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Pedro Rodriguez


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Pedro Eliezer Rodríguez Ledesma (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpeðɾo roˈðɾiɣeθ leˈðezma]; born 28 July 1987), commonly known as Pedro or Pedrito, is a Spanish footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team.

Naturally right-footed, he plays as either a forward or winger, the ambidextrous nature of his game meaning he can play on either side of the pitch. He is excellent at finding the right position and has a powerful shot, most notably from long range.[1]

Club career

[edit] Early years

Born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Pedro joined FC Barcelona's youth system at the age of 17, having arrived from local side CD San Isidro.[2]

[edit] Barcelona

Pedro was a key player for Barça's reserve team, as it achieved promotion from Tercera División, making 37 appearances and scoring seven goals.[2] On 12 January 2008, he made his debuts for the first team, playing one minute in a 4–0 home win against Real Murcia, but would only amass seven more in his first two seasons combined.

Pedro was a part of the first team's 2008–09 pre-season, and showed early promise, scoring against Hibernian and the New York Red Bulls respectively.[3][4] On August 13, he started – later being substituted by Yaya Touré – in a 4–0 win against Polish side Wisła Kraków, for the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.[5] His first match on the group stage of that competition was on 16 September, when he replaced Thierry Henry in a 3–1 home win over Sporting Clube de Portugal.[6]

In Barcelona's treble-winning season in 2008–09, Pedro eventually totalled 14 matches, also appearing in La Liga against Getafe CF (1–1 home draw),[7] Valencia CF (4–0 home triumph),[8] Real Valladolid (1–0 away win),[9] CA Osasuna (0–1 home loss, with Barcelona already crowned champions),[10] totalling 365 minutes. In the season's Copa del Rey, he played against Benidorm CF[11] and Atlético Madrid, on both occasions for Lionel Messi.[12] In the Champions League final, he played the last minute, in the place of Andrés Iniesta.

Pedro (left) and Xavi, during the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup.

In 2009–10, manager Josep Guardiola confirmed that Pedro would be definitely promoted to Barcelona's first team, and he responded with a breakthrough season, during which he became the first player to score in six different club competitions during a single season.[13] On August 16, after assisting Xavi with the first goal, Pedro scored his first competitive goal for the first team in the 67th minute, helping to ensure a 2–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in San Mamés, for the season's domestic Supercup.[14] Later that week, he signed his professional contract, running until June 2014, with a buyout clause set at £60 million.[2] In the 2009 UEFA Super Cup against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, he came on as a substitute for Zlatan Ibrahimović in the 80th minute, and went on to score the 1–0 winner in extra time.[15]

On September 28, Pedro scored his first goal in the Champions League after replacing Iniesta at halftime in a 2–0 win against FC Dynamo Kyiv.[16] He continued his hot streak and scored his first league goal, against UD Almería, with a brilliant strike that sealed the 1–0 home triumph.[17] A month later, on October 28, he scored a brace in the first leg of the Spanish Cup Round-of-32 match at Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa, for a 2–0 win[18] (he also scored in the second leg, a 5–0 home rout).[19]

More and more established in Barcelona's starting lineups, Pedro went on to score another brace in the league, in a 4–2 win against RCD Mallorca.[20] He would continue his scoring touch in the Champions League, scoring one of two against F.C. Internazionale Milano.[21]

On December 16, Pedro scored a goal in the semi-final of the FIFA Club World Cup against Atlante FC, in 3–1 win. In doing so, he became the only player to score in six different club competitions in one season – the three domestic tournaments, the UEFA Champions League and Super Cup and the Club World Cup.[22] He was later named World Player of the Week by Goal.com after his performances against RCD Espanyol, Atlante and Estudiantes de La Plata of Argentina, respectively.[23]

In an emotional return to his hometown of CD Tenerife, on 10 January 2010, Pedro came on as a 76th-minute substitute, later helping to Ezequiel Luna's own goal in a 5–0 win; out of respect, he chose not to celebrate.[24] On April 10, he scored the second goal in a 2–0 win against Real Madrid, in his first appearance in El Clásico.[25]

