At a Barcelona team steadily building their roster with superstars, eventually, there would be no space for Pedro Rodriguez. The diminutive winger had suitors at hand with Chelsea hiring his services in 2015.
Despite being the lesser known forward at Barcelona, who boast the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Pedro came to London with a great deal of experience. A winner of five La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys, three Champions League and a European Championship and World Cup win with the Spanish national team, Pedro certainly was a player of calibre.
The first season at Stamford Bridge was overall a forgettable experience for all at Chelsea. A year later, the Blues are on the verge of yet another Premier League title. And Pedro has made his mark.
On the home stretch now, only the Sunday tie against Everton was expected to be a roadblock for the Blues in the five games remaining. With Tottenham Hotspur following closely four points behind, a win at Goodison Park was required.
But it wouldn’t be easy. After all, Everton had won eight consecutive league games at home, scoring 29 goals in the process. At Goodison Park, they have lost just once in the Premier League this season. And they started off their hosting of Chelsea on a strong note, matching the potential champions blow for blow to end an entertaining first-half goalless.
In the 66th minute, Pedro put Chelsea in the lead with what the commentator described ‘a bolt for the Blues.’
Pedro is one of the few really good two-footed players in the sport today. Placed outside the box, Nemanja Matic slid the ball down to the Spaniard and darted off looking for the follow-up pass. Instead, Pedro’s first touch turned the ball to bring it to his right.
The options looked limited, as his teammates were marked and there was no clear shot at goal. Quickly, he brought the ball onto his left, drawing out a challenge from Phil Jagielka, one of Premier League’s more established defenders.
But from 25 yards out, the 29-year-old got his left-footed shot away. Struck hard through the laces, the stinger flew towards the target, beat the diving Maarten Stekelenburg in the Everton goal, and powerfully struck the top right corner of the net.
The screamer from Pedro gave Chelsea the lead, and the confidence.
The potential champions suddenly got the upper-hand in a game that remained a close affair. And though Chelsea eventually ran away as 3-0 winners, possession at the end was 50-50.