There are probably a handful of players who joined the Barcelona senior team as teenagers and instantly became a cult-favourite. Even less who became the best player in the team as instant starters. Probably just one who did this at the age of 16 – Pedri.
Since joining Barcelona from Las Palmas, the Spaniard has taken the world by storm. He has gone on to lead the midfield for both club and country, winning the Copa del Rey and reaching the semi-finals of the European Championship, and the finals of the Olympics.
Pedri has also gone on to win the Golden Boy award and the Kopa Trophy, given to the best player U21 across the senior leagues. And while there have been controversies over his over-usage by managers, the midfielder would not change anything in his career so far.
“I do not regret anything that has happened to me so far, I would not change anything. I have been privileged to experience so much,” he said in an interview with GQ, as relayed by Mundo Deportivo.
In over a year, Pedri has trained under some of the best, including Luis Enrique. He also has the chance to work with one of the greatest midfielders of all time, Xavi. Speaking about the new Barcelona manager, he said:
“Xavi has always been a benchmark for every midfielder, tactically and technically. His ability to carry the ball at any time.”
“It’s clear that we are learning from him and improving. With him and the team he is developing we will bring happiness,” Pedri added.
Under Ronald Koeman, there were controversies over how he was losing the Barcelona dressing room. Pedri assures that has changed since.
“The atmosphere in the dressing room is good, not only with the youngsters but with the veterans as well. For example, I get along very well with ‘Busi’.”
“My best friends? That would be Eric [Garcia], Ferran [Torres], and Ansu [Fati].”
Pedri was also asked about how life is, in Barcelona, a city famed for its nightlife and beautiful geographical position.
“Very calm. When I don’t have to train, what I like the most is being at home watching series or playing board games, ping-pong or play with my brother. I still live with him.”
“I do go out more now because of the relaxation in COVID-19 restrictions and I am getting to know everything that Barcelona has to offer, which is a lot.”
Undoubtedly, Pedri was asked about Lionel Messi. The two shared a special connection on the pitch with each other, often playing one-twos in the final-third, and finding each other in front of goal.
“I will always thank Leo for helping me a lot both on and off the field. Playing with him was very easy because he’s the best and it has cost us to not to have him by our side. But now I think we’re making a great team. We have to take a step forward.”
He was also asked whether the current Barcelona core can replicate the success of the golden generation, which boasted of players like Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Carles Puyol.
“That’s saying a lot, because we’re talking about the best Barça in history. But I’m sure we’re on the right track to achieve a lot of success in the coming years. Barça always has to fight to win all the titles.”
Pedri does admit that football has changed exponentially over the years, saying, “Football has changed on a physical level. The demand of the matches are greater. We have to work more for that and I am doing it myself to gain muscle mass. The most important thing still is the head, it allows you to act faster than your opponents.”