Against Italy – in a match that was crazy in terms of the intensity and quality of football – the 18-year-old boy played as if the semifinals of big tournaments were everyday life for him. 31 passes without a single mistake, and 22 of them in the opponent’s half of the field in the first half. Just two inaccurate passes to the final whistle.
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It seems that just to see Pedri in the Red Fury jersey, this tournament should have been postponed, because a year ago the football world had no idea what level of talent was born in the Canary Islands. And Barcelona, which burned tens and hundreds of millions of euros in the furnace, finally got into the top ten, signing a contract with Pedri just a month after the young man got his hands on the first professional agreement in his career with Las Palmas … They are probably sighing there now, remembering how in September 2019 they agreed to sell the nugget that they had in their hands for only 5 million euros.
With Iniesta, they are similar in relation to life. Outside of football, both are family-focused and surprisingly calm on the pitch. Martin Braithwaite even called Pedri a veteran in a child’s body.
In principle, he is very reasonable for his age and, without changing, already knows his own worth and feels his own self-sufficiency. “It is a pride that I am compared to Iniesta, because he is a great player and person. But I have to be Pedri and try to make my career. Iniesta is a great player, it’s nice to be compared to him, but I’ll try to do it my own way,” the Spaniard said in an interview with Sport after the end of the European championship group stage.
Believe it or not, Pedri could well have ended up in Real Madrid. He refused the first offer in 2018, but his parents persuaded him to go to Madrid. The trip coincided with a snowy apocalypse in the Spanish capital, because of which the young man spent two days in a hotel and only then went to his first and last match in a creamy T-shirt. As he later said in an interview with Goal.com, he was not too comfortable in the uniform with the coat of arms of his beloved Barcelona’s main rival. So, the decision of the “Royal Club” coaches, who considered Pedri too fragile and addicted to playing passing, rather made the boy happy. And it brought practical benefits, as he began to work hard in the gym, preparing himself for the move to the Camp Nou.
Pedri and Leo Messi are another story. The Argentinian immediately took the young man under his wing and gave advice both on and off the pitch. I taught the newbie how to stay focused and work in the zone between midfield and attack. And already in the course of the season there was a persistent feeling: Pedri is one of the factors that convinced Messi that the current Barcelona have a future and agree to stay in his native club.