Pedro says the pain ‘horrible’ Chelsea inflicted on him when he was at Barcelona has stayed with him. The Spain international has been a Blue for nearly three years now, but says he is still sad at losing to the Premier League side when he was a Barcelona player. The match he refers to is the 2012 semi-final meeting between the sides when Chelsea produced an incredible defensive performance before a late Fernando Torres goal saw them progress to the final.
‘This memory stays with me even now, a very sad day for me and my team-mates,’ said Pedro. ‘I remember a lot of things: when you control the game and score the first goal, but then Leo [Messi] missed a penalty and then Fernando scored with the game’s last touch to finish the tie… I remember it all because it was such a sad day for Barcelona and for all of us. ‘I remember these games so well. Chelsea were always horrible opponents, very difficult in these games: compact, strong in defence, pressed very well. For that reason, we always found it difficult against them. For the players of Barcelona, they’ll be thinking this tie is going to be very tough, this game for them, because Chelsea are strong. Chelsea are compact, and it’s never easy to play against us.’
Chelsea have an excellent record against Barcelona in recent years and Pedro will hope to benefit from that now he’s on the other side of the fence. ‘The reality is it’s not impossible for us [to advance to the quarter-finals],’ he said. ‘It’s possible for us to beat Barcelona and go through into the next round. It’s difficult because they’re a very great, big team, but it’s not impossible.’
Despite his continued affection for Barcelona, Pedro insists he will have no split loyalties when the sides meet in the Round of 16, starting tonight at Stamford Bridge. ‘It was an incredible time with a special team,’ Pedro said of his time at Barcelona which yielded 20 major trophies. ‘They’re one of the biggest teams in the world. It’s easier to win titles there, probably, than over here because they have very good players like Leo Messi and others, the best players in the world. For this reason, I’m very happy to have played my part and to have won those titles with them. ‘Now it’s different. Now I am here, at Chelsea, and defend the badge on this shirt, the Chelsea shirt, with great honour and pride. I hope to win this game and go through in this tie.’