On the 12th of January 2008, a 21-year-old unassuming Spaniard stepped onto the pitch donning the Barcelona first team jersey for the first time. At first glance, not many would predict the heights that he would go to and the trophies that he would win, but win he did. Standing at a mere 5’5, the Spaniard reached heights that most footballers can only dream of. Now, 12 years after his debut, we tip our hat to one of the more underrated players of the game, Pedro Eliezer Rodríguez Ledesma.
7 years, 362 games, 99 goals, 62 assists and a huge number of trophies later, he decided to start a new chapter in his career. I mean 5 La Liga titles, 3 Copa Del Reys, 4 Supercopa trophies, 3 Champions Leagues, 3 Super Cups, 2 Club World Cups, the Euros as well as the World Cup is enough to satiate the appetite of even the most ambitious players. His new career brought him to the Premier League, as he signed for Chelsea in the 2015/16 season. He had an instant impact, scoring and assisting on his debut. 5 years later, the serial winner has added to his plethora of trophies, winning a Premier League, an FA Cup as well as a Europa League trophy. He played a key part in Chelsea’s Premier League win in 2017 and has scored many memorable goals along the way. His stunner against Everton, goals against Spurs, a great goal against Manchester United; the man just doesn’t miss. 5 years, 43 goals and 28 assists later, the man is moving to Roma to ply his trade in Italy.
The reason so many fans love Pedro is not because of an unbelievable goal return. The man has 242 goal contributions in 544 games. The fans love him because despite winning everything, Pedro plays with his heart on a sleeve. Always putting the team first, he plays like an academy player determined to prove himself and fight for his place on the team. While he may not always score, the one thing that is a given with Pedro, is passion and desire. He runs up and down the pitch, working hard on both ends. His unorthodox running and dribbling mixed with his high work-rates will be missed at the Bridge just like it is missed at the Camp Nou. He always gave his 100% for the batch and that is why fans love him. Add to that, a wicked finesse shot, good pace and plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and you’ve got a very good player indeed. I wish we could hear the ‘Oh Pedro Rodriguez’, chant at the Bridge one last time, but current circumstances forbid it.
So, here’s to the man who has won everything, from trophies for club and country to the hearts of fans all around the world, the man who won trophies for fun, here’s to Pedro Rodriguez, one of the game’s underrated greats.