You Can’t Go Home Again – Why Barcelona Should Not Bring Back Pedro

 

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Pedro during a game for Barcelona

Pedro Rodriguez stated in a recent interview that he would not turn down the opportunity to return to Barcelona should the chance be given. The man of whom who Pep Guardiola once stated “If Pedro was Brazilian he’d be called Pedrinho,and we wouldn’t have the money to sign him.” seems to be looking wistfully towards the club of his life for a return. In an interview on June 16, 2016 Pedro indicated a desire to return:

“I hope so,” Pedro told beIN Sports when asked if he would like to go back to Barcelona.

“I know it is difficult. I spoke with the president [Josep Maria Bartomeu] when we saw each other at the Copa del Rey final and I also spoke with all my friends there.

“It is complicated, but I have always said that I would have liked to retire at Barça. I know it is difficult as the years go by and Barca have the best players in the world. It is a very demanding club. To return is difficult, but I would not rule it out.

“I spent 11 or 12 years in Barcelona, my family is from there and also many friends.

“The fans loved me a lot, I felt very valued by the club, and it is always difficult to leave the club of your dreams. In the end I had to take the decision as I could see that my chances were running out.”

In an interview a couple days later on June 20, 2016 he followed up stating:

“If you ask me if I’d go back, the answer is clear because they’re a great club with great players and fans who appreciate me,” the Spain attacker told RAC1. “I’ve always said that I’d like to retire at Barca, but I know it’s very difficult, almost impossible.

“Admittedly it seemed like I was going back this summer, but I have a contract with Chelsea, I’ve only been there for a year and it’d be very difficult for [a return] to happen.”

Asked why he spoke to Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu during last month’s Copa del Rey final, Pedro replied: “We talked about the team, not me. When I left, he told me that the doors of the club would always be open, and I said that was very important for me because [Barca] are a club that I can feel. It’s where I grew up and was happy.”

Pedro has grown up at Barcelona in front of many of our very own eyes. He has been there to witness some of the biggest moments in the clubs history during his time with the first team and has managed to score against some of the biggest clubs on the very biggest stages. He is a World Cup winner, a European champion and still in his prime. So should Barca make a move to bring back Pedro? He knows the system, he is admittedly humble and he always seems to have a knack to turn up with crucial goals in big games. Here are five reasons he should not:

1. Pedrito Became Pedro

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Pedrito during a pre-season friendly in 2008

When he first joined the first team on a full time basis during the 2009 – 2010 Pedro was known as Pedrito. During his first two seasons he scored 23 goals and 22 goals including memorable efforts against Real Madrid, Internazionale, Manchester UnitedShakhtar Donetsk and Estudiantes. However as time passed the timely interventions dried up and despite putting the likes of Henry, Ibrahimovic, Bojan and Villa out to pasture, Pedrito found himself constantly have to prove himself with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Neymar and Luis Suarez being bought in. The goals that once flowed freely against big teams no longer came as playing time became limited and Pedrito the man who was once described as having a flower in his bum by Victor Valdes (Rectal foliage is a Spanish way of saying he’s lucky) became Pedro. Since 2011 he has crossed 13 goals in a season just once and never scored 20 goals in a season again. At 28 he doesn’t seem likely to rediscover the scoring touch that once made him so deadly and what’s more his best goal scoring form seems to be when he starts and gets ample playing time as opposed to coming off the bench as would be required.

Season Games Goals
2007/2008 2 0
2008/2009 14 0
2009/2010 52 23
2010/2011 52 22
2011/2012 48 13
2012/2013 45 10
2013/2014 54 19
2014/2015 50 11
2015/2016 41 9

Table1: Pedro’s Career Games and Goals

2. Munir Deserves His Chance

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Munir el Haddadi during a game for Barcelona

Munir el Haddadi has been one of the brightest prospects in the Barcelona youth system since he did this in the Youth Champions League final in 2014. After a rocky start to life with the first team where he struggled to score and even looked a bit lost, Munir has adapted well this season even finishing joint top scorer in the copa del rey and finishing the season with a creditable 9 goals in 42 games including this crucial strike away to Malaga with Neymar unavailable. Munir continues to grow and should be given the opportunity to back up “MSN” as he has been patient and waited his turn patiently. At age 21 this may be the season where he really explodes. Having Pedro back may block his development.

3. Nothing Has Changed

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Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi celebrate a Barcelona goal

At the center of Pedro’s decision to leave Barcelona was his frustration at the lack of playing time. Since he has left Messi, Neymar and Suarez have continued on their merry way banging in the goals for fun. Should he return he would return to much the same situation that he left. He would undoubtedly not be able to force his way into the first team ahead of the greatest attacking trident ever seen in the club’s history and he certainly would not be satisfied playing 15-20 minutes off the bench for most of the season. A younger player like Munir or an older player in the Henrik Larsson role would be more suited to backing up MSN. Given his latest outburst during the European Championships with the Spanish National team where Pedro declared:

“It is difficult for me to play this role [as a substitute], and if there is no continuity it is not worth me turning up just to be part of the group”

it is hard to see how he would accept the same role at Barcelona.

4. He would Not Come Cheap

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Pedro during the 2015/2016 season at Chelsea

Chelsea paid 30 million euros for Pedro just a season ago. Despite his struggles with form he remains in the Spanish National team and a highly rated forward in Europe. It’s hard to envision Chelsea allowing him to return to Barcelona on the cheap just a year after splashing that type of cash on him. They would most likely want to recover a high percentage if not all of the funds spent to conduct their own squad overhaul under new coach Antonio Conte. Given Barcelona’s other squad needs (signing a new right back and centre back and possibly a backup left back) it is difficult to justify that sort of outlay on a player who forced his way out of the club 12 months ago.

5. You Can’t Go Home Again

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Pedro during a Barcelona press conferece

Barcelona’s track record with paying big money for youth team products has not worked out well recently. Cesc Fabregas was repurchased from Arsenal for 35 million pounds in 2011 and despite some success, he never really fit in before forcing a move to Chelsea for 30 million pounds in 2014. Current Barcelona B Manager Gerard Lopez left the club for Valencia in 1997 becoming one of the finest midfielders in Spain and helping Los Che reach the Champions League final in 2000 before rejoining Barcelona for 22 million euros.He spent five injury plagued seasons playing just 91 games before leaving for Monaco on a free transfer in 2005. More recently at the start of last season Aleix Vidal was purchased for 18 million euros from Sevilla having left Barcelona in 2002. He fell out of favor with the coach and played in just 9 La Liga games and no Champions League games and has been linked with a move to AC Milan. Perhaps the most successful big money return to the club has been Jordi Alba who rejoined Barcelona for 14 million euros from Valencia in 2012 having left the club in 2005. The history of players rejoining Barcelona has not gone well and the club should take note. A return for Pedro will probably end the same way. Sadly for the man from canary islands is true: You can’t go home again.

 

 

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