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The year is 2005. A young Argentinian player by the name of Lionel Messi wins the third edition of the Golden Boy award given by Italian newspaper Tuttosport. Sixteen years later, another Barça starlet has won the award. Pedro González, better known as Pedri, has brought back the prestigious award to Barcelona, and with it, the hope that the Blaugranas might have one of the best players of the coming years in Europe.
Pedri’s story is somewhat of an anomaly in recent years in soccer. Although we have seen how young players take an important role in their teams in modern-day, take Donnarumma in AC Milan or Frenkie De Jong in Ajax before leaving, the Spaniard has taken European soccer as a storm and it seems as he does not want to let go. Pedri arrived at Barcelona in the summer of 2020 as a player for the future. He was coming from UD Las Palmas in the second division of Spanish soccer at barely 17 years old. Even, loan rumors appear as soon as he first started appearing for the culés, because of his youth. But, after a tough start of the team with results and injuries, Ronald Koeman started using Pedri in midfield, and the youngster never let go of the starting position again.
73 games later between club and country, with a Euros semifinal and a silver medal in the Olympic Games, Pedri is no longer the future of Barcelona but its brightest present. The importance that Pedri has gathered in the Barcelona team is felt more now that he is injured, and Xavi could not wish more to have the number 16 back on the team again. But is that reasonable for the head coach and Barça’s board to entrust so much in Pedri’s shoulder?
Is definitely a tough question to answer. He barely has 18 years old now (in a couple of days turns 19) and to have that amount of impact and pressure in one of the most important clubs in Europe is something not easy to swallow. Because yes, Leo Messi became the biggest player in Barça’s history after winning the Golden Boy, but other players that have won it in the past became only a memory of their younger and more illustrious days. Pedri definitely has the quality and the playmaking abilities to become a Barcelona legend, but the comparisons with soccer legends like Xavi and Iniesta have to stop if Pedri wants to make a real impact and carve his own golden career.
I do believe that with the right training and the right minds behind, Pedri can continue to perform on an excellent level and help in the reconstruction of Barcelona. He definitely has an insane talent and the vision of play to become big in Catalunya. And now, with the irruption of youngsters like Gavi and Nico in the Barça first team, and the more seasoned but also young Frenkie De Jong, Pedri can become a crucial part of a midfield that can give a lot of happiness to the Barça’s fans. Only time would tell if the Golden Boy stays golden for a long time.