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Barcelona manager Xavi has compared young star Pedri to Spain’s “greatest talent” Andres Iniesta, as reported by LiveScore.
The current Barcelona boss lined out for the club alongside Iniesta for several years, with the pair forming an almost unstoppable midfield trio with Sergio Busquets, who still plays for the Camp Nou outfit.
But while Busquets is still a regular for the Spanish giants, Xavi and Iniesta have now seemingly been replaced by two outstanding youngsters in Pedri and Gavi.
Barcelona boss compares Pedri to legendary Iniesta
Barcelona boss Xavi has now claimed that Pedri is indeed the perfect heir to Spain legend Iniesta, with the 20-year-old impressing once again as the club extended their lead at the top of La Liga to eight points.
They defeated Real Betis 2-1 on Wednesday evening, with Pedri managing a match-high 30 passes in the final third. He also created two chances in the victory.
The Catalan club currently sit on 50 points from their 19 games, with rivals Real Madrid in second on 42 points. The latter do, however, have a game in hand against Valencia this evening.
Speaking of stunning talent Pedri, Xavi said: “He is a player who is on another level, I have seen very few like him. He is talented, he is at the level of Iniesta, but Andres had a continuity to the point that he is still playing.
“Andres is the greatest talent I’ve seen in Spanish football but Pedri is very similar to him. He can make a difference, he is already doing it.”
Balde also shining for Barcelona
Barcelona manager Xavi was also full of praise for another young star in Alejandro Balde, with the left-back setting up Raphinha’s opener to record his fourth assist of the season. Only Bayern Munich attacker Jamal Musiala (six) has more assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season for players under the age of 20.
The 19-year-old, who joined Barcelona’s academy from rivals Espanyol over a decade ago, has now received huge plaudits from his manager for his efforts at both ends of the pitch.
“I’m very happy for Balde, he has tremendous potential both in defence and in attack,” said Xavi. “He gives us superiority by driving and that is very difficult to see in football. He has to exploit his potential even more, we encourage him to be transcendent, he is both a full-back and a winger at times.
“Luckily we have three spectacular full-backs in Marcos [Alonso], [Jordi] Alba and Balde. He’s so young and has this capacity, it is a joy to see him play.”
Balde and Pedri are just two among a number of highly talented youngsters at Barcelona, with 18-year-old Gavi and 20-year-old Ansu Fati also ensuring that a hugely bright future awaits.
All four have helped play a part in helping Barcelona reach 50 points at the halfway stage of the current La Liga campaign, a feat the club has achieved on five previous occasions.
They managed it in the 2008/09, 2010/11, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2017/18 campaigns, going on to lift the trophy on all but one of those occasions (2013/14).
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 2, 2023