The Spanish team is one victory away from reaching its first Olympic gold medal in soccer since 1992. And for one of its stars, this has been the busiest summer among the busiest.
A goal from Marco Asensio extra time was enough for the Spanish under-23 team to qualify for the gold medal match, at the expense of host Japan, setting the stage for a football heavyweight final. La Rojita will face Brazil this Saturday in Yokohama.
Pedri has played 1,068 minutes of international football across the Euros and Olympics.
He’s just one game away from a gold medal 🥇 pic.twitter.com/ATLGPvfiaS
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 3, 2021
With just one game left to conclude the exhausting summer schedule, the break is undoubtedly a blessed relief for the Spanish midfielder. Pedri, who has been a starter in all the matches of his country’s team at the Olympic Games.
At the age of 18, the young Barcelona figure plays his second major tournament of the summer, after having added minutes in all the matches of the Spanish national team at Euro 2020, missing just one minute of action.
In fact, Pedri has accumulated a total of 1,068 minutes of international competitive football between the Eurocup and the Olympic Games so far, preparing to exceed 5,000 minutes of activity on the pitch for the entire 2020-21 season if he assumes ownership in the match for the medal. golden.
As a first baseman against Egypt in Spain’s debut in the Tokyo 2020 group stage, the youngster from the Canary Islands made his 66th appearance in a 2020-21 season that seems endless.
In order to establish a comparison, we mention that during this summer of international football still in development, Lionel messi He played 630 minutes wearing the shirt of the Argentine national team until lifting the Copa América 2021; for his part, Cristiano Ronaldo He added 360 minutes with Portugal in Euro 2020.
Pedri already has more minutes than Messi and Cristiano together (990)… and he still has one game to play.
Pedri accumulated 629 minutes of activity in six matches of Euro 2020, the only “rest” conferred by the coach Luis Enrique being the extremely relaxing 60 seconds that he sat on the bench after being substituted in the 119th minute of the semifinal match that ended with Spain’s victory over Switzerland in a penalty shoot-out.
During the continental tournament, Pedri became the youngest player to represent Spain in the finals of a European Championship (18 years and 201 days, surpassing the record set by Miguel Tendillo 40 years ago) and to play the elimination rounds. direct from a European Championship (18 years and 215 days).
Eventually, La Roja was eliminated on penalties at the hands of eventual champion Italy; However, the immense impact of Pedri throughout the course of the tournament earned him the trophy for Best Young Player at Euro 2020.
Young Player of the Tournament 🥇
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) July 11, 2021
Likewise, Pedri was the only Spanish footballer to be part of the ideal XI of the competition, after having excelled in a number of key statistical categories (the most striking being his average pass-through effectiveness of 92%).
Just 16 days after playing the entire 120 minutes of the last match of the Spanish team in Euro 2020, Pedri again wore the red shirt to play the 90 minutes of the debut of his national team in the 2020 Olympic Games against Egypt.
Subsequently, the culé midfielder also participated in the 90 minutes of La Rojita’s second group stage match (1-0 win over Australia), before finally being given 17 minutes of rest in the final stages of the third and final match of Spain in the group stage against Argentina.
After recovering sufficiently, Pedri returned to the starting XI to play 102 minutes in the Spanish victory in extra time over the Ivory Coast eleven; to later return to be a first baseman in the commitment against Japan, adding 83 minutes of participation.
We are talking about a total of 439 minutes distributed in five games played so far in the Olympic fair.
310 days after the start of the season, Pedri is now preparing to play the 71st (and last) match of a truly exhausting and demanding campaign, in which Spain will clash with Brazil this weekend for the gold medal in Olympic football .
All of the above happened after Pedri made 52 appearances in all competitions in his breakout season with Barcelona, 40 of them as a starter.
This represents a total of 3,526 minutes, added to his appearances in U-21 instances and 213 minutes in World Cup qualifiers played last March, bringing his total to a truly shocking 4,975 minutes with one game remaining.
Pedri is just one of nine players starting the preseason with us this week in Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/lNotP4HWZQ
– FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 10, 2020
When Pedri began his preseason training in August 2020, little could he have imagined that he would be in full swing almost a full calendar year later.
Likewise, the midfielder became during the 2020-21 season the second youngest player in the history of Barça to add 50 appearances at a competitive level with the Catalan club when he faced Atletico Madrid last May, a record only surpassed by the striker. Bojan Krkic, who was 18 years and 3 days and 3 days when he reached his half hundred matches.
The fact that Pedri managed to play his first 50 matches wearing the Blaugrana shirt in the course of a single campaign makes him even more remarkable.
Barça will start its league campaign in just 10 days. However, will Pedri need a few days off before returning to club football?
“I try to enjoy football and my legs feel good,” Pedri told Catalunya Radio. “Holidays? I’ll do what Barça tells me ”.