Football: Pedro says move to Chelsea is fuelled by desire for more playing time

Barcelona's former forward Pedro Rodriguez sits during a farewell press conference for his departure from the club to English football team Chelsea at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona on Aug 24, 2015.
Barcelona's former forward Pedro Rodriguez sits during a farewell press conference for his departure from the club to English football team Chelsea at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona on Aug 24, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Chelsea's new signing Pedro has said he took a gamble by leaving Spanish champions Barcelona after eight successful years but one driven by his wish for more playing time.

He completed a move to the Premier League champions last week and came up with a goal and an assist on his debut in their 3-2 victory at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

"Of course, I would have liked to have stayed at Barca and retire here," Sky Sports quoted the 28-year-old as telling the Spanish media in his farewell press conference for which he flew back to Barcelona on Monday.

"That was my intention when I signed my contract extension. But I've taken a gamble because it's what I wanted. I wasn't going to stay here just to appear on the photo," he added.

Pedro, who has scored 59 goals for the Catalan club in 128 La Liga starts, found his opportunities limited after the arrival of Luis Suarez last season and decided to move despite signing a new four-year contract in June.

"But then I saw that my situation would not change. Now I have new challenges and the opportunity to continue to play," the Spain international and World Cup winner added.

Pedro won 20 trophies in his time with Barcelona, including five La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues crowns.

"I'm very happy to be at Chelsea because it's a club that, like Barca, are fighting for titles," he said. "I had offers from other English clubs - Manchester United, City and Chelsea, who were the club that more rapidly resolved my transfer and the one that showed more interest in me.

"I just hope I don't have to face Barca or step out at the Nou Camp wearing another jersey. It would be difficult, I wouldn't like it. I don't think Barca will miss me because they have plenty of quality players but I will sure miss them, the players and the club."