Pedri with options to start against Paris Saint-Germain

The 21-year-old midfielder only recently returned from a long injury absence but could start alonside Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gundogan
Barcelona Training Session
Barcelona Training Session / David Ramos/GettyImages

Barcelona may have beaten Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie. But it came at a cost.

That cost was losing both Sergi Roberto and Andreas Christensen after both picked up a yellow card and thus have to serve a one-match suspension.

With both of Xavi's options at pivot now gone, he has a decision to make as to who will start alongside Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gundogan in midfield.

His two most viable options are either Fermin Lopez or Pedri.

Based on who accompanied Xavi in his pre-match press conference, all signs point to Pedri starting.

"The team is very eager and excited to face this game. Personally, I come from a bad time, but I'm very excited to be back," Pedri said.

The 21-year-old midfielder suffered an injury back March against Athletic Bilbao. He received the medical green light prior to the match in Paris. Xavi brought him on for the final half hour and provided a sublime assist for Raphinha's equalizer.

It's one of Barcelona's most important games in recent history given where the club finds itself at the moment and what it could entail, both in a sporting and economic, sense should they progress through to the quarterfinal.

"The fans deserve a semifinal. We have been hoping for too long to give them nights like this," Pedri said.

Being able to count on a player of Pedri's ability is only an added bonus for Barcelona. The question, however, then becomes of how long can he play for as well as possibly running the risk of another injury. While Pedri is fully aware of the risks, he wants to play.

"Playing 90 minutes? When you come back from injury, you feel tired sooner, but I'm stronger and eager. The more minutes, the better. I prefer to play 80 and do it at 100%. When I can't do it anymore, I'll ask for the substitution.

Another question for Xavi, assuming Pedri starts, is his position in midifeld. In the first leg, Sergi Roberto and Frenkie de Jong played deeper, freeing up Gundogan to play more forward which is where his skills are used best.

Pedri can also play that role so it'll be interesting if Xavi decides to play Pedri almost as a double-pivot with De Jong. The plus side is they're both excellent with the ball and should be outlets playing out from the back. The drawback is it will likely mean more running for Pedri as he is going to need to cover a lot of ground which could result in him getting fatigued sooner rather than later.


In addition to the half hour against PSG, Pedri also had some minutes in Barcelona's win against Cadiz over the weekend. He's seen some minutes since returning but the intensity will be different at the Montjuic with what's on the line.