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    Barcelona´s Golden Boy Pedri won´t be rushed back by Xavi

    Xavi believes Pedri was a deserved winner of the 2021 Golden Boy award but will not rush the Barcelona midfielder back into action. 

    Spain international Pedri was a landslide victor in the voting for Europe’s best player aged under 21 – his 199-point advantage over runner-up Jude Bellingham making it a record-breaking success. 

    The 18-year-old featured in more games in all competitions (52) for Barcelona last season than any other player, accumulating four goals and six assists in the process. 

    He then became the youngest player to represent Spain at a major tournament during Euro 2020, finishing the competition with more passes completed in the final third (177) than any other player. 

    Pedri followed that up by travelling to Tokyo for the Olympic Games and helping his country win a silver medal. 

    The heavy schedule may well have taken its toll on him, with a thigh issue ruling him out since September and limiting him to just four appearances this term. 

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    Pedri signed a new contract until 2026 in October but reportedly suffered a second setback in his recovery from injury and could be facing another month out. 

    Xavi was pleased for Pedri to have something to celebrate during a tough time and is keen to welcome him back into the fold, but acknowledged the club cannot rush him. 

    “I’m happy for him because he deserves it [the Golden Boy award]. He has made a difference and is an extraordinary player,” said Xavi. 

    “It’s an important, prestigious award. And I’m glad for him because he’s having a difficult time. 

    “We are going to try to get him back as soon as possible because he is a key player, a difference-maker. I don’t have a specific date, but the important thing is he does not relapse again, plays calmy and recovers 100 per cent.” 

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