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Iniesta and Pedri: do they have a similar game style, as Xavi says?

Xavi Hernandez, FC Barcelona’s current coach, made an interesting comment after the last round of matches where he compared his player Pedro Gonzalez, better known as Pedri, to Andres Iniesta.

“More than just the nutmegs, I would like to stress the way he understands football. He doesn’t lose the ball. How he moves between the lines behind the midfielders… he reminds me a lot of Iniesta, he makes the difference, he’s wonderful. I haven’t seen many talents like him”.

As we can see in the statement, Xavi refers to the similarity between the two players with regards to the reading of the game. Therefore, at the MBP School of Coaches we are going to tactically analyze what the Canary Islands player is bringing to the azulgrana team, and if he is really as similar to Andres Iniesta, as Xavi said.

Colorido Geometrico Banner para Canvas 4 Iniesta and Pedri: do they have a similar game style, as Xavi says? MBP School of coaches

Structural Analysis

To begin the analysis between the two players, we will first start by describing them from an individual perspective, focusing on which structures stand out in both footballers.

If there was one thing that Andrés Iniesta excelled at during his time at FC Barcelona, it was his coordination structure. The Spanish player was a genius with the ball at his feet. Iniesta did not possess a gifted physique that would allow him to beat his opponents with speed or in one-on-one duels. However, the legend from Fuentealbilla managed to go pass his opponents with exquisite dribbles, such as his famous ‘croqueta’.

Pedri Iniesta Xavi Barcelona Análisis Táctico

Pedri Iniesta Xavi Barcelona Análisis Táctico 2

Furthermore, Iniesta also shone for his superb understanding of the game. The historic blaugrana 8 possessed a strong cognitive structure. This aspect allowed him to know ‘where’ he had to position himself, ‘what’ actions he had to perform, and ‘when’ he had to perform them.

What can we say about Pedri?

Just like Iniesta, Pedri is technically gifted. Similar to the former, all the actions he performs are highly precise and effective. In addition, the current Barca No. 16 has a great long stride over space that we seldom saw in Iniesta.

Pedri Andrés Iniesta Xavi Barcelona Análisis Táctico 3

The same goes for the youngster’s cognitive structure. Pedri understands the game like few others. Much like Iniesta, the former Las Palmas talent is always positioned in an interlinear interval to receive the pass himself, or alternatively, he can fix a defender so that a teammate has more time and space to receive the ball.

Therefore, the similarity between both players in this first aspect is very high. Although there are small differences between the two, they both excel in the same structures, being players of a high level of both coordination and cognitive skills.


Behavioral Analysis

Having contextualized the similarities between the two players on a structural level, let’s analyze what fundamentals Iniesta excelled in, and whether they match those of Pedri. As Xavi mentioned, Iniesta stood out for his ability to receive balls between the lines. And what happened once he received the ball there?

Right after gaining possession of the ball, Iniesta used to perform in a chained way one of his star fundamentals, ‘Looking for a game in progression valuing the risk/benefit of the passes’. The Barca legend always knew when it was the right moment to make a riskier pass in behind, which could put one of his teammates in an advantageous situation, or on the other hand, to make a continuity pass to keep possession of the ball.

And what actions does Pedri tend to perform on the pitch?

Like the former Blaugrana player, Pedri also tends to receive the ball in favorable positions. In a positional style of play such as the one Xavi Hernandez wants to apply, knowing how to position yourself in positions in small pockets is vital for midfielders to do.

Pedri Iniesta Xavi Hernández Barcelona Análisis Táctico 4

Pedri Iniesta Xavi Barcelona Análisis Táctico 5

Likewise, the resemblance between the two once they receive the ball is obvious. Pedri, as we have explained in the example of Iniesta, identifies perfectly when to take risks in the pass and when not to. In addition, and unlike Iniesta, Pedri is more adept at making switches of play, thus being able to take advantage of situations of spatial advantage on the opposite wing.

Therefore, as we saw in the structural analysis, the similarity between both players in terms of their individual tactical behavior on the pitch is almost identical.


Impact on the Collective

Finally, we should point out the two most important aspects that both players have contributed to the play of Barca.

The first one refers to the individual quality at the service of the collective, and to the socio-affective structure. Thanks to these two elements, the two players are able to generate synergies with their teammates, which allows them to enlarge the zone of intervention of their teams, thereby achieving a better circulation of the ball.

The second most relevant characteristic that both players bring to the team is their ability to attract opponents. In addition to their passing ability, both players have a great capacity to break lines of pressure through driving with the ball. This factor causes an attraction of opponents, which generates free spaces that can be exploited by their teammates once they release the ball.

Pedri Iniesta Xavi Barcelona Análisis Táctico 6



Although it is almost impossible to compare two players from different eras, given that they played in different contexts, we can affirm that the similarity between them both is strikingly high, not only at a structural and behavioral level, but also in terms of their impact on the team as a whole.

Both Iniesta in the past, as well as Pedri at present, have managed to have an impact on the team through their quality, creativity and understanding of the game, thus being able to not only multiply individual performance through relationships with the environment, but also to improve the competitive level of the team thanks to their personal performances.

Therefore, at MBP School of Coaches, we can only continue to enjoy the fantastic player that Pedri is, as we did in the past with Andrés Iniesta.

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