Pedri was unstoppable in the race to become the Golden Boy. The FC Barcelona midfielder has won the prestigious award presented each year by Italian sports paper Tuttosport to the best footballer aged under 21. The prize will be awarded in a gala event to take place in Turin, Italy on 13 December. Pedri picked 318 points in the voting, 199 points more than second placed Jude Bellingham on 119, the biggest difference between the winner and runner-up in the award's history. Barça claimed another award with Lieke Martens taking the prize for Golden Player of 2021.
Game after game, Pedri has been developing at an extraordinary rate, and that’s even despite having to contend with injury problems. The Canary Islander played more minutes for Barça than anyone else in 2020/21, and was exceptional in all of them.
He took no time at all to adapt to football at the highest level, and played 52 competitive games in that year. Only Bojan played a half century of Barça games at a younger age.
Counting international games, he played 73 games, including Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics, where he was a silver medallist, he played more games than anyone else in Europe’s top leagues.
But it is not just quantity, it’s also the quality. Delightful passing, exquisite dribbling, magnificent positioning, magical combinations, quick decisions, goals and defensive work, this player has it all.
Leo Messi was Barça’s first winner of this accolade in 2005. However, Cesc Fàbregas (2006) and Kun Agüero (2007) also won the trophy, albeit with other teams at the time.
Pedro González López thus follows on from Erling Haaland, last year’s winner, and has also become the first player ever to be nominated for all of the Ballon d’Or, Kopa Trophy and Golden Boy in the same year. Can anyone stop Pedri from going on to even greater things? It’s unlikely!