Pedri, the man who 'played better than Andres Iniesta', shows the future is bright for Spain

Luis Enrique praised the performance of Pedri in Spain's semifinal loss to Italy, comparing the 18-year-old to Barcelona great Andres Iniesta.

Pedri seemed the liveliest and most energetic player on the field. Image credit: Twitter/Pedri Gonzalez

Pedri has drawn the attention of global football supporters for his incredible controlled passing performance on Tuesday in the Euro 2020 semi-final defeat against Italy.

The 18-year-old became the youngest player to ever start a match at this point in the competition. He completed all 55 of his passes in regular time. They weren’t all simple sideway passes either.

On one occasion in the first half he played Mikel Oyarbazal through on goal, but the forwards poor first touch let him down.

His natural ability to find pockets of space in the opposition half and make darts in behind the defence was on show. He also gave midfielders Marco Veratti and Jorginho a tough time all night.

What makes the youngster such a joy to watch is that he is aware of his skill and uses it all to the maximum of his ability.

Furthermore, every first touch he took would come with a picture already in his mind. Immediately making his next step a progressive one.

Whether it be turning the ball round the corner quickly and efficiently, or spraying it out wide to stretch the pitch. He used possession to its full potential against the Italians – as he has done throughout this summer’s European Championships.

STAR FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY

Pedri’s breakout year has seen him get regular minutes at Barcelona. He was also called up for the Olympics later this summer.

Spain’s head coach Luis Enrique even compared him with Andreas Iniesta. That is indeed one of the highest compliments that can be paid to a young midfielder.

Raul Mallen III vs Richard Ginete

Once his tears have dried, he should be able to look back on his performance in the Euro 2020 with pride. Against the Azzurri he was – amid world-class company – the most creative midfielder on the pitch.

The Barcelona teenager was playing his 62nd match of the season and, somehow, seemed the liveliest and most energetic player on the field.

He put in a real box-to-box performance, and was influential in most of Spain’s exciting and attack-building football.

PEDRI IS SPECIAL

After that heart-breaking ending to Spain’s Euro 2020 efforts, Luis Enrique took the time to single out Pedri for praise.

Luis Enrique after the loss “For me Dani Olmo today played an incredible game, something out of the ordinary,” he said. “But what Pedri has done in this tournament, at 18, no one has done, not even Andres Iniesta did that, it’s incredible, unique.”

Iniesta, who also played for Barcelona, scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final. He also was part of the 2008 and 2012 squads that won the Euros.

Olmo, who plays at RB Leipzig, was arguably Spain’s best attacking player against the Italians at Wembley. However, his night finished in disappointment when he and Alvaro Morata both missed from the spot in the shootout.

Pedri’s long season now continues following a call-up to the Olympic games, where he will compete across two weeks starting on July 21. He is then likely to be given a small period of time off ahead of the La Liga season.




WRITTEN BY
Amruth Kalidas

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