Stop comparing Pedri to Real Madrid icons already

Luka Modric, Pedri (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Luka Modric, Pedri (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Ever since Barcelona’s 4-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield in May 2019, not a lot of things have gone right for the team in the following seasons. Two more humiliating defeats to Bayern and PSG in the Champions League knockout stages followed in the next two seasons, while in this season, they didn’t even qualify for the Champions League knockout stages and have been relegated to the UEFA Europa League. The club lost their financial stability and was on the verge of bankruptcy, and eventually were unable to renew the contract of their biggest club legend, Leo Messi.

They have faced a lot of blows in the last three years, but something hasn’t changed in their fans’ behaviour, and I’m afraid it might never change anytime soon. It is their snobbery of having the best footballing philosophy, the best academy, and their desperation to prove that their players are better than the players of their rival club, Real Madrid. And now that their future finally looks promising after some decent results, and also some defeats filled with pride, under their new manager and club legend Xavi, the noise made by the fans on social media might keep on increasing till they lose another match.

The obsession with Real Madrid isn’t something new for Culers. History suggests that the Catalan club has always tried to have an edge over their rivals in the Spanish capital, and player comparison is just another tool for them to satisfy themselves. For years, they couldn’t stop praising their legendary midfield trio of Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets, and given the quality of those legends, it’s understandable, though the players have been overly protected by the hype.

It was then followed by the glorification of their 75 million signing Frenkie De Jong with repetitive spamming of the clip in which he leaves Luka Modric on the ground after performing a skill move, while he played for Ajax. And now they seem to have found a new star in Pedri, with the Catalan media praising him after his performance against Athletic Bilbao.

Over the years these comparisons have always come back to haunt them. This time, that comparison has gone to another level, and it is so unforgettable that it might potentially become a troll in the future.

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images) /

A Barcelona-based journalist said that Pedri is better than Zidane and Laudrup combined

On a live stream during Barcelona’s 4-0 win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, El Chiringuito’s Catalan journalist, Jota Jordi went on to say on record that Pedri is better than Zidane and Laudrup combined, in over-enthusiasm after watching the teenager in the buildup to Ousmane Dembele’s goal.

The journalist could’ve said that Pedri was excellent, Pedri is an incredible talent and a lot of other things, but he simply chose to compare him with two legendary Real Madrid midfielders. While Zidane is one of the greatest midfielders ever if not the greatest, Michael Laudrup isn’t a highly successful player for Real Madrid, but he’s a footballing legend who fell out with Johan Cruyff at Barcelona and signed for Los Blancos, so it explains why Jota Jordi took these two names.

People don’t really have a lot of control over their words in excitement, but moments like these show their mentality and what exactly is running through their minds. And these words come from a man who made a bold prediction by commenting that Real Madrid don’t have the level to win LaLiga this season and Barcelona can come back and win it, so it isn’t really surprising.

But statements like these do a lot of harm to social media. They give a chance to people looking to strengthen their agenda, and also give a headache to millions of sane football fans on social media, who look to stay away from nonsense and try to lead a peaceful life.

Barcelona, Xavi
Barcelona, Xavi (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images) /

As if this wasn’t enough, Barcelona’s manager Xavi compared Pedri to Real Madrid and Barça legends

During the post-match press conference after the game, Xavi was asked about Pedri, and the manager couldn’t control his excitement. He compared Pedri to his former midfield partner Andres Iniesta and said that Pedri is the best midfielder in the world on the basis of pure talent, in a world where players like Luka Modric and Kevin De Bruyne exist.

Even the word pre-mature isn’t enough to judge these statements, because they simply aren’t meant to be made. First of all, I’m not at all a fan of how players are judged on the basis of their talent and not exploits. Pedri has barely played 1000 minutes in an injury-filled season but is pushed to the sky with all these praises which are meant for a player who’s had a season filled with tremendous performances week in week out.

Pedri is a good player and as a fan of the Spanish football team, I do like him. But I can say for sure that he isn’t at the level of a player who deserves such unimaginable praises. And these praises won’t do Pedri any good. These statements can make someone complacent, while in some other cases comparisons with legends can simply increase the pressure on Pedri to perform and maintain fitness.

Xavi is a young manager in terms of experience, but he is a highly experienced footballing legend, and he must know that statements like these shouldn’t be made at this stage of a player’s career. And after looking at Xavi’s claims in the past, I highly doubt if the claim of Pedri being the best and comparison with Modric and de Bruyne weren’t made with any other intention.

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Sometimes I keep wondering why journalists and fans don’t stop comparing youngsters and talented Barcelona players with footballing legends, and those of Real Madrid in particular. Maybe it is simply down to the fact that a lot of the greatest players of all time have played for Real Madrid, and also because there is no end to the obsession with the best.