Barcelona midfielder Pedri has made history by becoming the first Blaugrana player after Lionel Messi to win the coveted Golden Boy award. Real Madrid attacker Vinicius Junior believes Pedri deserved to win it after the Spaniard came out on top in a tightly contested race for the accolade.
Pedri has had a massive year, producing spectacular performances for Barcelona and Spain that belied his young years. He helped Barcelona win the Copa Del Rey and finish third in La Liga, in what turned out to be club legend Messi's final season at the club.
Pedri then played a key role in Spain's run to the Euro 2020 semi-final, where they lost to eventual winners Italy in a penalty shootout. As if that wasn't enough, he helped Spain bag a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics men's football competition.
Considering the same, Vinicius said that Pedri was a worthy candidate to go home with the award this year.
"I think Pedri winning the Golden Boy is deserving," the Real Madrid attacker was quoted as saying. "He had a great season with his club and the national team, so he deserved it. These awards always give a player confidence," he added.
Pedri, who was announced the winner of the 2021 Golden Boy award by TuttoSport on Monday, has reacted to his triumph. The Barcelona midfielder thanked the organisers of the award, his teammates, family and everyone who supported him along the way.
Pedri said in a video message:
"I thank Tuttosport for this trophy, which makes me proud. Thanks also to all the members of the jury and the fans who have always supported me in this simply incredible 2021 for me."
"And, of course, many thanks to Barca, the national team, my family, my friends and obviously to all those who have been close to me day after day, without whom I would not have been able to win the Golden Boy (award)."
The numbers behind Pedri's Golden Boy triumph
Pedri had a massive breakthrough season at Barcelona last term, establishing himself in the Blaugrana midfield in his debut campaign. The Spaniard produced a number of scintillating displays, ending the term with four goals and six assists in 52 appearances across competitions.
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He followed that up with a stellar outing with Spain at the European Championship this summer, featuring in all of La Roja's six games in the tournament. Pedri also represented the national team at the Olympics in Tokyo, where he recorded six appearances to his name.