Pedri responds to Iniesta comparison as Spain manager Luis Enrique demands further improvements

21:43 SAST 2022/03/28
Pedri Spain 2022
The midfielder has been linked to his idol since he was a 16-year-old prospect

Pedri has once again responded to comparisons between himself and idol Andres Iniesta, saying he takes those comments as "motivation" to get better.

The 19-year-old Spaniard is now a fixture of his national team not long after emerging as a star midfielder for Barcelona, and his style has been likened to Iniesta in a testament to how good observers think he could become.

However, Spain boss Luis Enrique has issued a public reminder that Pedri must still "improve everything" in order to fulfil his potential.

What has been said?

"For me it makes me proud to be compared to your idol, but it is very difficult to achieve what Andres did, it was crazy as a player and as a person," Pedri told reporters. "I take it as motivation."

On whether Barcelona team-mate Gavi can act as the Xavi to his Iniesta, Pedri said: "Hopefully we can do that but Xavi and Iniesta have been some of the best players in the history of the national team. I have a spectacular relationship with Gavi, I see him more than my family."

Luis Enrique was asked to recall when he first heard of Pedri and recalled the "special" boy he noticed at Las Palmas.

"It was thanks to the applications that we coaches playing with Las Palmas have," he said. "I went to look for his [video] cuts, what he did. And at that age we already saw that it was something special."

Still, the manager asked for improvement from his young star.

"Everything, he can improve everything," he said. "A player like him can improve everything, he has the right mentality and is surrounded by a great family and with important values ​​of what it means to assume this. You have to let him grow, he will make mistakes, he will have to accept them and learn from them."

The bigger picture

Pedri has cemented his status as Spain's wonderkid over the past year, playing a lead role at Euro 2020 and the Olympics before returning to Barcelona action.

He's been linked to Iniesta since at least 2019, even before he made his full senior breakthrough.

Xavi, his current Barcelona coach, said he looked like Iniesta during an interview last month.

"It's how he understands the game, how he goes between the lines, how he goes behind the pivots. He reminds me a lot of Andres Iniesta,” said Xavi. “He's wonderful. I haven't seen many talents like that.”

Further reading