Pedri has had a breakthrough season like few others have, with the latest milestone in the 18 year old’s path to greatness being a call-up to the Spanish national team. He sat down with El Club del Deportista to discuss the season so far, and how feels after being called up for national team duty.
Here is what he had to say in full:
A few weeks ago, in the first leg of the Cup against Sevilla, you were injured, even with crutches. And in just a few days you were playing again…
“I’m good. At first, it seemed much more than it was. I left in a lot of pain and was worried, but in the end I was just left in a fright. I was afraid it was an injury that would take me out of action for a while because it hurt a lot and the area, the knee, is complicated. But in 48 hours I was able to recover. It was a small miracle.”
Was the comeback in that semifinal the best match you have experienced so far at Barcelona?
“Yes. When I left Seville and with the possible injury, I thought that I would not be able to play it and then being lucky to recover so soon and experience it that way was something wonderful.”
Just a year ago, Pedri was a young footballer from Las Palmas. Did you imagine that your life would change so much in such a short time?
“The truth is that I did not expect it at all. I was lucky that the coach of Las Palmas, Pepe Mel, was giving me minutes, but I come to a team as big as Barcelona and well, I thought about doing the preseason, and see if I could stay and continue working to be able to have the maximum possible minutes. But what I am experiencing for me is a surprise.”
How would you define in a word the change you have experienced in a year?
“I would choose the word amazing. It has been a bomb of emotions because since I arrived, I did not know if I was going to stay, until now, that I am being lucky enough to be able to count on enough minutes and to enjoy the great players that Barcelona has, for me it has been crazy.”
Do you think that with everything that has happened in recent years at Barcelona, the fans needed new references, new idols?
“Well, I think that Barça already have idols like Messi, Piqué or many more, and the young people who are starting out, like Ansu Fati, Riqui or me, have a high level to play in the first team.”
With Koeman you have played in various positions, but where do you feel most comfortable, playing on the outside or on the inside, coming deep a lot to receive or being close to the striker?
“I have always said that the position where I have liked to play the most is that of midfielder. Being behind the striker, being able to give that last pass that I like so much, that’s the position I would choose. But I’m here for what the coach says and to play in whatever position.”
You remember the first day you saw Messi. What is the first thing you thought?
“The first day I saw him I thought it was a lie. When I was next to Messi, I was very impressed. To see him on television or a video game is one thing, but in real life I almost did not believe it.”
There is already a Pedri-Messi partnership that everyone talks about. Is it so easy to get along with Messi?
“It’s easy because when you give it to him you know things are going to happen. And that’s what I try to do, give it to him in the best conditions so that it is the most beneficial for the team.”
Will that partnership continue for many years?
“Yes, I hope I can be close to him for several years. It would be great if I could enjoy Messi and learn a lot by his side.”
And now, first call-up with the Spanish team. What do you think?
“Well, for me it is a prize, which I face with great enthusiasm and excitement. I say again that I will try to make it like playing in the town square but with the red shirt of Spain.”
Is Pedri with 18 years prepared for all this? Do you feel pressure?
“Yes, I am lucky that I am always with my family and they continually remind me that I have to keep a cool head. Being humble, and with them close to me, I am prepared for everything.”