In an age where blooding players in slowly but surely is the done thing, Pedri is an anomaly. The teenager joined Barcelona from Las Palmas amidst virtually no fanfare last season, and this week has joined up with La Roja for the first time having become something of a media darling in Catalonia and Spain.
Pedri was close to going on loan before Ronald Koeman saw him train for the first time pre-season, immediately deciding that the teenager had the on-pitch chops to mix it with the big boys.
Even he, however, will be surprised at how quickly Pedri has become one of his key players, almost like when you strike gold on a game of online pokies https://spin-paradise.com/australian-online-pokies/ . His on-field connection with Lionel Messi has almost become a running joke, with the pair exchanging goal-celebrating hugs every other week, it seems.
Off the pitch, Pedri appears to be a diligent young man who is completely focused on his football. This was evident when he was put on media duties on Tuesday with La Roja and immediately asked whether Barcelona should sign Sergio Ramos and whether he was going to be the next Andres Iniesta. He dealt with both skilfully. “I have to be Pedri,” he responded. “But it’s an honour to be compared to Andres Iniesta.”
This level-headedness was coupled with an evident relish at being where he was. Not just among the elite, but very much one of them. “From the first day they’ve treated me very well,” he said.
“Knowing Jordi [Alba], Busi [Sergio Busquets] and the U21 teammates makes everything easier. I like Luis Enrique’s style of play a lot. I hope to learn and adapt well to contribute as much as possible to the national team.”
Pedri knows his Barcelona teammates well at this point, but even outsiders like Thiago Alcantara were markedly impressed by La Roja’s newest squad member’s swagger.
“It’s amazing how confident he is for his age,” the Liverpool midfielder noted. “He’s a footballer who looks spectacular. With the club he is at and what he’s doing there, it’s incredible. I urge him to keep progressing.” La Roja are set to face Greece, Georgia and Kosovo in a triple-header of World Cup qualifiers.
His progression as a footballer is mirrored in the marketplace. The teenager’s market value, according to Transfermarkt, has hit €70m, meaning he’s the La Liga player to have seen his value jump the highest in the recent update. The excitement of measuring the volatility of player values is similar to that of online pokies, but this young star’s value appears destined to continue to rise.
Pedri was rated at just €7.2m last season while at Las Palmas. He hit €15m in October, €30m in November and then €50m in January, before reaching his current tally of €70m now. He’s surpassed only by Lionel Messi (€80m), Frenkie de Jong (€80m), Ansu Fati and Marc-Andre ter Stegen (€75m) at Barcelona.
The sky is genuinely the limit for this young man, and it will be intriguing to see how his career develops. Barcelona, led by himself and the likes of Fati and De Jong as well as rougher diamonds like Ilaix Moriba and Ronald Araujo, are in a good place.