The fall of Pedro: How Chelsea's most decorated player went from Barca favourite to struggling against Hull

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The year is 2010. Pep Guardiola is sitting in the Santiago Bernabeu, fed up of people ignoring the talent of a vital cog in his Barca machine. 

“Pedro has become vital for us, absolutely fundamental. He is a role model, a great. He always exceeds expectations.”

At Barcelona, Pedro was regarded as a 'killer' in the box. An unsung hero. 

He won 20 trophies there, 14 of those under Pep – indeed, a Champions League opener against Manchester United in 2011 permanently etched him into the history of the club.

Against Hull City on Saturday, though, we saw a snapshot of where the man Guardiola once regarded as deadly as Lionel Messi in the penalty area is in his storied career.

In early 2020, Chelsea's most decorated but increasingly bit-part Spaniard travelled to the mid-table Championship side in the FA Cup and struggled. In the first half, his movement was laboured despite the Blues' domination. A sign of a lack of first-team minutes no doubt.

In the second half, he put the Frank Lampard's side under pressure by losing the ball close to his own goal, leading to a chance for Hull. The visitors grew in confidence though, and Chelsea were hanging on in a game that they almost certainly should have won more comfortably.

Hull were the better side in the second half, but the two best chances in the latter stages fortuitously fell to Pedro. Alas, he squandered them. Sad to say, it wasn't a great watch for a player who was lining up alongside Messi and Andres Iniesta six years ago.

Pep Guardiola on Pedro GFX

Pedro, a man Chelsea fended off Man Utd to sign in 2015, is watching his time at Stamford Bridge come to an end.

Spain's world and European champion began as a starter under Lampard after he produced a fine pre-season in Willian's absence, the Brazilian having been on a victorious Copa America trip with Brazil last summer.

And under Antonio Conte in London, Pedro shone, the Italian's methods perfectly suited to his talents. Then there was Maurizio Sarri, who also found the Canary Islander to be a sound operator in his strictly-planned set-up.

Coming back to this campaign, a few early-season setbacks and a couple of small injuries saw him lose his place to Chelsea's youth, with Willian also settling back in. Add to that Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount renewing their contracts and Lampard's deck starts to look stacked against the 32-year-old.

But while Christian Pulisic poses yet another issue and Pedro appears open to leaving, Lampard denies the winger could be sold despite interest from Major League Soccer.

Pedro, Chelsea training

“He is part of my plans,” the manager said recently. “I started the season and he was in my team, and then, unfortunately, he got injured at Norwich before the game and I had to make a change. Then he was out for a while, and I do have competition in that area.”

“He has had bits here and there, I know he wants more games, I get that. But he certainly has something that he can contribute here with his experience and his ability to break lines and run behind people and maybe get those goals in and around the box.

“He's here, I know his contract is up at the end of the season but I am not even looking that far ahead. He's here, he's part of the squad and I need everybody because football can change very quickly. 

“There can be a period of games where you're on the bench, out of the squad, something changes and that's the moment that you have to come in and produce.

“I have got no winners in this game, I want the club to be the winner. [If] people come in and do well, they stay in the team.”

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Pedro, presumably, will envy the situation of fellow forward Olivier Giroud, who has seen his talks with Inter progress well following the Serie A club tying up deals for Ashley Young and Victor Moses.

With eight starts and 12 appearances overall, the Stamford Bridge shadows is likely to be where the former Barca star remains in the short term.

Past the summer, however, one can hope that a transfer to a side that can afford him a spot in the starting XI will reignite the Red Fury.