Like any other football team, FC Barcelona has its share of players who have struggled this season.
Carles Puyol has had a tough season as injuries have plagued the capita. Carles’ age is beginning to catch up to his game as well.
Despite his goal in Barcelona’s win against Mallorca, Gerard Pique has also had a down year. Shakira’s boyfriend has had issues with injuries along with bad play. He’s been sloppy too many times this season. There have even been rumors that Pep Guardiola has an issue with Gerard dating Shakira with reports claiming Pep believes the Colombian star is a distraction for Pique.
She’s just a WAG, Pep. Relax. Perhaps Pique has been “waka wak-ing” too much with Shakira.
And by “waka wak-ing”, I mean dancing.
But even with all of this, neither Pique nor Puyol have been the most disappointing player for FC Barcelona this season.
FYI: Pique and Puyol are part of the most disappointing element of Barcelona this year—the Barça defense.
The title of most disappointing player belongs to Pedro Rodriguez.
Pedro has been a lock to rack up goals ever since he became a full-time first-team player in 2009. Unfortunately for Pep Guardiola and the club, Pedrito has had a season to forget. The same man who became the first player to score a goal in six different competitions in one season can’t buy a goal nowadays.
As much as other players on Barcelona have had disappointing moments this year, Pedro is the unfortunate winner of most disappointing player.
So why has he struggled?
Here are five reasons why Pedro Rodriguez is FC Barcelona’s most disappointing player for 2011-12.
Pedro has constantly been overthinking about his shots when he gets the ball this season. Every time he gets the ball, he is trying too hard to make plays.
There have been too many times this season where he dances with the defender only to get the ball taken away or allowing the goalkeeper to run up and get the ball.
Pedro needs to be a bit more like Alexis Sanchez—albeit Sanchez makes mistakes of his own. The thing about Alexis that you have to admire is that he is not afraid of taking the shot even with defenders around. Yes, Alexis does have his moments when he tries to dance around the defender, but he is quicker to the trigger when taking the shot.
Perhaps Alexis takes risks a bit more because he’s more dynamic than Pedro. But still, Pedro needs to take the shot—something his starting XI replacement is more than willing to do.
Pedro needs to rely more on his instincts as well as his teammates to make plays.
Alexis Sanchez took Pedro’s place in the starting lineup when the Chilean was signed last summer. With this, it could be said that this hurt Pedro’s growth as a player and his confidence.
Okay, I can see this. I don’t know anyone who can be feeling good about having someone come in and take your spot.
But I also see this issue from a different perspective.
I also see it as Pedro not being able to step up and prove that he deserves to start.
When Alexis went down with an injury in September, it was the perfect opportunity for Pedrito to come in and remind everyone why he is a goal-scoring machine as well as a World Cup champion with Spain. But Pedro only scored one goal in La Liga while Sanchez was out and went out with an injury in late October.
Pedro did score two goals in a 4-0 beating of BATE Borisov in Champions League group play in December—even though the game was essentially meaningless because Barcelona had already secured the top spot in the group.
Pedro would have had an opportunity to gain more starting time when David Villa went out at the FIFA Club World Cup, but Pedro suffered a hamstring injury in January which stopped this from happening.
Since the new calendar year began, Pedro has only found the back of the net once. At least the lone goal was an important one; the first goal of the second leg of the Copa Del Rey quarterfinal against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
Pedro always been an aggressive player—which is one of his best features—and he’ll want to prove that he still is one of the best young players in Spain. There are many good forwards in Spain and a good performance the rest of the 2011-12 campaign will help Pedro earn a spot on the Spanish national team as Euro 2012 approaches.
One of the reasons Pedro has been overshadowed this season is due to these two guys.
Both Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello have outplayed, outshined and outperformed Pedro this season.
Issac Cuenca made his debut in La Liga in October 25 of last year against Granada—the same game Pedro would go out with an injury. One week later, Cuenca scored his first goal in La Liga in a 5-0 beating of RCD Mallorca. Since then, Isaac has only improved and has shown signs of great things to come.
On January 31, Cuenca signed an extension with the club until 2015.
When Pedro went down with an injury in January, Pep Guardiola called up Cristian Tello to fill in. Tello made his Liga debut in the 75th minute of a 1-1- tie against Villarreal in January. He was the spark plug Barcelona needed much earlier in that game. Cristian passed by defenders with ease as he quickly became the threat of the last 15 minutes of the game. Followers of La Liga were very impressed with Tello’s play.
He was just getting warmed up.
Tello has shined the brightest out of the Barça youngsters. His speed, playmaking ability and goal-scoring have been without a doubt the team’s biggest surprise. Tello made his Champions League debut earlier this month against Bayer Leverkusen. Within two minutes of him entering the game, Tello scored a goal. He added a second goal to give him a brace in the 7-1 win highlighted by Leo Messi’s manito.
Tello has easily earned a spot on the first squad and a bright future with FC Barcelona.
Both Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello have made many people forget about Pedro.
The main reason why Pedro has been FC Barcelona’s most disappointing player is simple—he’s not scoring goals.
Pedro became a full-time first-team player in 2009-10. In that season, Pedro had 23 goals in all competitions. Last season, he had 22 goals in all competitions.
This season, Pedro has seven goals in all competitions; one in La Liga action.
One goal! So sad.
Of course, injuries have played a part in this, but it's not like he's missed the whole season. Pedro has had plenty of opportunities to put the ball in the net. As mentioned, Pedro has, at times, overthought making moves and taking the shot.
Pedro was always a natural goal scorer, but this year has been unnaturally bad for him.
With a combination of all the reasons I mentioned previously, there’s no surprise that Pedro is lacking in confidence. It’s natural for any player to be out of it after being replaced in the starting lineup, injured, missing shots and not scoring goals.
But what’s more disappointing is that he just can’t seem to get out of his slump.
Pep Guardiola has put his trust in Pedro and has continued to keep him in the starting lineup of late. Part of this is also to keep Alexis Sanchez from re-injuring himself. Many fans have said that Pedro has not earned a starting spot in the lineup and should be replaced by either Isaac Cuenca or Cristian Tello.
I understand this thinking, but let’s not forget what Pedro has done in his short career. He’s scored huge goals for Barcelona and is deserving of being given chances to get out of his slump.
But to be fair, Pedro has had plenty of chances this season and he mentally is not able to overcome. I don’t think Pedro is mentally weak, I just think Pedro’s confidence has basically checked out this season.
The end of the 2012-13 season cannot come any sooner for the Canarian.
Pedro is the most disappointing player this season and it came in a bad year, when goals have been tougher to get than normal for FC Barcelona. My hope for Pedro is that he can get a goal in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Milan to get him feeling good about his game.
Recently, Pep Guardiola praised Pedro for his continued efforts.
“Pedro runs for three others; that's his great virtue.”
The 2011-12 season has been a disaster for Pedro Rodriguez. But even with the disappointment, Pep Guardiola remains confident Pedro will come out of it.
"He knows exactly what he has to do. He's level-headed in that way. I just want him to keep doing what he's always done.”
His confidence may be all but gone for this year, but Pedro’s hustle, determination and heart are always there. Pedro can redeem himself and make good of this season if he can come up big in the Champions League.
Let’s hope he redeems himself.
Visca el Barça!
Often imitated by other writers but never duplicated, Xoel!
Thanks for reading. Look out for my next article later this week.
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