Pedri has been hailed as “the Iniesta, the Xavi” of the Spain team that will go after World Cup glory in Qatar.
The praise came from former Liverpool and Newcastle United left-back Jose Enrique, a player who was crowded out of the Spain squad by the country’s last golden generation.
Jose Enrique’s high level of playing time coincides with his time in international football in Spain, and although he does not consider Luis Enrique’s team at that level, Barcelona’s young Pedri’s popularity makes him hopeful for the World Cup.
Spain won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and Euro 2012 during his tenure. They have not won a major tournament since then, but a growing number of young talents are emerging again, with 19-year-old midfielder Pedri one of the most exciting talents in the world.
“For me, the player who seems to be playing for that team is Pedri, he will not leave the team,” said Jose Enrique.
“You also have Ferran Torres who is doing well for Barcelona and Pau [Torres], a Villarreal defender; I think you will be the key to the team as well. ”
Speaking to Stats Perform, Jose Enrique said the final Spanish team to the final would be “difficult to predict” because head coach Luis Enrique would often select players from his squad.
“But choosing one that will make a 100 percent difference, and what has happened in the past, is Pedri,” said Jose Enrique.
“To me, he is the star of the national team, Iniesta, Xavi. Back that day it was different because they were so that’s why Spain won everything. But when you talk about Spain now, the first player to come first. In my mind is Pedri.”
Pedri endured a turbulent 2021-22 season against Barcelona, scoring five goals and one assist in 22 games in all competitions. Only five Barcelona players have created more chances than the 31 he has recorded.
Last season, he played 52 games for the team and went on to win the Tuttosport Golden Award for Golden Boy as the youngest top talent in Europe. He is expected to continue to grow as his role in Barcelona’s coach Xavi’s team in the new season.
Barcelona champions Xavi and Iniesta were at the heart of Spain’s unbeaten run in three consecutive league victories.
Jose Enrique was playing in the Premier League at the time but did not make it to the Spanish U-21 team, which was a strength for the national team.
He says the current team of players and the team that has brought fame to Spain during the amazing four years cannot be compared, but he stressed that it does not mean that the new type will not succeed.
The run-up to the Euro 2020 semi-finals has been a step in the right direction in Spain, after a disappointing stage performance, leading Jose Enrique to believe they will be dangerous if Qatar hosts in November and December.
Spain must pass a challenging group that will face Germany, Japan, and Costa Rica.
“Spain will always be the favorites because I believe Spain always exists,” said Jose Enrique. “But winning the World Cup is not easy and Spain has done it: the Euro-World Cup-Euro when it was brutally selected, and now it is completely different.
“He has a great coach and a team that changes depending on how the players play and I like this with Luis Enrique, but it’s true we can’t compare it.
“Now we have a small team with a few veterans, and they can win the World Cup because anything can happen in football. England had a very small team and reached the semi-finals [of the 2018 World Cup].
“The youngsters are more supportive than ever and Spain can be surprised because Luis Enrique is very good at playing. He has young players but full of desire and hunger. The important thing for me is to start well. If they do they will do well.