By Harry Sherlock and Ben Hayward
Pedro may have been forced down the pecking order at Barcelona by the signing of Luis Suarez from Liverpool, but he turned in a performance of the highest quality against Belarus in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Saturday evening.
The 27-year-old created numerous opportunities against the European minnows in Murcia, scoring the third goal in a 3-0 win for Vicente Del Bosque's men.
Here, Goal assesses the finer points of his performance.
|PERFORMANCE AGAINST BELARUS|
Pedro turned in a superb performance against Belarus, capping off an excellent night’s work with a stunning goal as Spain ran out 3-0 winners in Murcia.
The Barcelona star has seen his playing time limited this season, but put forward a strong case for regular playing time with his display against the minnows, who are ranked 107th in the world.
It is not fair to tar Pedro’s performance with the fact that Belarus are ranked below St Vincent and Grenadines in the Fifa rankings, with his professional display an example to his team-mates. He consistently dropped off to receive the ball from his position as a striker, before bursting through the lines when Spain chose to break.
Though his early miss threatened to derail his evening – he sent the ball wide when one-on-one following a sumptuous Santi Cazorla pass – he recovered well, continuing to open his box of tricks to bamboozle the Belarusian backline.
His goal, a powerful, lashed effort that slammed into the roof of the net, was just reward for a fine performance which should also have included an assist – but Paco Alcacer could only head against the bar following his clipped ball into the box.
Though his performances for Barca have been patchy, he remains a key figure in Vicente Del Bosque’s squad.
|HIS SEASON SO FAR|
Pedro is still only 27 and should be approaching his peak, but has been below his best over the past two seasons for Barcelona.
The winger scored a fine goal for Spain on Saturday and has consistently performed better for his national side than the Catalan club in recent times.
One strike in 14 appearances for Barca this season is a poor return so far for a player who netted 19 in 54 last term and Pedro’s place in the side is now severely under threat following the return of Suarez from his biting ban.
The Uruguay striker has been a huge hit since finally making his Barca bow, despite his lack of a La Liga goal, and appears set to remain in the starting XI for the foreseeable future, his performances sure to reap a goal soon.
That means Pedro is set to return to the role of supersub for Barca, but it is one he has become accustomed to in recent seasons and with his son Bryan born only last year, he is in no hurry to leave the Catalan capital, despite his lack of playing time.
|WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?|
Despite his fine performance against Belarus, Pedro’s future remains a puzzling question.
The acquisition of Luis Suarez from Liverpool has pushed the 27-year-old down the pecking order at Camp Nou, with the former Liverpool striker now entrenched in the starting XI.
The Catalan club have an embarrassment of riches up front and it would appear that coach Luis Enrique intends to utilise a system that includes all of his world superstars; Neymar, Lionel Messi and Suarez. That has led to suggestions that Pedro may seek a January exit, with Arsenal heavily linked to a potential move.
With his direct running and deceptive strength Pedro would certainly suit Premier League football, though the Gunners are unlikely to be alone in chasing his signature.
With his ‘youngster’ status all but gone, Pedro must make a swift decision on his future and much will depend on his stomach for a fight in Catalonia.
It will not be easy to dislodge the aforementioned forward trio, but the star proved on Friday evening that he can mix it with the best. standing out as the finest La Roja player on the pitch, and he may yet prove his worth in the coming weeks and months at Camp Nou.
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