Pedri: "I'm going to be well rested and ready to compete on all fronts"

Pedri: "I'm going to be well rested and ready to compete on all fronts"

| sport

The Barça midfielder has said that he is not worried about his accumulation of minutes and is ready to compete in the Olympics

"I hope I can stay at Barça for a long time", said the Canary Islander

At just 18 years old, Barcelona's centre midfielder Pedri is set to play his first European Championship semi-final on Tuesday, off the back of a successful season in which he played a lot of minutes for someone of his tender age.

A guaranteed starter for Koeman's Barça, Pedri has also nailed down a starting berth in Luis Enrique's national side. He also looks set to do so for Luis de la Fuente's under-21 side, due to compete at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

About this, Pedri stated that he was aware of the call-up for the Olympic Games in Japan before he travelled to Spain's training camp for the European Championship. It was in this training camp in which he experienced his worst moment with "Busi's [Sergio Busquets] positive. We had to wait for Busi, no matter what. He gives us so much, and it's a true joy to play alongside him."

"Luis de la Fuente spoke to me before I travelled to the camp. He called to ask us if we would be willing to go to the Olympics. We spoke about what would happen if we reached the final, and he told us what would happen in this case. Playing football isn't a problem for me", said Pedri. "I was able to rest for nine days before coming. If I can rest well between the games, I'm sure I'll be fine".

"If you recover well and rest properly, you've got the fuel for what's to come. Eating well is also really important", he repeated.

Barça tried to prevent the midfielder from participating in another tournament this summer, although the Spanish Football Federation refused to drop him from the squad.

"I understand that Barça had called the RFEF because I've played a load of games this season. They're in a tricky situation, but they should know that I'm going to be well rested and ready to compete on all fronts", stated Pedri, who has not yet spoken to his coach or any club official about the matter. "Koeman has just congratulated me for qualifying for the quarter finals and semi finals, and I really appreciate that."

On the topic of Barça, Pedri said that "Nothing has actually happened with regards to Messi, but I hope he signs a new contract. If it was up to me he'd have signed a long time ago, but it's a decision that he has to make".

When asked about his favourite teammate in the dressing room, the Canary Islander mentioned Trincao, who will be playing elsewhere next season: "I'm going to send him a message, because I spent so much time with him last season and now I won't see him so regularly".

"I've played lots of minutes, but I appreciate what Barça have done for me. The minutes that I've played make me feel like I am valued", he added, before saying "I hope I can stay at Barça for a long time".

Returning to the topic of the national team, Spain's number 26 gave an insight into the training camp and the good atmosphere in the squad: "When we're sitting around a table together, we're very different to when we're being interviewed. They wind me up a bit, but I tease them sometimes too. They might call me a dwarf from time to time, but I get my own back. I always remind Unai that I scored a header past him, and that I haven't scored a header in my life!"

Pedri's winning attitude is also evident in his anecdote about the penalty shootout victory against Switzerland. He was not able to take a penalty because Luis Enrique had substituted him in the last minute of extra time, but he said "If he hadn't taken me off, I'd have volunteered to take one. If no-one else wants to take one, I'll do it, I don't mind".

"This has been a crazy year for me. Playing a game for Spain or Barça is mad enough, so imagine what it's like to play in the European Championship semi-final", said Pedri on his sudden rise to stardom. "My friends can't believe it when I tell them that I'm with Leo [Messi] or Busi [Sergio Busquets], but they get used to it because they're like me. Sometimes they ask me who's playing so that they can select them in El Comunio [online football manager game], or who is playing the best in training...things like that."

The midfielder was optimistic about Spain's chances of winning Euro 2020, and sent the same message from the dressing room.

"At the start of the tournament, people had their doubts because the ball wasn't going in. The squad, however, always knew that we could do amazing things. We are a great team, and no side is more united than us", he said. "We have a wonderful squad capable of doing many amazing things. I hope we qualify. We need to take it game-by-game. The Italians have a lot of quality, and we know that Italy is a side that will fight for every ball".