Pedro González Lopez, known as Pedri González, Barcelona's midfielder, was elected the Golden Boy of 2021 by the Italian newspaper "Tuttosport", an award that rewards the best player under 21 years old in Europe.
A season of excellence
The 19-year-old youngster had a brilliant season. He became one of Ronald Koeman's favourites at Barcelona and he was called by Luis Enrique to the primary Spanish national team, having been at Euro'2020, where his country was beaten, in the semi-finals, by Italy, in the penalty shootout.
He was later called up for the Under-21 European Championship and the Olympic team. In all, he made 73 appearances in one season and played more than 5.000 minutes.
He represented the "Roja" national team in the Olympic tournament in Tokyo 2020 last August, winning a silver medal after losing in the final against Brazil. He was elected the best young player of the European Championship and made it to the best eleven of the competition. He scored four goals and six assists for Barcelona, and won silver in the King's Cup for the Blaugrana. Born in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, Pedri succeeds Norwegian striker Haaland, currently with Borussia Dortmund, as the Golden Boy.
The newspaper Tutttosport also elected the Polish striker of Bayern Munich fame, Robert Lewandowski, as the Golden Player. Dutch Lieke Martens (FC Barcelona) was named women's soccer Golden Player of the year.
Former Benfica players João Félix (Atlético Madrid, Spain) and Renato Sanches (Lille, France) are two Portuguese athletes honoured in the past with the Golden Boy award, in 2019 and 2016, respectively.
The athlete's background
Pedri was born on November 25, 2002, in Tegueste, Tenerife, Spain.
He is the son of María Rosario and Fernando González, who owns a tavern in Tegueste, a town of 12.000 inhabitants. The family has always been enthusiastic about soccer, fostering the love for the sport in their children. His grandfather was the founder of the Barcelona supporters club in Tegueste.
The young athlete started playing in the lower categories of UD Tegueste, transferring to Juventud Laguna in 2015. Teams such as Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid were quickly interested in him. However, he had a trial at Real Madrid in February 2018 but did not sign for the club. His idol in soccer is Andrés Iniesta, and now he is fittingly being called the "new Iniesta". He is a player who moves a lot and enjoys contact with the ball, with great vision and good short dribbling. A multifaceted player, Pedri is able to play both in the centre of the field and on the sides. He is known for being a team player, accurate in passing and overall very secure on the field, despite his youth. A golden future seems to await Pedri, Barcelona's current golden boy, on whom the soccer world will undoubtedly continue to keep its eyes fixed.