MADRID, April 19 – Just two seasons ago Pedro Rodriguez was playing for the Barcelona B team in the third division – fast forward to 2010 and the 22-year-old winger is in Barcelona's first team and hss become the first player to score in six different club competitions in a single season.Pedro has nudged French great Thierry Henry out of the starting line-up starting both Champions League quarter-final legs against Arsenal and the 2-0 ‘El Clasico’ win over Real Madrid on April 10.
A Champions League semi-final against Inter Milan could be next with the winger, a product of the ‘cantera’ or youth system, in contention for a starting place for Tuesday’s first leg at the San Siro after scoring some big goals of late.
Pedro scored the second goal against Real in the Clasico win eight days ago and followed that up with a brilliant 40-yard strike in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna for his ninth league goal of the season.
"I already saw what he was capable of in the third division, but his progress is a surprise for everyone," admitted coach Pep Guardiola.
"I expect certain things of all players, but the fact is that he has scored 19 goals (in all competitions) and I am delighted for him.
"He is one of those extraordinary people and if you praise him in front of the rest of the squad he becomes embarrassed. He knows what his role is and he never forgets what he must do."
Pedro’s rise to stardom has been impressive when you consider that he was part of the Barca B team that won promotion from Spain’s third division in 2007/08.
Quick, genuinely two-footed and with an eye for goal Pedro came to the attention of Guardiola when he worked with Barca B and the prospect has been fast-tracked through to the first team.
Pedro, who says Brazilian star Rivaldo was his childhood idol, made his debut back on 12 January 2008 and his breakthrough game was the 1-0 Super Cup win over Shakhtar Donetsk in August 2009 when he came on as an 81st minute substitute to score the winner.
In Barcelona’s 2009/10 campaign Pedro made history by becoming the first player to score in six different competitions in a single season netting in the FIFA Club World Cup, Champions League, Super Cup, Spanish league, the Kings Cup and the Spanish Super Cup.
Pedro helped Barca win a unique league, Kings Cup and Champions League treble in 2009 with 14 appearances including one as a substitute in the 2-0 Champions League final win over Manchester United.
"I was thrilled when Guardiola let me play the last few minutes of the Champions League final," said Pedro. "I think it was his way of saying thank you for the hard work put in by all the youth-team players during the year.
"To play even a few minutes here is an absolute privilege and you have to take advantage of every moment."
However, this has been Pedro’s breakthrough season playing 45 games in the current campaign with a return of 19 goals to leave France’s 1998 World Cup winner Henry on the substitutes bench.