Posted by: Drago
If ever I needed a reminder of how quickly time flies, it came when I read recently that it was five years since Pedro made his first team debut for FC Barcelona. I then remembered some of the vital goals he has scored in that time. Pedro is a shining example to every talented young player of what can be achieved if one works hard and gives everything to the cause.
Pedro (full name Pedro Elizer Rodriguez Ledesma) was born on 28th July 1987 on the island of Tenerife and joined the Barcelona youth team system in 2004. As a result of good performances for Barcelona B, Pedro (then known as Pedrito) made his first team debut on 12th January 2008 as a late substitute against Real Murcia. He would make one further appearance in that season of struggle for Barcelona which was also Frank Rijkaard's last as coach. In the glorious 2008/09 treble winning season under Pep Guardiola, Pedro was still a Barcelona B player. However, he made fourteen more appearances for the first team. These included an appearance as a late substitute in our Champions League Final win in Rome against Manchester United.
Pedro was promoted to the Barcelona first team for the 2009/10 season and made an immediate impact. He became the first player to score in six different club completions in the same season and calendar year. I first noticed the potential of Pedro when he coolly slotted the winner in extra time in the 2009 European Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk after coming on as a late substitute for Zlatan Ibrahoimovic. He soon established himself as a regular first team player scoring 23 goals that season. Undoubtedly, his most vital goal that season was his late equaliser in the Final of the World Club Cup whiich enabled Barcelona to go on and win that trophy for the first time in extra time.
Pedro also scored several important towards the end of the season that enabled Barcelona to retain La Liga. The development of Pedro that season was very much a factor in two established stars in Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovi being sold at the end of that season. Pedro's excellent debut season as a Barcelona first teamer led to an additional reward with Pedro being selected in the Spanish squad which won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The 2010/11 season was very successful for both the now established player and Barcelona. Pedro (P) scored 22 goals as part of what became known as the M-V-P strikeforce playing alongside Lionel Messi (M) and new signing David Villa (V). Of all the goals Pedro scored that season three are most memorable for me. He scored the second goal in our wonderful 5-0 "Manita" demolition of Real Madrid at Canp Nou.
The other two were in the Champions League. Pedro scored the goal in the 1-1 draw in the Second Leg of the Semi Final against Real Madrid which probably clinched our 3-1 aggregate victory. He finished that memorable season by scoring the first goal in our wonderful 3-1 victory in the Final against Manchester United in the Final. He was described that season as the second best finisher at Barcelona. Here is a selection of his goals.
The last two seasons have seen Pedro struggle to maintain his early impetus. Injury and increased competition for his spot in the team limited Pedro to just 13 goals in the 2011/12 season. However, he did end the season on a high by scoring a double in Barcelona's 3-0 Copa Del Rey Final win over Athletic Bilbao.
This season Pedro has regained his regular starting spot in the team under new coach Tito Villanova. He has played well including providing several assists for Lionel Messi but has struggled to score for Barcelona. He scored two goals early in the season before suffering a long drought without another goal for Barcelona. This was despite scoring a hat-trick for Spain in a World Cup Qualifier against Belarus during that time. He finally broke his drought with a double against Espanyol recently.
The confident manner in which he coolly scored the second, after the first one deflected in off his knee, suggests there will be many more before the season ends.
I certainly hope so.