Barcelona’s Pedri explains wonderful back-heel assist for Lionel Messi against Athletic Club

Barcelona's Pedri explains wonderful back-heel assist for Lionel Messi against Athletic Club

Teenage sensation Pedri has been the bright spark in what has been a largely disappointing 2020/21 campaign thus far for Barcelona, and he provided another moment of magic during his side’s Copa del Rey victory over Athletic Club on Wednesday evening.

Barcelona ran out 3-2 winners over Athletic thanks to a header from Pedri and a brace from Lionel Messi, with the latter’s first goal the result of a particularly special assist from the former.

Lionel Messi, Pedri
Pedri has shone for Barcelona this season 

Ronald Koeman’s side had fallen a goal behind inside three minutes, Inaki Williams racing clean through and slotting past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Pedri equalised for Barcelona 11 minutes later, heading home Frenckie de Jong’s cushioned side foot volley, before conjuring up a piece of individual brilliance to help give his side the lead.

The 18-year-old received the ball on the edge of the Athletic box and shaped to shoot, before instead rolling the ball backwards with the sole of his foot to tee up Messi – his back-heel taking three Athletic defenders out of the game in the process.

“It was a super fast move,” Pedri explained (via the Athletic’s Dermot Corrigan). “Messi went behind me and shouted at me, otherwise I’d not have seen him. Luckily the keeper had come out and it went well.”

Messi would wrap up victory for Barcelona and book their place in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey in the second half, tucking home Antoine Griezmann’s pass via the underside of the cross bar from the edge of the six yard box.

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The Argentine was denied a hat-trick by the post, and then gifted Athletic possession deep in the Barcelona half to allow the hosts to pull one back on the stroke of full-time, Iker Muniain capitalising on the loose pass to stroke home.

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