By Óscar Maya Belchí
Sports Desk, Nov 12 (efe-epa).- Pedro ‘Pedri’ González is just 17 but is already one of the pillars of the Spain U21 team and an emerging talent with Ronald Koeman’s FC Barcelona.
He sat down for an interview — via videolink — with Efe, in which he praised the role of Barça captain Lionel Messi, confessed that he is still UD Las Palmas’ number one fan and acknowledged that his challenge was to avoid comparisons with other players and carve out a name for himself in the sport.
QUESTION: How have these first few months away from home, attracting all the spotlight, been for you?
ANSWER: At the moment it’s great. It’s a really nice feeling, although you are far away from the people close to you and that love you, I’m doing what I love, which is playing football, and I’m enjoying it.
Q: At 17, you’re already in the under-21s, how do you feel in the group?
A: I feel really happy to have the reward of being here and enjoy my colleagues, who are great people, and I’m pleased I’m able to give everything I can to the team.
Q: In a recent press conference, Luis de la Fuente, manager of the Spain U21s, didn’t want to compare you to other players but I understand your father believes you’re similar to Michael Laudrup? Do you see that, too?
A: It’s always a source of pride when they compare you to other players, but I have to be Pedri, make my own career. People have likened me to Iniesta or Laudrup. You can learn from those players, but you have to be yourself and shape your own career.
Q: Your name is already being suggested for the first team, do you ever think about that?
A: First I have to be happy to have got to where I am, which is already a reward. Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity one day to be in the first team, it’s a dream that all kids have.
Q: You visited Efe in February when you were playing for UD Las Palmas, but you’re singing with Barcelona was already public. You said that you had Barça DNA and were confident it would go well. Did you expect to be at this level already?
A: When I arrived (in Barcelona) I had just finished playing a season in the Second Division, in Las Palmas. I didn’t have as much experience as other players but I arrived to do the best I could and try to keep myself there with work and effort. I’m proud of what I’m achieving and what I have to do is keep working to get as many minutes as possible.
Q: After your game against Juventus, a highlight reel of yours went viral? Did you see it or do you avoid all of that?
A: I saw it, yes, but not that exact one. I always watch the match again to see where I failed, most of all. I focus more on where I fail than what I get right. I think that’s the best way to get better every day.
Q: One of the things you’ve said you wanted to improve was to find the goal more often. You’ve scored two so far this season. Do you still have that in mind?
A: Yes, it’s something I want to improve. Any time I can in training I spend time shooting, it’s something I need to improve. Also, there’s the physical aspect, I’m working on that, too.
Q: Koeman recently said that the footballer he has been most surprised by in recent months was you? How did it feel to hear that?
A: From day one he told me I needed to work hard because it was very difficult to be at Barça and I think that I’ve worked well and I’ve shown him that I can be here and he’s placed his confidence in me by selecting for important games. I have to be thankful to him and keep working for more minutes.
Q: One of the games that boosted your confidence was the Clásico, how was it to play your first Barcelona vs. Real Madrid game?