Today is a special day for Barcelona midfield prodigy Pedri as he is celebrating his 21st birthday.
And it goes without saying that the young sensation will be eager to lead his team to a victory later today when they face Rayo Vallecano to celebrate his birthday in style.
Pedri is coming on the back of a long spell on the sidelines and made his first start in nearly three months when Barcelona faced Deportivo Alaves just before the international break.
The birthday boy is very much expected to start again versus Rayo Vallecano today, especially after Gavi’s season-ending injury, and there could be a special gift in store for him at Estadio de Vallecas.
Captaincy gift for Pedri?
Indeed, as per Toni Juanmarti of SPORT, there is a possibility that Pedri could captain Barcelona today against Rayo Vallecano provided both Ronald Araujo and Frenkie de Jong do not start.
As things stand, Barcelona’s first two captains – Sergi Roberto and Marc-Andre ter Stegen – are ruled out of the game due to injuries.
As such, all signs pointed towards Ronald Araujo captaining the team today, given his status as the third skipper.
But considering his travel to and from South America and limited training time since returning, there is a possibility that he might not start at the Vallecas.
De Jong, who happens to be Barça’s fourth captain, will also not be starting as he is coming into the game on the back of a two-month-long stint on the treatment tables.
As such, Barcelona would not have each of their four captains on the field, with Pedri being tipped to don the captain’s armband against Rayo Vallecano if it happens.
Are there any other candidates?
At 21, Pedri is not the most senior player in the Barcelona squad but is seen as the face of the team that Xavi is building. So, given his quality and importance, handing him the captaincy for the day makes sense.
But if Xavi opted to go in terms of seniority, Robert Lewandowski could be a contender, given that, at 35, he is the most experienced member of the team.
Even though he has been at the club for only a season, the Pole is seen as a leader and could be a candidate to lead the team, although if Araujo and De Jong do not feature, Pedri appears well-placed to be the skipper.