Barcelona midfielder Pedri insists that he wants to play for Spain at the Olympic Games immediately after Euro 2020 and is not feeling fatigued, despite already playing a full gruelling club season.
Aged just 17 when the 2020/21 campaign, Pedri went on to play in 52 matches across all competitions for Barcelona, more than any other player in the squad.
He has since played every minute for Spain at Euro 2020 and is among a group of six players in the current squad that have also been included in La Roja’s Olympic squad for later this month.
But despite concerns from Barcelona about his selection potentially leaving the teenager exhausted ahead of the new club season, Pedri himself has said that he wants to be involved.
“The [Olympic] Games are a dream for everyone,” he told El Pais. “What I love is to play and the more games the better. It is true that I have played many [games], but I can be playing all year.
“After games I end up tired like everyone else, but after three days I’m ready to play and with my batteries already charged.
“I had never played so many games in a row. As a child the normal thing is that I never get tired, now I notice more the physical level of professionalism and you have to take advantage of the time to rest. The first moments [after a game] I am tired, but after two or three days I am fine.
“Mentally I am strong, I am very sure of what I do.”
Spain’s first game at the Olympics is against Egypt on 22 July, potentially just 11 days after Pedri’s last game at Euro 2020 if La Roja are to reach the final. Spain would be expected to do well and the gold medal match is on 7 August, only a week before Barcelona begin their 2021/22 La Liga season.
Unless Pedri completely forgoes a summer break, which would be ill-advised despite his eagerness to play as many games as possible, he could miss the first few weeks of the campaign.
Spain won an Olympic gold medal on in football on home soil in 1992 and brought home a silver medal in 2000. Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique were part of the 1992 squad, while future World Cup winners Carles Puyol, Xavi, Carlos Marchena and Joan Capdevila all played in 2000.
Barcelona objected to Lionel Messi being called up by Argentina for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, which didn’t start until a week into August, but Guardiola, who was newly in charge of the first-team at Camp Nou, personally intervened to help convince the club hierarchy to let him go.