‘I watch his matches… it hurts’

PEDRI has admitted that “it hurts” watching Lionel Messi struggle at Paris Saint-Germain – and hopes that the Argentine will quickly return to form.

The Spaniard was taken under Messi’s wing during his impressive first season in Catalonia.

Pedri starred alongside Lionel Messi last seasonCredit: Getty

But he was forced to part with his Argentine pal when the 34-year-old had to leave Barca last summer due to the club’s financial turmoil.

Pedri, 19, has continued to blossom this season – and still looks to Messi for inspiration.

He told Spanish paper La Vanguardia: “Whenever I can, I watch his matches because you learn a lot by watching the best footballer in the world play.

“But it’s true that when things don’t work out for a friend, as I consider him, it hurts a bit.

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“I’ve had a great time with Leo on the pitch and off it he’s a magnificent person so I hope he can come back.

“I had fun playing with him and it is a joy to have him as a team-mate.”

Messi has scored just twice in 18 Ligue 1 matches since joining Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

He had fared a little better in the Champions League group stage, but was anonymous as his side were dumped out by Real Madrid earlier this month.

Messi, alongside fellow ex-Barca star Neymar, was subject to boos and jeers from his own fans in the first match following PSG’s Bernabeu collapse.

Pedri, meanwhile, has played a big part in Barcelona’s red-hot recent run under Xavi.

Since returning from a four-month hamstring injury lay-off, Pedri is yet to taste defeat in LaLiga – with his side winning seven and drawing one of their eight matches since his comeback.

On Xavi’s impact, he added: “He always tells me to get forward, that any rebound or any play can result in a goal with a loose ball and that I can push on and help the team.

“And I have to pay attention to him because he’s absolutely right, a goal in a play like this helps the team a lot.”

Messi, 34, was booed against Bordeaux

Messi, 34, was booed against BordeauxCredit: Getty

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