He wasn’t a major part of the treble in 2009, but after Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry left, Pedro seemingly came out of nowhere to become one of the best wingers in the world, helping Barcelona win two more league titles and another Champions League final, not to mention his success with the national team.
But 2012 wasn’t too great for the small player from Tenerife, who joined the Barcelona youth setup when he was 17. Injuries and Barcelona’s own problems with consistency, in the lineup as well, hurt his advancements and obviously the statistics as well. After scoring a total of 45 goals in the previous two seasons, Pedro had to settle for 13 and losing his place in the lineup to Alexis Sanchez.
This year, under Tito Vilanova and Jordi Roura, it’s been about expirementing, trying to bring the flair back. Pedro is quick, can use both feet and usually has the finishing ability of a more natural striker. Playing on the left, in the center, along with Alexis. Everything has been tried. While his scoring touch (5 league goals in 21 matches) hasn’t returned, his ability, work ethic and dominance on the wings have.
Scoring twice against Uruguay for Spain is a nice confidence booster. Pedro is the most forward man in the Spanish lineup, who use Cesc Fabregas as their false ‘9’ and Pedro as the winger next to him. He’s scored twice against Saudi Arabia, a hat trick against Belaures, twice against Panama and now twice against Uruguay, all in the space of five months. Not the fiercest competition in the world, but it’s hard to say the position doesn’t suit him or he is not in scoring form.
He is just asked to operate a little differently for Barcelona. While in Spain he gets to shoulder more responsibility, with the hierarchy being less clear than it is in the Nou Camp, Pedro is relied upon to be a finisher. With Barcelona, his first job is too create space, be there to finish or open counter attacks while Lionel Messi joins. His first mission is to find Messi after he gets by on the wing. He makes less penetrations in to the penalty box, unless Dani Alves joins from behind which gives him a chance to present himself as receiving target.
And then there’s luck. Sometimes balls just don’t go in. Pedro had a brilliant chance to score at the Santiago Bernabeu but blew it by creating too tight of an angle for himself, without anyone “helping” him. It sometimes feels as if he also needs to do more tactical, defensive work for Barca. The only one exempt from any sort of annoying chores is Lionel Messi, which is understandable.
Pedro has already beaten Alexis for the role of the preferred winger and sidekick to Lionel Messi, not to mention David Villa who has been completely left out of the process this season, at least up until now. All he needs now is to start scoring again.