Free Press Journal

Coach Mourinho big factor in joining Chelsea: Pedro


London: Head coach Jose Mourinho was one of the biggest motivating factors to join English football champions Chelsea, the club’s new forward Pedro Rodriguez has said. Pedro switched from Spanish giants FC Barcelona for 30 million euros ($33.8 million) on Thursday and immediately trained with his new teammates. “He (Mourinho) is one of the main reasons why I’m here. He phoned me a few times and said he needed me to make the team stronger,” the Spanish international told on Thursday.

“He has won titles wherever he has been. I am really looking forward to playing under him and hopefully winning more titles,” he elaborated, heaping praise on the Portuguese coach. Pedro has accumulated three Champions Leagues and five La Liga titles for Barcelona, as well as being a world and European champion on the international stage for Spain.

He is a product of Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy and made his first-team debut in 2008 for the Spanish outfit. The 28-year-old also said that the presence of his compatriot Cesc Fabregas will make him feel “at home” in London.

“We are very good friends. I knew I would feel at home here and that was one of the main reasons why I decided to join. He’s a great player, he’s got brilliant vision and he links up really well with the other attacking players. I know we work well together on the pitch so I can’t wait to play with him again. I have also played with Diego Costa and Cesar Azpilicueta before, for the national team, so I feel very comfortable here,” added Pedro.

Talking about his first training session, the winger said he is ready to play. “It was very intense, very physical. I am ready to start playing straightaway if the manager selects me. I am in very good shape because I have already played for Barcelona this season,” he said.

Pedro was not happy at Barcelona as his spot in the starting line-up became irregular since Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez’s arrival at the catalan club last season. Barcelona coach Luis Enrique preferred three South American stars — Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez — in his attacking line ahead of the homegrown Pedro.

The strategy proved hugely successful, with Barcelona winning three major trophies, including the La Liga and the European Champions League trophies last season. However, Pedro, who has appeared 51 times for Spain, said the opportunity of experiencing a new football culture also motivated him to sign for Chelsea.

“Absolutely. I have watched many English Premier League games and they look very different to the Spanish game, particularly much faster. I really want to enjoy being here and playing in this league. It’s a new challenge and I can’t wait to get going,” Pedro, who scored 91 goals in 321 matches for Barcelona said.