Pedri, 18, breaks down in tears after Spain's penalty shootout loss to Italy as Enrique compares him to Andres IniestaJuly 7, 2021
LUIS ENRIQUE shared heartfelt reflections about Spain ace Pedri after he was seen sobbing following his team’s Euros semis loss to Italy.
The La Roja boss described the rising midfield star as ‘unique’ after the Azzurri beat his side on penalties to claim a place in the contest’s finals.
Pedri, 18, has emerged as one of his nation’s footballers to watch, starting in all six of their European Championship duels.
The Barcelona starlet only missed 60 seconds of Euros playing action for Spain when he was subbed in the 119th minute during their quarter-final dispatching of Switzerland.
And his efforts and moving reaction to Spain’s exit from the tournament won over the hearts of fans and boss Enrique.
Spain's vanquishers Italy will face England or Denmark in the competition's final.
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Reflecting on the performance of Pedri, the La Roja head coach, 51, said: “It’s unique what Pedri has done.
“People have not seen anything like this before, never. Andres Iniesta was not like this at 18-years-old.
“We have another 18-year-old in Ansu Fati to come back too. We have to look after these young players.”
Pedri, who was born in Tenerife, made 37 top-flight appearances for Barcelona last term following his 2020 move from Las Palmas.
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And the player, who notched up three LaLiga goals and assists last term, has received 10 international caps since his senior Spain debut against Greece in March.
National coach Enrique also praised the mentality and stamina of Pedri’s national team-mates who underwent a third Euros extra-time battle when they took on Italy.
Enrique added: “I feel very proud of them. They have learned a lot. We behaved as a team from start to finish.
“In extra time they were waiting for penalties, we could have played for another half an hour. It’s a nine out of ten tournament for us.
“It can’t be ten because we didn’t go through, but everyone played their part right down to the players such as Robert Sanchez, David de Gea and Diego Llorente who didn’t get minutes.
“We wanted everyone to be proud of us and I think we have done that. You can’t ask too much from the fans without giving them something first.’
“We told the players not to worry too much if they missed their kick. Dani Olmo was incredible.”
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