COMMENTARY | This is so good that I'm afraid to wake up. I cannot confirm -- nor infirm, for that matter -- that it is not just a rumor, perhaps started by Pedro himself or somebody close to him, but there are reports in the Spanish media that French champion Paris Saint-Germain is offering FC Barcelona 40 million euros to acquire the services of the Catalan forward.
What should Barça do?
Are you kidding me? Sell him. Sell before PSG owner Qatari Sheikh Nasser Al-Khelaïfi comes back to his senses. If it's true, quickly give Pedrito a handshake, a medal and a watch, and ship him first class to the City of Lights.
If Pedro Rodriguez is worth 40 million, and we're not talking pesetas, then Gareth Bale is worth 100 million. The soccer market doesn't make sense and, as Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has put it, Bale's price "shows lack of respect" for the world's problems. If Pedro is worth 40 million, Lionel Messi is worth half of Banco Santander's assets.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Pedro. Well, I do, but not because of him. I'm sure he's a decent fellow, an honest citizen, a good teammate. Never heard of him speaking a bad word about anybody. And never heard anybody say a bad word about Pedro -- as a person. He's a sympathetic figure with a matinée smile and impeccable coiffure, and he looks a bit like the Barber of Seville himself, always happy for no apparent reason.
As a soccer player, well, we need to talk. To put it nicely, I would say that no football player has ever achieved so much with so little talent. His game has been described as the out-of-control inefficient frenzy of a headless chicken. He can't go past a blind defender in one-on-one situations. He can't dribble his shadow.
Well, you say, but he has scored a bunch of goals, more than anybody at Barça, except Messi, since the little dictator ran Eto'o and Ibrahimović out of town. How come? It's simple. It's the laws of physics in action.
If you hit an object, let's say a telegraph pole, or Pedro, with the ball, and if the ball rotates a certain way, the ball will bounce back in a certain direction -- let's say toward the goal. This is what happens if you're Pedro and you play with the likes of Messi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Xavi. If you don't believe this explanation, ask YouTube for a highlight of Pedrito's goals and see how many came in situations in which he was alone with the goalkeeper or alone in front of the goal.
The above analysis is much kinder to Pedro than what Barcelona fans think right now. They want him out of town, even without compensation, and are ready to pass the hat for a one-way plane ticket. They can't believe that Barcelona parted ways, kind of rudely, with Abidal and sold Villa, the Spanish national team's all-time leading scorer, for a mere 5 million to Atletico Madrid and Thiago Alcantara for 19 million to Bayern Munich. To most Barça fans, selling Pedro for 40 million euros would be the club's wisest financial transaction ever, up there with Carles Rexach signing little Messi on a restaurant napkin.
The latent resentment against Pedro has exploded this season because new coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino has started him in all the official games while keeping Brazilian marvel Neymar on the bench. Barcelona paid 57 million euros (or more?) for Neymar, but Martino keeps him where Pedro belongs, breaking Junior in gingerly, like he's a baby learning to walk.
Wrong, Tata, we don't buy this. Neymar, though young, is an experienced professional player, a true superstar who led Brazil to the Confederations Cup a few weeks back and was named the tournament MVP. When Pedro plays and Neymar sits something is wrong. This is a soccer impiety. In a fair soccer world, Pedro would carry Neymar's boots, buy him lunch and cut his hair. For free.
So even if this turns out to be just a rumor, try to see if anybody is willing to pay anything for Pedro and, if so, take it. If there's no buyer keep him on the bench and play Tello when Neymar wants or needs a break. Pedro won't mind. He would be happy to get a jersey and watch the game for free.
Vladimir Moraru played soccer for 15 years and has watched it for 60. Lionel Messi is the best player and FC Barcelona the best team he has ever seen.
- Sports & Recreation
- FC Barcelona
- Lionel Messi
- Pedro Rodriguez