Footballers known by just one name are often special and Pedri is no exception.
Pedro Gonzalez Lopez was relatively unheard-of when he signed for Barcelona for a €5 million fee in 2017, but the teenager has already made his mark in the first team at the Catalan club.
Journey to Barcelona
Pedri was born in Tenerife on November 25, 2002. His talents were well known on the island as he impressed for youth side Juventud Laguna and at the age of 16, he was snapped up by Las Palmas.
His rapid rise since then has nevertheless been a surprise. Pedri made his professional debut in August 2019 and agreed a move to Barcelona in early September of the same year, completed at the end of a single season in Spain’s Segunda Division.
He made 37 appearances for Las Palmas and became the youngest goalscorer in the club’s history, netting at 16 years, nine months and 23 days in a win over Sporting Gijon.
The attacking midfielder has also progressed quickly through the youth ranks with Spain, having already represented the Under-17, U-18, U-19 and U-21 sides over the past two years.
Style of Play
Pedri is an attacking midfielder very much in the Barcelona mould and the youngster recently admitted he was happy that Real Madrid did not follow up their interest in signing him. He only ever wanted to play for the Catalan club.
The 18-year-old is short in stature, but boasts superb technical ability, balance and dribbling skills. Comfortable with the ball at his feet, he has excellent vision to pick out a pass in the attacking third and is also a hard worker.
Adept as a playmaker, on the wings or in midfield, Pedri is mature beyond his years and has shown he can adapt to a number of different formations. The 18-year-old also helps out with defensive duties and can press effectively.
Former coach Pepe Mel said in February that Pedri reminded him of Andres Iniesta and the youngster has admitted that the former Barcelona and Spain great is his idol.
Because of his tender age and array of qualities, Pedri has also been likened to Lionel Messi and although that comparison is unfair for any player, the Tenerife-born midfielder claimed on arrival at Camp Nou that he was keen to learn from the Argentine great.
His Season So Far
Pedri has been praised by Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman, with the Dutchman revealing last month that the youngster had been the player who had surprised him the most in his spell in charge at Camp Nou.
A substitute at the beginning of the season, the youngster quickly forced his way into the team and 11 of his 18 appearances have come as a starter.
One of the bright spots in Barcelona’s indifferent campaign, Pedri has netted twice so far and both goals – in the Champions League against Ferencvaros and in LaLiga versus Real Betis – came before his 18th birthday.
Just seven other Barca players have played more minutes than Pedri (1,020) in 2020-21, which is remarkable given his age and his recent arrival at the Catalan club.
In his first campaign at this level, Pedri has already made a splash and the youngster looks set to shine for Barcelona in LaLiga and in the Champions League for years to come.
At international level, he has also progressed rapidly and was tipped for a call-up to Spain’s senior side in November.
He was ultimately not included by coach Luis Enrique, but the former Barca boss admitted he had been on a provisional list and was being tracked with a view to a call-up in the future.
If he continues to impress for Barcelona, the midfielder could feature when Spain return to action in March and could yet find a way into the squad for next summer’s delayed Euro 2020.
Why He Will Perform Well on Football Index
Pedri’s rise in such a short space of time show he is destined for great things.
Unfazed by the high pressure of a huge club like Barcelona, he is continuing his footballing education alongside some of the world’s best players and could shine for more than a decade at Camp Nou.
At the age of just 18, there is plenty of room for improvement and the attacking midfielder should also become more of a prolific scorer and assist provider in the years ahead.
Still so young, already a huge talent and with the potential to be one of the very best, Pedri looks like a star in the making.