Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas have good reason to back Pedri as Spain and Barcelona’s next great hope… the 18-year-old showed he is a natural successor to Xavi and Iniesta as he made history in Euro 2020 opener
- At just 18 years old Pedri started in Spain’s XI to face Sweden in Euro 2020
- The midfielder starred as the Spaniards dominated the first-half, but drew 0-0
- Pedri has already gained the trust of Lionel Messi at Barcelona, shining last term
- Cesc Fabregas has thrown his backing behind Pedri, who is tipped for stardom
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.
Spanish football fans who still pine for Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta may finally be able to welcome their successor.
Like Xavi and Iniesta, Pedro Gonzalez Lopez – known universally as Pedri – plays for Barcelona. Like the great duo, he is small, technical and prodigiously gifted. So much so that, at the age of only 18, he was named in Luis Enrique’s starting XI for Spain’s opening Euro 2020 clash with Sweden.
Nobody who watched LaLiga regularly last season would have been surprised to see Pedri selected. In a very difficult period on and off the field for Barcelona, Pedri shone, making 53 appearances in his first campaign and winning the trust of Lionel Messi.
Pedri is set to be one of Euro 2020’s young stars after starting in Spain’s 0-0 draw with Sweden
The 18-year-old was graceful in midfield as Spain dominated in the first 45 minutes in Seville
It was noticeable that when Messi had the ball in a tight spot, Pedri was often one of the first players he looked for. If the great Argentine rates you, then you must be doing something right.
Having moved from his native Tenerife to Las Palmas, Mallorca, before switching to Barcelona a year ago, Pedri is one of those players who makes the game look easy.
When he receives the ball, he usually moves it on quickly, often only over a short distance, but nearly always into an attacking position. If there is no positive pass available, he retains possession until there is one.
If there is the opportunity to go it alone, Pedri can do that, too. Though he is still a young man with plenty still to happen in his life and his career, the prospects look extremely bright.
Pedri’s style and confidence on the ball has already drawn comparisons to Xavi and Iniesta
Like Iniesta (front left) and Xavi (front right), Pedri is honing his craft in midfield for Barcelona
Pedri is one of the lucky few to progress to the senior team but last week’s friendly win over Lithuania – when Spain were forced to field their Under-21 side because the full squad were in Covid isolation – proved there is plenty more talent waiting for a chance.
That is why former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas, part of the all-conquering team who won two European Championships and a World Cup between 2008-12, is optimistic, even though Spain are not one of the favourites this summer.
‘I am a positive thinker,’ Fabregas said. ‘I believe things can happen, especially what happened to us in 2008 when nobody really believed in us and we made it happen with a lot of changes, new faces and young players. I believe there is a lot of similarities in this team as well.’
With players like Pedri on the scene, Fabregas and his countrymen have every reason to be hopeful.
The youngster (left) has earned Lionel Messi’s (centre) trust at Barcelona after impressing
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