What a month that was, eh?
Ultimately, it was Roberto Mancini’s Italy who ran out champions of Europe, lifting their second European Championship title courtesy of a penalty shootout win over England in the final.
And while the Azzurri will be remembered for their stand-out performance, there have been plenty of sensational individual displays throughout the tournament – many of which have come from members of the Our 21 series.
Prior to Euro 2020, 90min selected 21 Under-21 players that had the potential to thrive over the summer and, blimey, some of them exceeded expectation. Special mentions should go to Mikkel Damsgaard of Denmark and Bukayo Saka of England, who both had fantastic tournaments but, in the end, only one player could take the title of Our 21 player of Euro 2020.
That player is, of course, Pedri.
Luis Enrique has hailed the performances of Pedri for Spain at Euro 2020 to Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta, suggesting he has achieved more by the same age.
A look at how all of Our 21 fared over the course of Euro 2020
A roundup of 90min’s Our 21 in the Euro 2020 semi-finals, with Phil Foden, Pedri, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Mikkel Damsgaard, Ferran Torres & more.
Ronald Koeman has admitted he is worried about Lionel Messi’s future but remains confident he will sign a new Barcelona contract.
Unwaveringly mesmerising, age-defying, and team-carrying performances made him not only Our 21’s player of this summer’s European Championships, but also the official young player of the Euro 2020.
The omens were there long before the commencement of the tournament. The 18-year old had come into the summer having missed just one match across all competitions for Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona during the 2020/21 campaign – bearing in mind he started the season as a 17-year old who had never played top flight football, that’s nothing short of ridiculous.
Even so, with the likes of Koke, Fabian Ruiz, Thiago and Marcos Llorente in the squad there were doubts over how involved Pedri would really be and what role Luis Enrique would bestow upon him.
Well, those concerns were very swiftly eradicated.
It soon became clear that Pedri was Spain’s most important component. The teenager missed just one minute of La Roja’s whole campaign, only being sacrificed for a penalty-taker in the last minute of extra time in their quarter-final tie with Switzerland – ironically, Rodri, who came on for Pedri, later missed his spot kick.
He spent more time on the pitch than any other outfield player for Enrique’s side, and he was by no means just making up the numbers – even when things got tense in the knockout stages.
Despite his seemingly unmanageable game time, Pedri was more tenacious, hard-working, creative, and progressive than the vast majority of his colleagues, and opponents. He was without fail the link between deep areas and advanced spaces, building attacks single-handedly, and dictating Spain’s tempo with visionary movement and passing.
Pedri was staggeringly good throughout and, unbelievably, is just 18 years of age.
The teenager may not have registered a goal or assist at Euro 2020 but he was undeniably the most integral cog of Spain’s machine and their established creator-in-chief at the heart of everything.
Evading lunging tackles, silkily carrying the ball upfield with beautiful fluidity, playing intelligent balls to efficiently and neatly drive his side forward while putting in a disciplined defensive shift – it’s what we’ve seen him do for Barcelona, but he just seems to get better and better with every passing second.
Indeed, Spain coach Enrique could only stand in awe of the youngster following Spain exit at the semi-final stage, comparing him to the great Andres Iniesta and simply failing to comprehend how an 18-year old could be so fantastic.
Other members of the Our 21 series did themselves very proud this summer – of that there is no doubt – but Pedri’s consistently talismanic and integral displays on such huge occasions made him what he is at Camp Nou – undroppable.
He was utterly superb, incredible to watch, and proved what a sheer superstar and big stage-player he already is – at just 18 years old; how?!
Pedri has deservedly earned the award of young player of the tournament this summer with an iconic major tournament debut. And we at 90min want to honour him with the title of Our 21’s player of Euro 2020.