Pedri was the star of the show as Barcelona came from behind to beat Galatasaray in the Europa League.
After a tricky 0-0 in the first-leg, Barcelona fell behind in the first-half to a stunning Marcao header but they rebounded soon after to qualify for the quarter-final of the Europa League for the first since 2001, before Pedri was even born.
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Pedri may not have been alive the last time the Blaugrana were in the last eight of the Europa League but he gave life to Barcelona in Istanbul tonight, dragging them back into the match and tie with an outrageous goal.
Outrageous perhaps doesn’t even do it justice, as Pedri put the cap on a patient bit of build-up play from Barcelona. A multi-pass move that he was involved in saw Ferran Torres slip a lovely pass in behind a low block to Pedri, but what happened next was magic.
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Pedri could have smashed it, many players would have, but instead his touch pushed the ball away from his body and sent Marcao, who had come screaming in for a dramatic block, sliding away like a cartoon characters.
The ball was now rolling infield and again, he shaped to shoot, but without even touching the ball he feinted over it and sent multiple Galatasaray defenders tumbling to the earth and left Jordi Masip so confused and dizzy that Pedri was able to take a deliciously simple touch and just pass the ball into the back of the net.
That wasn’t all either, as Pedri played a part in the second goal too. Another multi-pass move build-up, so again he was involved there but it was also his confident snapshot when Busquets’ initial effort was palmed away that forced Inaki Pena into yet another save, ballooning the ball into the air where Frenkie De Jong calmly nodded it to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score.
The two key moments in Barcelona’s comeback both heavily involving this 19 year-old who strutted about the Galatasaray pitch, amid a hail of boos and whistle, as though he were playing a game in his back garden with his family.
Pedri’s game by numbers vs. Galatasaray:
32 passes in final third
11 final third entries
9 duels won
8x possession won
6 touches in opp. box
2 shots on target
A superb display. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/MlScQlcCOa
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 17, 2022
Pedri had a game-high 6 touches in the opposition box, a game-high 6 shots, 102 touches, 60/71 completed passes including a game-high 32 in the opponent’s half, he won 3/5 take-ons and made a game-high 5 tackles. This was all-action, all-control, all-world stuff.
Pedri means peace, poise and precision. When he’s on the pitch you know Barcelona will play with their usual sense of order and control just as they did tonight in difficult circumstances. Xavi has already said there’s “no player in the world with as much talent,” as Pedri, and even though the midfielder is just 19, you can’t really argue with that assessment.
Barcelona and football’s Golden Boy, shining bright with a golden goal.