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The Barcelona attacker has hailed his compatriot as "a reference point for Spanish football" and admits he is unsure who will start in goal against Finland on Friday

Barcelona winger Pedro admits he was saddened to see David Villa leave the club this summer.

The experienced striker left Camp Nou for Atletico Madrid after three years with the Liga champions, and Pedro has hailed Spain's record goalscorer as "a reference point for Spanish football".

"Villa is a dear person to me," he told a press conference. "I've shared many moments with him. I miss him personally and on the pitch. I have the good fortune of meeting him with the national team and I enjoy that. I'm very glad things are going well for him at Atletico.

"He is a reference point for Spanish football. I would have liked him to stay, but these things happen. I wish him well."

Spain face Finland in a World Cup qualifier on Friday and Pedro believes they will have to be fully focused in order to secure maximum points.

"We have to win. It's a very important game for us. Finland will not make it easy," he said.

Speculation remains over whether Roja captain Iker Casillas will keep his place in the side, despite continuing to play understudy to Diego Lopez at Real Madrid, and the Barcelona man admits he is unsure who will start the clash with the No.1 shirt.

"Unfortunately for Iker, he's not having a great time at his club, [but] he is a great goalkeeper," the 26-year-old said. "[Victor] Valdes is also at a high level. It is up to the coach to evaluate and decide."

Finally, the attacker insisted he would do his utmost to retain his place in both Vicente del Bosque's side and Barcelona, despite the strength in depth of each squad.

"I'm working very hard, there's a lot of competition with Barcelona as well as with the national team," he added.

"I'm competing with the best players in the world so its always going to be difficult. I'm relaxed and am working hard with both teams so I can help when called upon.

"Obviously I'd love to start with my club and then come here, but that's difficult due to the high level of competition. I work hard everyday to be in with a shout with both teams."

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