- Pedri moved from the second division to the Roja in a year and a half
- Holder at Barça, he displays impressive statistics
- FIFA.com analyzes how he earned his place in the national team
On August 18, 2019, Pedri took his first professional steps with UD Las Palmas at just 16 years old. This March 25, it released the tunic of Spain under the leadership of Luis Enrique. FC Barcelona spotted the teenager in the summer of 2019 and recruited him before the end of the same transfer window, while leaving him on loan in Las Palmas. It was the start of a meteoric rise for Pedri, who has already made a name for himself on the European scene.
The Canarian, who is in the line of midfielders of the caliber of David Silva, Juan Carlos Valerón and other Pedro, can evolve as a winger and a right or left midfielder. He quickly established himself in the starting eleven of Ronald Koeman and is formidable in association with Lionel Messi. His ability to circulate and demand the ball and organize his team’s attack make him a key cog in the Dutch technician’s system.
His statistics under the colors blaugranas confirm it. With 42 appearances this year, in which he has signed three goals and six assists, he is the under-22 player who has made the most appearances in Europe. His last 29 outings were consecutive, a record this season at FC Barcelona.
His call for the occasion of Spain’s entry into the qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup ™ did not surprise anyone. The poise and strength of character that he shows at barely 18 years old are precious assets that the Roja could not let pass. Present in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2019, U-21 prospect in 2020, he is now senior international in 2021.
While his baptism of fire was marked by a disappointing 1-1 draw against Greece, Pedri won his place in the national team. While Spain was at a loss for a solution against the Hellenes, the coach brought in his new recruit who will turn 19 next November. “Pedri was scored very closely, he was unlucky. He had to leave his zone to receive the ball, which made it difficult for him,” said Luis Henrique at the final whistle. On March 28, the Blaugrana will have another opportunity to shine against Georgia, before facing Kosovo three days later.
An air of déjà vu
Watching Pedri evolve, a name immediately springs to mind: Andrés Iniesta, one of the best players in the history of Spanish football. The emergence of Pedri is reminiscent of that of the 2010 world champion. Pedri willingly feeds the comparison. “I’ve never missed an Iniesta game and I’ve seen all of her videos on YouTube,” he said. “I guess there’s something left of him. I’ve always loved his game and his personality on and off the court. He’s been my role model and I’ve tried to emulate him.”
“Pedri looks a lot like Iniesta,” said Pepe Mel, who started him in professional football. “He understands gaps perfectly, whether it’s letting the sidelines go up or getting superiority in the middle areas.”
What they say about him
Jorge González, junior category coach: “We knew he was for the elite from the first practice. We had been told an exceptional boy, whom we would love. And it’s true, Pedri is a player apart.”
Pepe Mel, the coach who started it in Las Palmas: “When we saw him play, we thought that if he was capable of the same performances at the professional level, he could mark his era. Everything goes through the ball. He understands the positioning, he knows how to position himself and he improves. his teammates with his sleek play. “
Ronald Koeman, his coach at FC Barcelona : “He’s the player who surprised me the most. He plays because he deserves it. He is able to occupy different positions and he can bring a lot of things depending on the opponent or the tactics thanks to to his game intelligence. “
Luis Enrique, Spain coach : “What I appreciate most about him is his calm, his humility and the balance between his offensive and defensive facet.”
About Leo Messi: “He gives me very valuable advice on concentration, and on playing in the spaces between the defensive line and the midfield.”
About his selection goals: “This is my first call-up. I want to take advantage of it and give the best of myself to come back. The most important thing is to face and stay yourself on the pitch, because you are more efficient when you do what you love and have fun. I’m grateful to Koeman. Without him, I wouldn’t be here.
About his first contact with Koeman: “One day he pulled me aside to tell me that he didn’t know much about me, that he had barely seen me play and that I will have to show him my qualities in training. felt motivated. “