Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has been happy to place his trust in 18-year-old midfielder Pedri this season and seemed pretty impressed by the youngster before he’d even met him.
Koeman has been captured discussing Pedri just before his first training session with the youngster in a new documentary called ‘Forca Koeman’ by Edwin Winkels that follows the Dutchman’s first six months in the job.
The Barcelona boss talks about the young star, who had just arrived at the Camp Nou from Segunda Division side Las Palmas, as reported by Marca.
There’s one kid called Pedri who signed from Las Palmas. I don’t know him but they say he’s going to be the new Laudrup or the new Iniesta, but I don’t know him. We’ll see. He’s the biggest talent in Spain.
There was speculation when Pedri first arrived that he may go out on loan in order to play regularly. However, the youngster opted to stay and has gone on to become a regular in Koeman’s team.
Pedri has made 28 appearances in all competitions so far in 2020-21 for Barcelona, scoring three times and contributing two assists.
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Koeman’s Stance on Messi
Koeman endured a chaotic start to life at Barcelona after replacing Quique Setien. He inherited a team that had lost the league title to rivals Real Madrid and been hammered 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Captain Lionel Messi also informed the club he wanted to leave last summer, and the documentary shows Koeman talking about the Argentine and how he was keen to keep hold of the forward.
I want to keep Messi. I want him to stay because he’s the best in the world. But he needs to know that there are going to be changes. We’re going to give opportunities to young players. He has to decide if he wants to continue with our ideas. If he doesn’t, we’ll respect his decision, but he has to say if he’s staying or not.
Messi ended up staying at the club but his future beyond this season is unclear. The 33-year-old is out of contract at the end of the current campaign and has yet to confirm if he will stay or move elsewhere.
Koeman Talks Barca Youngsters
The arrival of Pedri could help convince Messi to stay. The two players have hit it off on the pitch, as highlighted by Squwaka Football.
Only Lionel Messi has created more chances than Pedri for Barcelona in LaLiga this season. 🤩
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 12, 2021
Koeman spoke about his team’s youngsters ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash against Alaves and emphasized how impressed he’s been by the way Pedri has settled into life so quickly at the Camp Nou.
You also have to understand that we are changing the team, that we give chances to young players and the youngsters don’t have that quality, they need to grow and that’s normal. In the case of Pedri, it’s unbelievable at how fast he’s adapted to this level, other youngsters need more time, more chances, to grow physically and technically – it’s normal.
Pedri’s emergence this season offers Barcelona plenty of hope for the future. The 18-year-old clearly has a big future ahead of him and looks like being a mainstay in midfield at the Camp Nou for a long time to come.