• Lionel Messi and Pedri have been playing well together as part of Barcelona
  • Pedri may have given Barca new hope about Messi's looming exit
  • Rivaldo doesn't want the Catalans to rush the teenager's progress

Barcelona may have found a possible bargaining chip to convince Lionel Messi to stay at Camp Nou.

The narrative of this La Liga season has been completely different for Barcelona. The Catalans have not been as phenomenal as they were in the past, and the media has accused the drama behind Messi’s looming exit as one of the main reasons.

However, things are slowly getting back to how it used to be, with Barca winning its last three games. In two of the three victories, Messi has been instrumental, having scored a combined four goals.

But apart from the Barcelona captain’s goalscoring, the emergence of Pedri as his co-star also had its fair share of the spotlight.

In fact, renowned Spanish sports newspaper Marca suggests that Pedri “has already become the player who has the best synergy” with Messi.

Lionel Messi scored twice in Barcelona's victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi scored twice in Barcelona's victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. AFP / ANDER GILLENEA

In September 2019, Barcelona signed Pedri from Las Palmas for a fee of €5 million ($6 million). One year after his move to Camp Nou, the Tenerife native made his first-team debut and has gradually made his mark in Ronald Koeman’s squad.

The Barcelona manager acknowledges that Pedri has started to display his maturity on the pitch that has been essential for Messi and the club.

"Pedri is showing despite his youth that he is very mature," Koeman said in a post-match interview after Barcelona’s win over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. "Messi has always shown his desire but today, also with goals. It is very important."

After 18 appearances for Barcelona this season, Pedri has already scored two goals and provided two assists.

In the team’s crucial win over Athletic Club, he even became the youngest player to both score and complete an assist in La Liga at exactly 18 years and 42 days old.

Despite Pedri appearing as a suitable partner for Messi at the moment, Camp Nou legend Rivaldo wants to ensure that that his former club isn’t rushing things up for the wonderkid.

“Pedri is only 18 years old and it would be rash to start putting too much pressure on him, even though the squad has more experienced players to take on the responsibility and should step forward,” Rivaldo recently told Betfair.

“He simply needs to continue his good work, developing and learning to become one of the great players at the club in the near future. But he is very young, and Barcelona should be careful to not put the spotlight on him too soon.”