Pedri matches Messi, wins Golden Boy award


Barcelona midfielder Pedri has been named the winner of the 2021 Golden Boy award, seeing off competition from Borussia Dortmund and England‘s Jude Bellingham.

Pedri, 18, becomes the first Barca player to win the prize given to the best young player in Europe since Lionel Messi in 2005.

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He succeeds Erling Haaland, who won it last year, with Joao Felix, Matthijs de Ligt and Kylian Mbappe also listed among the recent winners.

Italian newspaper Tuttosport, who hand out the award, revealed that Pedri’s winning margin was the biggest ever. The Spain international collected 318 points from 40 voting journalists, 199 more than second-placed Bellingham.

“I want to thank Tuttosport for this trophy which makes me so proud,” he told the newspaper. “Thanks also to the members of my team and the fans who have always supported me throughout a 2021 which for me has been simply incredible.

“Of course, I want to thank Barcelona, the national side, my family, my friends and everyone who has been with me day-in-day-out without whose help I would not have been able to win the Golden Boy award.”

Pedri has enjoyed a remarkable year. He joined Barca as a 17-year-old from Las Palmas in the summer of 2020 but quickly established himself as a key fixture in the Catalan club’s midfield.

He made 52 appearances in his first season at Camp Nou, winning the Copa del Rey, and, after making his international debut in March this year, played a major role in Spain’s run to the semifinals at Euro 2020, where he was named Young Player of the Tournament.

A month after the Euros, he was also part of the Spain Under-23 team which reached the final of the Olympic Games, losing to Brazil after extra time.

Injuries have delayed his progress this season, though. He has made just four appearances for Barca due to a thigh problem and is expected to remain sidelined for the next few weeks.

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