Barcelona and Spain prodigy Pedri has insisted he has to be himself and make his own career rather than get weighed down by comparisons to Camp Nou icon Andres Iniesta.
Pedri has inherited the number eight shirt that Iniesta wore with distinction for Barça for so many years, while their physical similarities and style of play have also led people to compare them.
“In the world of football there are always comparisons and every time a new player comes out they try to compare him, but I have to make my career,” Pedri told Marca.
“Iniesta is an incredible player and I pay attention to him in many ways, but I know that I have to be Pedri,” the 19-year-old added.
Iniesta is particularly ingrained in Pedri’s football history because of the 2010 World Cup and his late goal in the final that delivered Spain their first title. Pedri considers that his first World Cup memory.
“The one that everyone remembers, the one with Andres’ goal. I wish there could be another one like this,” he said. “I was with my family in a hotel in Tenerife and when Andres scored the goal it was crazy. We all jump and cry with emotion. Hopefully we can give the fans another joy like this.”
With Iniesta still playing in Japan, the pair are yet to meet in person but have conversed online.
“I have never had the opportunity to meet him in person, but on Instagram we have spoken several times. When I had the injuries he wrote to me to tell me that he be calm and that I recover well,” Pedri explained.
Asked about what advice he had received from Iniesta, he added: “To take good care of myself and not pay attention to people, who always try to compare. Sometimes people put you in difficult situations and you have to be calm and enjoy football.”
Iniesta, who has racked up four years with Vissel Kobe since leaving Barcelona in 2018, recently expressed interest in returning to Camp Nou in some capacity in the future.