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January Break Report: Pedro Rodriguez

With some time still until La Liga action is finally back underway, we continue to look at the players' performance. How did the man from the Canary Islands do so far?

David Ramos

Pedro Rodriguez is a big-game player. The winger, known simply as Pedro or Pedrito, was the first player to score in six different competitions. His scoring rate in finals is great - his first senior goal was in the Spanish Supercup, followed by an extra-time winner in the UEFA Super Cup.

He equalized in the 89th minute in the Club World Cup final and scored in his first league Clasico as well. He put in one of the five goals in Barca's famous 5-0 victory over Real Madrid. He opened the scoring with a clinical finish in the 2011Champions League final. Last season, he scored in a Clasico and notched a brace in the Copa del Rey Final victory.

So maybe, just maybe, the fact that he only has two goals in the season is because of a lack of big games. Let's not forget that one of his two goals was to equalize against Real.

But the less charitable view is that Pedro, despite being known as a clinical finisher, is going through a pretty strange and somewhat long patch of irregular form.

However, it's incorrect to say that Pedro has been bad this season. With 8 assists, he is tied for third on the team with Lionel Messi. He helps the defense by starting the press from the front and tracking back to defend the flanks.

He gives the ball away more than the average player - third in turnovers and fourth in times dispossessed per game - but that's fine given that he is a forward.

Although that would be easier to justify if he was scoring more. There is just no getting away from the fact that Pedrito should be putting away more goals, especially considering he is third on the team in shots per game.

The Canarian was named one of the top 100 footballers in the world by the Guardian. He's started and won a World Cup final. And recently, he's recorded his first international hat trick for Spain.

At 25 years old, he really should be entering his prime. But in many ways he hasn't hit his stride yet. Will the rest of the season mark an improvement? Will he be crucial in big games, yet again? And will he rise to the occasion for all the rest?

Lowest point:

It's hard to point to an individual mistake, rather, there are games where Pedro has been strangely invisible. The 2-0 win away at Benfica is a good example. He missed chances, didn't build attacks, got yellow carded, and subbed out. He was indecisive coming on as a sub against Deportivo in the league.

At times, he's just been off. In the thriller against Betis he was not himself, to provide another example.

Highest point:

But at times he's been the Pedro we all want him to be.

His crucial equalizer against Real Madrid is his most significant moment, though to be honest, it is dampened by the fact that he was slightly offside.

His best game might have been the league opener against Real Sociedad, in which he tallied a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win.

The assist was not anything out of this world, it was mostly Messi's work of brilliance, although Pedrito deserves credit for controlling the ball and passing it off. The goal was a poacher's score, but it was clinical and timely, two elements that have been missing from his game during some periods of time.

He also was decisive in other games where he tallied an assist, including against Celta Vigo in La Liga and against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League.

The only trouble is consistency.

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