There’s never a dull moment at Barcelona these days.
Lionel Messi’s contract, racism claims against Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann, players not wanting to leave, others refusing to take a pay cut…
It’s like a proverbial Spanish soap opera.
Now the Catalans are set to be thrust front and centre of the sports pages once more with news that Ronald Koeman has put his foot down over one particularly divisive issue.
At just 18 years of age, Pedri was the sensation of Barcelona’s 2020/21 season, and he carried his incredible form into the European Championship where he was, arguably, Spain’s best and most consistent player.
He had already been earmarked for the Spanish Olympic squad, however, Koeman has now formally requested that his player doesn’t go.
“For a football player, two top-tier competitions in the same summer is too much,” the Dutchman was quoted as saying by Sport.
“Pep Guardiola has already said this, and I agree with him. He played almost every game in the domestic season and has played just about every minute of [Spain’s participation in] the European Championships.
“To have a four-day break and then fly to Japan to play in the Olympics is not ideal. It’s too much.
“It’s just a personal opinion, but for me the Olympic Games are athletics and other sports – but not football.
“This is what I think, at least. I understand that the players are keen to play, but we have a tightly-packed schedule and we need to protect our players.”
Whilst Koeman’s stance can’t be considered to be awkward, stopping the youngster from having a chance at winning a potential Olympic gold medal might come back to haunt him.