Ballon d'Or

Pedri wins the Kopa award

2021 has been a year to remember for Pedri culminating in being awarded the Trophée Kopa by France Football in tonight's Ballon d'Or gala in Paris.

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Pedri wins the Kopa award

Despite being laid low by injury for the last two months, 2021 has been a year to remember for Pedri culminating in being awarded the Trophée Kopa by France Football in tonight's Ballon d'Or gala in Paris. The award is given to the best player under the age of 21. It's another prestigious accolade for the Barcelona midfielder who recently was named the Golden Boy for 2021 and was voted the best young player in last summer's Euro 2020. Matthijs de Ligt was the last winner of the Trophée Kopa, winning it in the 2019 edition.

Pedri's special mention for La Palma in acceptance speech

"It was my 19th birthday recently and this is the best way to celebrate it. I'd like to thank Barça, the people who have helped and supported me, the club captains - including Messi. Thank you for how much you supported me. I would like to dedicate this award to my family. I would also like to give a special mention to La Palma, any support they can get will be much appreciated and well received. Thank You," Pedri said on accepting his award.

Pedri played a key role in helping Ronald Koeman's Barça  to win the Copa del Rey last season and also shone for Spain at Euro 2020. He capped a busy summer by winning the silver medal with Spain at the Tokyo Olympics.

The teenager attended the media in the mixed zone after collecting his award. He said he was very happy with the prize and recognition from Messi, Mbappé and Lewandowski.

Humility: “To be honest I have always tried to lead my life normaly. My family have helped me a lot, my parents tell me to keep my feet on the ground and have given me a lot of good advice”.

What do you plan to do now? “I've had quite a hectic day with travelling. I haven't had much time to do things. I came here relaxed and excited to be surrounded by so many great players. I am very happy to have won the award after a season after a season of much effort and sacrifice”.

What did it mean having Lewandowski, Messi and Mbappé clapping as you went up to accept the award? “It means a lot. Coming to an awards ceremony, being surrounded by the best players and then they applaud you... that means everything to me. I remembered La Palma because I am poroud to be from the Canary Islands, they deserve as much help as they can get and that we can do that for them is the best thing we can do”.

Messi: “Messi helped me a lot during the year we spent together at the club. I really enjoyed his company and I am grateful for everything he did to help me on and off the pitch”.

Vertigo: “I don't have vertigo. I always only ever think about working harder and helping the team in whatever way I can”.

How did Messi's departure affect your career? “It's true that Leo is a player who makes a real difference, for me he is the best player in the world. As for me personally, I think I have to try to better myself every day and do the best I possibly can, helping the team in any way I can”.

Are you looking forward to playing under Xavi? “I can't wait to get back out onto the pitch with Xavi. He's a coach with very clear ideas about what he wants. For me, the key to settling into the side was the captains. I have watched Barça since I was a little kid, I have been a culé all of my life and that has helped me to understand what the club is all about”.