Spain coach Luis Enrique has said that starlet Pedri has already surpassed Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta at the same age as a result of his incredible performances at Euro 2020, with La Roja reaching the semi-finals before narrowly losing to Italy on penalties.
Having made more Barcelona appearances that any other player last season, Pedri played all but one minute of Spain’s six games at the tournament, three of which went to extra-time. Against Italy in particular, he had the watching world stunned as he didn’t misplace a single pass.
“What Pedri has done in this tournament, at 18, no one has done, not even Andres Iniesta did that. It's incredible, unique,” Enrique is quoted as saying by ESPN.
With one season of first-team football under his belt for Las Palmas in Spain’s second division, Pedri was only 17 when he joined Barcelona last summer but instantly became a regular.
He made 52 appearances in all competitions. For comparison’s sake, Lionel Messi had only made 34 senior Barça appearances by the time he turned 19, while Iniesta was 20 before he started getting proper chances at club level and was 22 by the time he made his Spain debut.
Despite a full club season and going to the latter stages of Euro 2020, Pedri will now link up with Spain’s Olympic squad, where La Roja will be among the favourites to win a medal.
He is one of six players alongside Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Pau Torres, Unai Simon and Eric Garcia that went to the Euros and have also been selected for the Under-23 competition in Japan.
Spain won a gold medal on home soil in 1992, with Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique part of that team. A squad featuring future World Cup winners Xavi, Carles Puyol, Carlos Marchena and Joan Capdevila also claimed a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.