Pedro: Happy hundred

Pedro recently reached the notable landmark of 100 Chelsea appearances, and on the eve of a European encounter against a team from his homeland, we discussed that feat with the Spanish winger…

It is over two years now since Pedro took the big and brave step to leave the club he had spent his entire professional career at, and enjoyed so much success with, Barcelona, to challenge himself further by playing abroad.

We were the beneficiaries of that decision. Pedro’s first season at Stamford Bridge was by no means plain sailing for him or the team, but last year he was one of the star performers as we won the league in spectacular fashion. At Anfield last month he brought up his century of Chelsea performances, so this feels as good a time as any to reflect.

‘It’s a great honour for me to get to 100 games with Chelsea,’ Pedro smiles. ‘I hope to play many more games here.

‘Looking back, when I knew Chelsea were interested it was good news for me because Chelsea is a very big club, one of the biggest in the world, and the best for me in England. It was an opportunity for me to come here and face a good challenge.

‘When I arrived I lived a difficult situation, a strange situation. It’s very difficult to adapt, to know your new team-mates, but now I am happy here with the club, with my team-mates, with the supporters, with the coach – it’s all good.

‘I am happy I took this decision, and happy I have grown as a player here, and also in a new country and with a new experience for me.’

So how does the football in England compare to what he experienced during his trophy-laden time in Catalonia?

‘It’s very different! On the pitch, the characteristics here are more about strength and physique. In Spain it is more tactical and about what you do with the ball, but here it is very quick, and for this reason it’s probably the best league in the world.

‘It’s very difficult to win every game, and always to win the title is very difficult. There are probably six or seven teams who fight for the title, and this is another difference compared to Spain.’

When it comes to personal highlights from his time in London, Pedro picks out two good and very important goals he scored last season, at home to Tottenham and away at Everton, the latter an especially crucial strike in the title run-in. 

The day we clinched the league at West Brom remains his ‘best moment’, unsurprisingly. Our first-place finish also brought with it a return to the club of Champions League football. Tonight we have a chance to secure top spot in Group C with victory over Atletico Madrid, a regular foe of Pedro’s earlier in his career.

‘For us it’s very important, because it’s not the same to finish top of the group as it is to finish second, because you can play the second game at home and that’s very good in the Champions League.

‘Atletico Madrid are a strong team, very compact, and it’s difficult to score goals against them. They have very good players going forward as well.

‘We want to advance as far as possible,’ adds Pedro, who has been triumphant in the competition three times.

‘With our weapons it’s possible for us to win the Champions League because we have a very strong team, so let’s see. There are the best teams in Europe - Barcelona, Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG are very strong this year – so it won’t be easy, but anything can happen.’