vida nos enseña que somos muy vulnerables, frágiles, pero hay que seguir adelante".#VamosEspaña | #EURO2024 pic.twitter.com/l4b4iaQ17a
At half-time, during which the atmosphere he described as "a like a funeral", Luis de la Fuente had to pick the players up again, however, as he explained at the press conference. "Even that was difficult," he confessed.
Asked about the sporting implications of Gavi´s absence, he stressed that he was not thinking about it: "When we talk about the health of a footballer, we don't think about the European Championships". "Hopefully tomorrow the scan results will show as minor an injury as possible, right now I'm only thinking about this", he insisted.
Watch the press conference again