When Andres Iniesta was 17, he was still strutting his stuff in the reserves, praying that a first-team debut at Barcelona would soon be coming his way.
At that very same age, a teen sensation so frequently labelled Iniesta’s heir is already bossing the midfield in a colossal Champions League clash with Italian giants Juventus.
Ansu Fati is not the only 17-year-old wonderkid proving that the post-Messi world might not be the apocalyptic wasteland some Barca fans were fearing.
In Pedri, the Kings of Catalonia have found their very own midfield prince, the most exciting young playmaker in European football.
And, in an era in which Barca have thrown almost half a billion down the toilet with some truly disastrous deals, landing Pedri for just £3.5 million already looks like, in Marca’s words, the ‘signing of the decade‘.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the silky Spaniard turned down Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, not to mention Atletico, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea, in favour of joining Barcelona from Las Palmas in 2019.
Eyebrows were certainly raised when the La Liga giants decided to invest a seven-figure sum in a 16-year-old who, at the time, didn’t have a single first-team appearance under his belt.
But that was before Pedri forced his way into Ronald Koeman’s starting XI months before his 18th birthday, making Adrien Rabiot and Pablo Bentancur look like creaking carthorses in that 2-0 win away at Juventus on Wednesday night,.
Skipping past lunging tackles, wriggling through the smallest of gaps and piercing Juve’s backline with those inch-perfect passes, rarely has a young midfielder looked so quintessentially Barca.
“Pedri is impressive, he has shown his personality even though he’s very young. He will be a great player for Barça,” said Koeman.
The ‘new Iniesta’? Pedri is rapidly making a name for himself in his own right.