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Pedri talks Gavi, Dembele, Lewandowski, Torres, Ansu, Vinicius, Ballon d’Or, title ambitions



Pedri is going through an excellent start to the 2022/23 campaign at Barcelona. After enduring a difficult season last time out due to injuries, the 19-year-old has begun strongly this time out and is taking huge steps towards establishing himself as one of the best in Europe.

The teenage prodigy recently sat down for an interview with SPORT in which he reflected on the positive start to the new campaign, saying: “We have had a good start. Both us and Madrid have started very well and the signings bring a lot of things, as is being seen on the pitch.”

On the difficult run for him and the club last term, Pedri added: “I think it was a difficult season. It’s true that we achieved our mid-season goals, but personally, it was complicated.”

Speaking on the things he learned after the hard time in the last campaign, he said: “When you get injured you think about many things… About the reason why you got injured, about what you can do to improve.

“I’ve changed things in my daily work, things inside and outside my job as a footballer. “I work a lot on my physical shape, I still need to improve, but little by little I’m achieving my goals.”

Pedri also said that he was working on adding more goals to his game, saying: “Against Bayern I missed chances that I can’t miss… I’m working very hard so that I don’t miss clear chances in future games. This can’t be accepted.”

On his wait for his first goal for the Spanish national team, he added: “I really want to [score]. I’ve played 12 games and I really want it to arrive, to contribute my grain of sand. If not, I want to put in the maximum work and give assists.”

There has been a lot of controversy in Spain surrounding goal celebrations due to Vinicius Jr receiving criticism for his post-goal dancing ritual. The Brazilian has since been subjected to racist abuse and the issue has escalated to a huge level.

When asked if he likes to celebrate with a dance, Pedri said: “I dedicate my celebration to my father… Everyone can celebrate as they want to celebrate.”

On being quizzed about Vinicius’ situation, Pedri replied: “I don’t want to get involved in controversy, let everyone do what they want without being disrespectful to others. That’s it.”

Recently, there have been speculations that Barcelona will be changing their leadership group next year, with Pedri tipped to be one of the captains. On being asked what it felt like to be a leader, the Spaniard said:

“I don’t consider myself a leader, I always try to do the job day by day. I just enjoy football. If you enjoy playing, things work out better.”

On the pressure of playing for Barcelona and Spain, he said: “All the teams have improved. There is always pressure on Barça and the national team. We have to try to stay calm and enjoy football.”

Pedri ready to win it all with Barcelona and Spain (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Talking about his objectives for this season with club and country, Pedri added: “We have a good national team, a good team with Barça, we play the kind of football I like and we can win titles. We will try. We will be fighting for everything.”

On whether Barcelona’s squad is good enough to go all the way in each competition, the 19-year-old added: “I think so, we have a great team. We are working on it. We can win everything.”

Last year, Pedri won the Kopa Trophy and the Golden Boy Award after a stunning 2021. When asked if he harboured ambitions of winning the Ballon d’Or in the future, the Barcelona wonderkid said:

“I hope I have the chance, but it’s very complicated. You have to be the best in the world, I still have a lot to learn and improve.”

Pedri has formed a fine connection with Barcelona new signing Robert Lewandowski and has spoken highly of him in the recent past. When quizzed about his understanding with the Poland international, the youngster responded saying:

“He’s insane, he brings a lot… He’s a machine. It’s sensational to work with him, he helps the youngsters, those who are coming in now or those who have been with us for more years.”

On his midfield partnership with Sergio Busquets and Gavi and comparisons with the legendary trio of Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta, Pedri said: “It’s crazy to be compared to those players. Xavi and Iniesta were the best for many years. Gavi and I have a lot to learn, we are also learning from Busi.”

The present and future of Barcelona (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

He further praised Gavi, saying: “Gavi has a huge potential to be with us for many years to come.”

Speaking about the difficult situation that veteran duo Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba find themselves in this term, he answered: “They are both great, they always help the youngsters, they give us advice. In addition to their quality, they can bring a lot to the squad.”

On Ansu Fati’s road to recovery from injuries, Pedri said: “He knows he can get back to his best, he is training hard, and he has the qualities to play for Barça. I always tell him to stay calm and work.”

He was also asked about his opinion on Ferran Torres and whether fans tend to be a bit harsh on the 22-year-old. In response, Pedri said: “I’ve had a great friendship with Ferran Torres since we met, we always laugh a lot.

“People talk a lot about him. Ferran has a lot of confidence in himself, he plays very well, he trains like nobody else, he works in the gym, and his qualities are spectacular. He brings a lot to us.”

On Ousmane Dembele, the Spaniard said: “He always surprises me. We found out he was going to be a father the same day his daughter was born.”

“Dembele can do anything with the ball. Very few people in the world can do what he does. He is always laughing, bringing happiness to the group. He’s very funny,” Pedri further added.

Finally signing off, Pedri insisted that Barcelona can compete with Real Madrid toe-to-toe, saying: “Yes, if we continue doing what we are doing… winning games. The season is long, Madrid could lose points at any moment.”

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