On April 14, in a league match against Deportivo de La Coruña, opposing goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia attempted to clear the ball from the top of the 16-yard box, and instead kicked the ball right to Pedro, who shot at goal from 40 yards with his left foot and scored, giving Barça a 2–0 lead – eventually 3–0.[26] He also found the net in a 3–1 defeat in the first leg of Champions League semi-finals, against Inter at the San Siro.[27]

In the last three league matches, Pedro scored for Barcelona, with the Catalans eventually renewing their league supremacy: against Tenerife again (4–1 win),[28] the 3–2 winner at Sevilla FC[29] and against Valladolid (4–0).[30] He completed the 2009–10 season with 53 appearances in all competitions (31 starts) and 23 goals. On 9 June 2010, he signed a new five-year deal with Barcelona.[31]

Pedro begun the 2010–11 season firmly established in Barcelona's starting XI. On 29 November 2010, he scored the second goal in a 5–0 home win against Real Madrid, with Barça climbing to the first position in the league.[32]

[edit] International career

On 20 May 2010, Pedro was included by Vicente del Bosque in Spain's 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[33] On the 29th, he made his debut in a 3–2 friendly win against Saudi Arabia, and earned his second cap shortly after, as a 58th minute substitute in a 1–0 win against South Korea.

On 8 June 2010, in the last friendly prior to the finals in South Africa, with Poland, Pedro scored his first international goal, and also assisted Fernando Torres, in a 6–0 victory. In the final stages, he appeared in five matches (three as a late substitute): on July 7, in the semi-final against Germany, he started in place of Torres, who had been performing poorly in earlier matches. In the 82nd minute, with Spain leading 1–0, he attempted to score a goal himself rather than set up an unmarked Torres, although he performed well in the match.[34] Despite this error, he was selected to start in the final, with the national team winning 1–0 against the Netherlands; at the hour-mark, he was replaced by Jesús Navas.

[edit] International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition

1. 8 June 2010 Estadio Nueva Condomina, Murcia, Spain Poland 6–0 6–0 Friendly

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Pedro hails battling Bilbao

Barcelona winger Pedro Rodriguez praised the defensive work of Athletic Bilbao after a goalless draw in Copa del Rey.

The Basque outfit succeeded where so many have failed by nullifying Pep Guardiola's prolific side.

Pedro also conceded after the goalless draw that his side will not have it easy in the return leg at San Mames as they look for a place in the quarter-finals.

Barca went into the last-16 first leg at the Nou Camp having won their previous 10 competitive outings while averaging more than four goals per game.

However, the Catalan giants could not find the breakthrough despite dominating against a hard-working Athletic side and now have work to do in the return.

Pedro said: "They played a great game. They defended very well, very together.

"For the strikers we don't like these games because they close up shop at the back. It's a shame not to have got the victory."

Looking ahead to the return at 'La Catedral', which has not been an easy place to get anything from for visiting teams down the years, Pedro said: "They are very strong at home.

"We have to go to San Mames, a difficult ground, and we have to think of getting the victory that will put us through to the next round.

"We have to go there with a winning mentality and get a good result."

Midfielder Andres Iniesta added on his club's website: "We'll go there looking to play a good game while knowing that Athletic are a difficult opponent, especially at their ground.

"We had control of the game but they defended well. When a team tries their hardest to win and doesn't, that's football. We still have all the hope in the world of getting through to the next round."

Defender Dani Alves added: "There are days when the ball doesn't want to go in.

"(But) we still have the same chance of getting through the tie. We will have to make a great effort because it will be difficult there at San Mames."

Despite the draw, Barca have plenty of positives to reflect on as they go into the Christmas break.

The reigning Spanish champions are unbeaten in 23 matches, of which 19 have been won, while they boast a two-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the Primera Division.

Alves said: "We have finished the year in exceptional form. This result will not take away what we've done up until now. We ask that next year will be just as good."

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