Barcelona warned against rushing Pedri into next Messi role as Rivaldo calls for patience with teenager


The former Blaugrana star expects big things from another exciting playmaker, but hopes he will be given time to fulfil his undoubted potential

Barcelona must avoid rushing the process of turning Pedri into Lionel Messi’s successor, says Rivaldo, with an exciting 18-year-old needing patience to be shown in his ongoing development.

Those at Camp Nou are aware that an iconic figure may be approaching the end of his career-long association with the club.

Messi is yet to commit to a new contract in Catalunya and will see his current deal expire in the summer, allowing him to drop into the free agent pool.

Having previously pushed for a move elsewhere in 2020, it could be that his options are explored again 12 months on.

Barca are refusing to give up on discussions regarding an extended stay, but the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are waiting in the wings ready to pounce.

Rivaldo believes that Messi will seek out a new challenge in the latter stages of his remarkable career, leaving those at Camp Nou to move in a different direction.

Pedri has, despite his tender years and lack of experience, been showing that he could be the man to fill the biggest of boots.

He is, however, far from being the finished article and Rivaldo has warned Barca against piling pressure and expectation onto the shoulders of a youngster still learning his trade.

The Blaugrana legend told Betfair of a hot prospect who has three goals and two assists to his name this season: “Pedri is only 18 years old and it would be rash to start putting too much pressure on him, even though the squad has more experienced players to take on the responsibility and should step forward.

“He simply needs to continue his good work, developing and learning to become one of the great players at the club in the near future. His great qualities are undeniable and there are already rumours that he might be part of the Spain squad at Euro 2021, which only confirms he has great ability.

“But he is very young, and Barcelona should be careful to not put the spotlight on him too soon. He needs to continue improving his game and then perform on the bigger stages other than La Liga, such as the Champions League.

“It may well be Messi’s last season at the club, so he could have more chances to take responsibilities next season, but for now I would suggest that he just needs to continue his normal process and play his football every time he is called upon by Ronald Koeman.”

Barca agreed a deal with Las Palmas for Pedri in 2019, with that agreement pushed through almost 12 months later as he put pen to paper on a five-year contract at Camp Nou.

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