Who is Pedro? This was the question Barcelona scouts asked in 2004, when they went to Tenerife in order to sign Jeffren Suarez.
The Tenerife youth coach asked them if they were going to take Pedro too, and one of the scouts asked who Pedro was. The scouts were convinced to stay for another day to watch this young prodigy play, and they quickly found their answer.
Pedro was the future of FC Barcelona.
Fast forward to November 2010 and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo still doesn't seem to know who Pedro is as he asks him, in a middle of an altercation during El Clásico, "Who are you?" He had his answer a few minutes later when Pedro scored Barcelona's second goal in what turned out to be an historic rout.
Pedro Rodriguez is FC Barcelona's silent killer—the silent superstar that everyone ignores. Prior to the Champions League final, the English press identified the usual suspects Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andrés Iniesta and David Villa as Barcelona's main attacking threats, but unsurprisingly, it was Pedro who opened the score at Wembley.
Pedrito's story is one of hard work and perseverance—a truly inspirational story. He struggled with the culture and the language in the first three months, and his mother suffered from depression. He seriously thought about leaving the club but eventually decided to stick around and fight and has never stopped improving since.
He shined in the B side with Pep Guardiola, who promoted him as soon as he became the first team manager. In the summer of 2010, the management thought of selling Pedro, but Guardiola had other plans.
It's easy to see why; in his first season as a first team footballer, Pedro scored 23 goals, became the first footballer in history to score in six different competitions in the same season and scored one goal in every two shots.
His rise was as meteoric as it was unexpected; in one year, he went from being an unknown to start and win a World Cup final. Last season was more of the same, as Pedro again scored 20-plus goals, some of them in the most important matches.
He might not be as technically skilled as Lionel Messi or Andrés Iniesta, but he does know where the goal is! It's hard to find a better finisher in world football at the moment (even Guardiola stated that Pedro's finishing is even better than Messi's).
As humble as he is, Pedro is quick to downplay his importance to the team: "“How can you not score goals in Barça! While defenders have trouble dealing with Messi, Villa and Bojan, they forgot about me. That’s why I could score those goals. A lot [of chances] came my way, taking advantage of a move made by my teammates or a pass.”
Pep Guardiola knows better though: “Pedro has become vital for us, absolutely fundamental. He is a role model, a great. He always exceeds expectations. If Pedro was Brazilian, he’d be called Pedrinho and we wouldn’t have enough money to afford him.”
Pedro's humbleness is perfectly translated on the pitch. He works hard for the team, never stops running and always put teams success ahead of individual recognition. Even Pep Guardiola has told him to be a bit more selfish and stop looking for Messi all the time. But if became more selfish, he'd no longer be the Pedro Barcelona supporters know and love.
Pedro is the definition of the anti-Galatico. He stays away form the limelight and just does his business quietly yet brilliantly. Some ill-informed people even believe that the possible arrivals of Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez mean that Pedro is expendable. But Pep Guardiola knows better, just like he did when he benched Thierry Henry and made Pedro a permanent starter.
He's become a key member in Barcelona's system. He works harder than anyone else on the pitch, and he delivers when push comes to shove. At only 23 and already one of the game's best forwards, the world hasn't been nothing of Pedro yet. The boy from Tenerife looks set to be one of the world's best player for many years to come.
Guardiola knows the diamond he has at his disposal. The rest of the football world keeps underrating him, but it's when he's ignored that Pedrito is at his most dangerous.
Maybe after a third stellar season at Barcelona, just maybe, everyone will finally know who Pedro is.
You can follow me on Twitter @Manueltraquete.
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