Pedro González López (Tegueste, 25/11/2002) arrives in the hall at the Hotel Golden Tulip Porto Vitória, in the modern and commercial neighbourhood of Enseada do Suá, in Vitoria (Brazil). It's one of the venues chosen by FIFA to host the teams competing at the U17 World Cup this month.
Accompanied by Luis Bermejo, the RFEF's press chief in Brazil, Pedri is on time for his meeting with SPORT. The 16-year-old, who recently signed for Barcelona from Las Palmas, where he remains on loan, spoke about a range of subjects, from the competition in Brazil to what is awaiting him at Camp Nou.
Where were you one year ago?
I started the season with the U17s (Juvenil B) at Las Palmas and a few months later Suso Hernández promoted me to the U19s (Juvenil A).
Now you're one of the stars for the U17 World Cup, is it especially exciting that the competition is here in Brazil?
Yes, very much so. Great players have come from here, like Pele and many more... of course it's great to be in a country as significant as this.
Maybe the only negative is you don't get to play in the famous stadiums like Maracaná, Mineirão, Itaquera...
Yes, it's true, it's a shame, but the stadium here in Vitoria we played our first two games in is really nice. I really like it.
Is there a hint of Brazil in your style?
I don't think I have anything Brazilian, but OK.... (laughs) if the people say that, OK, but I think it's 100 percent Spanish.
Those dribbles that have come to define you, where do they come from?
What I do think is that all footballers from the Canary Islands play in the same way. We like to dribble, playing on the street... we're, as they say, street players.
How do you define yourself as a player?
I prefer to leave that to people that see me play. I see myself more as a central midfielder who gets forward than a winger. I like to be involved in the build-up play with the team.
During this World Cup we've seen you attacking down both flanks.
Yes. We'd spoken about that previously with the coach and with my teammate Germán (Valera, Atletico Madrid player and Spain U17's captain), that we would change positions. I think that way it's much more difficult for the full-backs to defend against two different players.
What are the hopes for the tournament?
Honestly, I think we can win it. The first game against Argentina was tough, as they always are when you factor in adapting to the competition, the climate, to everything. You have to keep in mind that no one in the team has played in a World Cup. We have good players and a good team and we have to try and in every game.
What about the absence of Ansu Fati?
Thinking strictly in terms of the national team it's a shame he's not here with us because he would add to much, but those that are here are really good, too.
You and Ansu are the flagbearers for this generation and are predicted to do big things. Have you met him?
We've still not had the chance to train and play together with Spain. But on the day I signed for Barça, when I was being shown the facilities, I bumped into him by chance and we had a chat.
You're one of the attractions of this World Cup, how do you deal with the attention?
I didn't even know that ... I have avoided most of that, everything published in the media and whatnot. I try to focus on my own things, what's important for me is playing with the team.
Did life chance in the summer when you signed for Barça?
Yes. It was an incredible surprise. It's a huge honour because, like the rest of my family, I have always followed Barça and for the team you've always wanted to play for since you were little to end up signing you... I am super happy to belong to Barça.
And now what?
I have to take things one step at a time. Right now I am completely focused on the national team, because we want to win the World Cup. And then I will go back to Las Palmas, where I have to keep playing, progressing and growing.
Where do you see yourself next season?
Bufff… the truth is I don't see myself anywhere. At the moment, I am at the World Cup, then back to Las Palmas, and whatever comes next will come.
What about in two or three years?
To be honest, I am only thinking from one day to the next.
Have Barça told you will be a first-team player?
No. They told me to keep playing as I have been at Las Palmas, to keep growing and maturing, and that things will come naturally.
Me dijeron que siguiera jugando como lo estaba haciendo en Las Palmas, que siguiera creciendo y madurando, que las cosas ya
What do you like about the current Barcelona?
I loved the signing of De Jong. He's a great addition. He's a really good player and he's so intelligent on the pitch. I focus on him a lot. Another player that's caught my attention is Arthur... and, of course, above everyone else is Lionel Messi, who we all admire, for what he does and what he represents.
And your idol is Andrés Iniesta, is he the player who's inspired you the most?
Yes, clearly, for his way of playing, because he has a style we all love, but also, and mainly, because of the way he is. He's a relaxed guy, so modest considering what he's won and what he represents for football. I like that a lot.
Like Initesta, you have no tattoos.
No, I don't like them!
And not radical hairstyles yet...
No, no! Everything normal.