Pedro’s five-year Chelsea career is now at an end, and here we pay tribute to the most decorated player to have ever represented the Blues…
Arriving from Barcelona in the summer of 2015 with a wealth of experience to his name, and numerous trophies won on the domestic and international stage, Pedro wasted no time in making an impression.
Pedro’s Chelsea debut
A sodden Hawthorns was the venue for his debut, and within half-an-hour he had netted his first Chelsea goal and set up another, for Diego Costa, as we eventually ran out 3-2 winners.
Indeed, opening the scoring became a trademark of Pedro’s. Of his 29 goals for us in the Premier League, just under half (13) were the first of the game. It was a happy knack that pointed to his sharpness in front of goal and his instinct for the big occasion
Pedro finished his first season in west London with 40 appearances and eight goals to his name. It was an underwhelming campaign for the team, but the diminutive winger was one of our brighter performers as he quickly adapted to the rigours of English football, regularly showcasing his speed and skill. On the training ground and in matches Pedro was the consummate professional; away from the pitch a jovial character with a big grin and a relaxed nature, all attributes that made him popular with players, management and staff alike.
Pedro the Premier League winner
His second season was his best in a Chelsea shirt. He featured in all but three of our Premier League games as we charged to the title in spectacular fashion, with Pedro a regular starter alongside Eden Hazard and Diego Costa in attack. He scored at crucial times in important home victories over Manchester United and Tottenham during our memorable 13-game winning run. The second of those strikes earned him the Premier League Goal of the Month award.
As we kept up the pace at the top of the table, Pedro continued scoring and assisting. One curled strike from outside the area against Swansea turned a tight contest in our favour, and made it eight goals in 11 games for the in-form wide man, who on occasion was utilised at wing-back.
Pedro was virtually ever-present in the run-in, and his final major contribution was a stunning strike at Goodison Park that moved us in sight of the title. It won him yet another Premier League Goal of the Month award.
Pedro had also more than played his part in our FA Cup journey, scoring in three consecutive rounds in wins against Peterborough, Brentford and Wolves. Defeat to Arsenal in the Wembley final meant he would have to wait to add that particular winners’ medal to his collection.
Pedro finished 2016/17 with 33 starts, 10 sub appearances, 13 goals and 12 assists to his name.
He featured more often off the bench the next season as the formation increasingly shifted away from 3-4-3, but he still made 28 starts including four in the Champions League. It was a competition he had already won three times at Barcelona, and it was his former club who knocked us out in the last 16. He received an amazing reception on his first return to the Nou Camp.
For the second year in a row, we reached the FA Cup final, this time with a happier ending. Though an unused sub on the day as Manchester United were beaten, Pedro had made a vital contribution in the quarter-final with an extra-time winner away to Leicester.
Europa League glory for Pedro
2018/19 will be best remembered for our Europa League triumph. It was Pedro’s first taste of the tournament, and his performances were such he was voted into the Europa League squad of the season.
He featured in 14 of our 15 games, scoring five goals including a sweet second of the game for Chelsea in the final against Arsenal in Baku. A typically precise finish, it was guided into the corner on his left foot, just as his equaliser against Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final had been. Indeed, of his 43 Chelsea goals, Pedro scored more on his supposedly weaker foot (21 to 18), testament to his all-round ability and deftness of touch.
Earlier in the season, Pedro marked his 150th Chelsea appearance with the opening goal in a 2-0 win against Fulham at the Bridge. Our next London visitors three months later were Tottenham, and Pedro’s silky opener on that occasion played a crucial part in our eventual top-four finish following a wobbly period for the team.
Pedro started this season in the team under Frank Lampard, but featured less frequently than in previous campaigns with injury and illness an issue. He scored a penalty against Grimsby back in September on a night he captained Chelsea for the first time, and prior to lockdown played his 200th game for us in a fine FA Cup victory over Liverpool. He followed that up with an assist and well-taken goal in a big win over Everton.
‘He’s been an incredible servant,’ Lampard said after Pedro’s last game in a Chelsea shirt, when injury forced him off late on in the FA Cup final.
‘The impact he has had here has been huge. I want to make a big thank you to Peds and wish him well.’
In recent years we have been fortunate to benefit from Pedro’s footballing brain and almost unmatched pedigree for success in the game, which has helped rub off on some of the younger, less experienced players around him.
Pedro’s Chelsea statistics
It was rare for any game to pass Pedro by, and in his 206 appearances for us he scored 43 goals and provided 28 assists. So many of those came at significant moments; plenty were of elite quality.
In his first interview with this website upon signing in August 2015, Pedro said he wanted to test himself in a new league after so many successful years at Barcelona, and ‘help Chelsea win titles’. They were challenges he emphatically met during five years of loyal service for which everyone at Chelsea is thankful.
Good luck Pedro!