Thu 02 February 2023 | 9:17

Xavi: Pedri is at the same level of Iniesta

Barcelona manager Xavi believes Pedri is at the same level of Spain's "greatest talent", Andres Iniesta.


defeated Real Betis 2-1 at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on Wednesday thanks to Goals from Raphinha and

Robert Lewandowski.

Xavi’s side now has 50 points after 19 matches and is eight points clear of Real Madrid, albeit the defending champions have a game in hand.

After the game, Xavi praised the 20-year-old


and compared him to Andres Iniesta.

"He is a player who is on another level, I have seen very few like him,"

Xavi said.

"He is talented, he is at the level of Iniesta, but Andres had a continuity to the point that he is still playing.

"Andres is the greatest talent I've seen in Spanish football, but Pedri is very similar to him. He can make a difference, he is already doing it.”

The 19-year-old Alejandro Balde played in the left-back position and provided his fourth assist of the season against Betis. Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala is the only player aged under 20 who has managed to provide more assists in Europe's top-five leagues this season.

"I'm very happy for Balde, he has tremendous potential both in defence and in attack,"

Xavi said.

"He gives us superiority by driving and that is very difficult to see in football.

"He has to exploit his potential even more, we encourage him to be transcendent, he is both a full-back and a winger at times.

"Luckily we have three spectacular full-backs in Marcos [Alonso], [Jordi] Alba and Balde. He's so young and has this capacity, it is a joy to see him play."

Real Betis manager Manuel Pellegrini claimed Barcelona’s first goal should have been disallowed.

"It was a balanced game that anyone could win, and it was decided by two set-pieces. The first goal is controversial,"

Pellegrini said.

"First it was a foul on Aitor Ruibal and it was not given, then they took the foul 20 metres further forward than they should have and caught us off guard."

source: SportMob

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