€80m-rated Barcelona star unlocks a new strength with Spain

Date:

BADAJOZ, SPAIN - JUNE 05: Pedri of Spain drinks some water before an International Friendly Match between Spain and Andorra at Nuevo Vivero on June 05, 2024 in Badajoz, Spain.
Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Over the course of the last season, FC Barcelona seemed to struggle with many things on the field. The absence of a few specialists seemed to cause a lot of issues, but even that does not paint the entire picture. Besides their positional problems, Barcelona faced many difficulties in breaking down opponents.

To a certain degree, Barcelona became redundant in the way they played. This allowed opponents to sit back and absorb the pressure by letting Barcelona have possession that eventually amounted to not much in terms of effectiveness and would lead to the Catalan giants having to take on dangerous counter-attacks.

One way in which many of the world’s best teams manage to counter low-blocking teams is through long-range efforts. Specialists who can cause havoc even without having to be in the box, and such a skillset is invaluable in the modern game.

While Barcelona struggled due to the lack of such efforts last season, that does not mean their players are unable to deliver those shots from distance. Pedri, aged 21, is a perfect example of it. As highlighted by Mundo Deportivo, he continues to prove it with the Spanish National team.

Under the tutelage of Spain coach Luis de la Fuente, Pedri attempted more shots from outside the box against Northern Ireland in the last game than he did in the entirety of 2024 with Barcelona. Moreover, one of his shots even ended up in the back of the net, giving him the first of the two goals he would eventually score against Northern Ireland.

In the past, the Barcelona star has often been criticized for not using his right foot more from distance. He has done so on a few occasions with memorable effect, but Pedri denies that it is a weakness of his that dissuades him from using it:

“They said I was afraid to play, to hit it with my right foot, and these things are lies. I’ve never told Xavi that I’m afraid to use my right foot. When I step onto the field, I go all out, I forget about the injuries I’ve had… You in the press are more afraid than I am on the field. I try to play and enjoy.”

With this new version of Pedri, Spain looks a lot more devastating when coming forward. Xavi showcased that using more shooters from outside the box can be impactful, as the statistics show that goals from outside the box increased from 5 to 13 once Xavi ensured that his players were willing to take that chance.

The European championship is fast approaching, and the Barcelona midfielder seems more ready than ever. Barça themselves will be hoping he continues this fine form into the tournament, and then brings it back to the club as well once the new season resumes.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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