Sunday 11 December 2016

Pedro reveals Manchester United were not the only Premier League team he turned down

Jeremy Wilson

Published 24/08/2015 | 22:01

Barcelona's former forward Pedro Rodriguez sits during a farewell press conference for his departure from the club to English football team Chelsea at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona on August 24, 2015
Barcelona's former forward Pedro Rodriguez sits during a farewell press conference for his departure from the club to English football team Chelsea at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona on August 24, 2015

Pedro has claimed that he turned down offers from Manchester City as well as Manchester United to join Chelsea and confirmed that a combination of Jose Mourinho, Cesc Fabregas and the London location of the Premier League champions were pivotal to his decision.

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Speaking yesterday in front of media and former teammates in Barcelona, including Lionel Messi, Pedro also acknowledged that he hoped never to leave Spain but that his recent lack of playing time persuaded him to search a new challenge.

Manchester United had also been in negotiations with Barcelona for Pedro but it was Chelsea who moved most decisively, with Mourinho and Fabregas helping personally to persuade Pedro while club director Marina Granovskaia negotiated a £21.1million deal with Barcelona.

"I had offers from other English clubs - Manchester United, City and Chelsea, who were the club that more rapidly resolved my transfer and the one that showed more interest in me," he said.

"I'm very happy to be at Chelsea because it's a club that, like Barca, are fighting for titles. But I haven't gone to Chelsea just to work under (manager Jose) Mourinho, but also because London attracts me as a city and I have friends at Chelsea. I've had an incredible reception at Chelsea."

Pedro scored one and created another on his Chelsea debut in Sunday's 3-2 win against West Bromwich Albion but said it was a risk to leave Barcelona, a club he first joined as a 17-year-old and where, in winning 20 trophies, he was part of arguably the greatest team in football history.

Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Pedro (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Chelsea's Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (2nd R) and Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns
Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Pedro (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Chelsea's Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (2nd R) and Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns

“I take with me those times of euphoria and happiness,” he said. “I don't think Barca will miss me because they have plenty of quality players, but I will sure miss them, the players and the club. Of course I would have liked to have stayed at Barca and retire here.

"But I've taken a gamble because it's what I wanted. I wasn't going to stay here just to appear on the photo.”

Pedro actually extended his contract with Barcelona earlier in the summer, agreeing a new deal until June 2019 after scoring 16 goals and providing nine assists last season, but it soon became clear that Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar would remain the preferred attacking three of manager Luis Enrique.

"I was really happy when I signed that contract but then I saw that my situation would not change," said Pedro. "This offer arrived and it gave me everything I needed to take a decision. I wanted to leave to have more playing time."

As two of the top seeded teams, Chelsea and Barcelona cannot be paired in Thursday’s draw for the group phase of the Champions League. Pedro also hopes that their European rivalry will not be renewed in the knockout phase.

"I just hope I don't have to face Barca or step out at the Nou Camp wearing another jersey," he said. "It would be difficult, I wouldn't like it."

Telegraph.co.uk

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