LIONEL MESSI could not hide his delight as protege Pedri scooped the Kopa Award for football’s best youngster.
The Barcelona starlet was named the best player under the age of 21 at the Ballon d’Or ceremony.
And Barca legend Messi beamed with delight as his former team-mate stepped up to collect his gong.
Pedri moved to the Nou Camp last year from Spanish minnows Las Palmas and played alongside Messi during his final stint at the club.
The Argentinian great then famously bid an emotional goodbye to Catalonia as he moved to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
But reports earlier this year said Messi was eager to stay in Spain specifically to mentor the 19-year-old – who has also been likened to the legendary Andres Iniesta.
The LaLiga giants rate his talent so highly they are reported to have inserted an £850 million buyout clause in his latest contract.
Last week Pedri became the first Barca player since Messi himself to pick up the European Golden Boy trophy.
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And on Monday he backed that up with global recognition – on a night Messi was expected to take home the Ballon d’Or itself.
Pedri beat strong competition from England’s crop of young stars on the night.
Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham was named second in the rundown of future talent.
Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood came fifth while Arsenal flier Bukayo Saka was sixth.
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