Last year, Real Madrid sold Álvaro Morata, a young, not yet developed forward, to Juventus for £16 million. Being a bit part player during last season’s decima, Morata was shipped off because he was unable to crack into the first team. As insurance, Real included a buyback option in the transfer contract; £22 million after the first year, £26 million after the second. Real was probably expecting Morata to grow as a player at Juve. They would then buy him back at a lower market cost when he would be ready to make an impact at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Football is a funny sport. As the footballing world watched the second-leg of the Champion’s League semifinal in Madrid, nobody could have anticipated such a dramatic finish. Juve were heavy underdogs, even though they were coming into the match with a one-goal lead on aggregate. After Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty goal in the 23rd minute, Juve’s chances seemed to slip from their tight grip. Not even Hollywood could have scripted the events that were about to occur. Álvaro Morata, the boy from Madrid, raised at the Madrid Castilla, abandoned by the club that he adored, would end up breaking Madridista’s hearts. In the 57th minute, Morata took control of a Paul Pogba header at the center circle of the penalty box and thundered a powerful shot into the ground, too hot to handle for Iker Casillas, which wound up in back of the net. Juve were able to hold on for the remaining half hour of the game, Morata the hero, as his aggregate-winning goal booked Juve’s spot in the Champions League final in Berlin.
Dramatic events, such as this, are one of the many reasons why we love this sport. What makes it so much more enjoyable for Barca fans is the fact that it happened to our most hated rivals. So as we celebrate another terrible season for the capital club, let us take heed that we do not get too arrogant. After all, "those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."
You may be wondering what does George Santayana’s famous quote have to do with Álvaro Morata’s heroics and Barcelona’s future? I’ll answer that shortly.
This season has seen the emergence of the prolific MSN strike force. Having already broken Barcelona’s scoring record for a front three in their first season, Barcelona’s forward line is stronger than ever. Although this is great for the team and for its fans, we seem to have left behind one very talented player. And he may move on to better things.
Pedro has scored 58 goals in 202 appearances for the Blaugrana since joining the first team in 2008. He was an important player for Barca, playing on the wing in two very successful forward trios (Messi, Pedro, Villa; Messi, Pedro, Sanchez). Pedro was a part of a Barca dynasty that won many domestic, continental, and international trophies. He has had a good season so far, scoring 6 goals in 33 La Liga appearances, yet he is the forgotten man, stuck in MSN’s shadow.
At 27, Pedro is in the prime of his career. A talented player like himself, who has won many domestic and international trophies, should not be warming the bench for his teammates. A player of Pedro’s qualities can easily slot into a starting elevenn for many top clubs across Europe. He is being courted by top clubs such Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United, as well as Paris-St. Germain, Juventus, and many more who would love to have him on their team sheet every week. Pedro has done so much for the club with whom he grew up; Barcelona should allow him leave if he wishes to.
It would be foolish for Barca to sell Pedro to a domestic rival, say Atletico, where he would fit in perfectly with coach Diego Simeone’s fast-paced and hard working system. It seems natural that Pedro would not settle for anything less than a team with Champions League aspirations, therefore another European superpower seems to be his most likely destination. Personally, I can see him fitting in well with Manchester City, playing alongside Sergio Agüero, former teammate Yaya Touré (if he is still at the club next season), and fellow Spaniards David Silva and Jesús Navas. He would be evermore willing to join the blue side of Manchester if rumors of Pep Guardiola’s pre-contract with the club turn out to be a reality. Arsenal also has several Spanish players, as well as former Barca teammate Alexis Sánchez. Pedro would fit in well with their quick-passing, stylish, attacking manner. PSG are always looking for star power to help them grow, and Pedro could be the missing piece to complement former teammate Zlatan Ibrahimović in the Parisien attack.
The world is Pedro’s oyster. A player in high demand, Barca will be looking for a nice return on his sale, if he indeed does decide to leave the Camp Nou this summer. Many top teams will be jockeying for his signature and hoping that he can bring experience and success to their club. Barca fans will be thankful for his service and will wish him the best. Yet, they will pray that selling Pedro to a competitor will not come back to haunt them in the Champions League, as we witnessed yesterday with Álvaro Morata’s knockout blow to Real’s undecima aspirations. Though he did not celebrate either of his two goals against his former team, one can only imagine the pleasure of getting back at those who did not believe in him. Hopefully Pedro won’t get that same opportunity in the near future.