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L. Messi

Messi favoured Pedri at Barcelona over 'some other players' due to his quality, claims Koeman

3:53 AM EST 2/9/23
Lionel Messi Pedri Barcelona
Lionel Messi favoured Pedri at Barcelona over “some other players”, says Ronald Koeman, with the Argentine spotting the youngster’s quality early on.
  • Teenage star moved to Camp Nou in 2020
  • Impressed an iconic team-mate
  • Barca saw Messi leave for France in 2021

WHAT HAPPENED? Highly-rated midfielder Pedri moved to Camp Nou in 2020 when still in his teens, but quickly set about proving that he boasted the technical ability required to be a key man for the Liga giants. Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who may have been unconvinced by a few of his other team-mates at the time, immediately clicked with a new arrival and enjoyed working with him before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent in the summer of 2021.

WHAT THEY SAID: Netherlands boss Koeman was at the Barcelona helm during the 2020-21 season and has told Andy van der Meijde’s YouTube channel: “Messi was very humble. He immediately noticed Pedri’s qualities and was willing to combine with him during games, unlike with some other players.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Blaugrana legend Koeman was sacked in October 2021, after just 67 games in charge, and has not been back to Camp Nou since, but he has been keeping an eye on how Xavi’s side are getting on. He added on the class of 2022-23: “Barca are doing great. I watched Barcelona vs Real Madrid, they played amazing football. They were so good. But, yeah, if you get up to 10-12 new players, things get a little easier. It depends on the quality of the squad. During my time that was different.”


WHAT NEXT? Barcelona are currently eight points clear of Clasico rivals Real Madrid at the top of the Liga table and are also through to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and knockout play-off round of the Europa League – where they are due to face Premier League heavyweights Manchester United.