Football: Pedro nets winner for European Super Cup, denies he's leaving Barcelona

Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez (far left) and midfielder Andres Iniesta with the Uefa Super Cup after beating Sevilla 5-4 in Tbilisi.
Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez (left) and midfielder Andres Iniesta with the Uefa Super Cup after beating Sevilla 5-4 in Tbilisi.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MADRID • Manchester United target Pedro Rodriguez has denied claims that he wants to leave Barcelona after scoring the winning goal for the Spanish club in the thrilling 5-4 European Super Cup victory over Sevilla on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Spain winger came off the bench to score five minutes from the end of extra time, a little more than two hours after Barca's technical secretary, Robert Fernandez, stated that the player had asked for a transfer.

"The sports director says I said I want out? He shouldn't say that, I barely talked with him," Pedro said.

"I talked with the president and others. This is a difficult situation for me, of course I wanted to start. I don't know what will happen, but I will always be a Barca fan.

IT'S NOT SO SIMPLE

Do I want to leave? The answer is 'no', but my situation is difficult. It's not about money, but about more playing time.

PEDRO, Barcelona winger, who is pursued by Man United

"Do I want to leave? The answer is 'no', but my situation is difficult. It's not about money, but about more playing time."

Pedro has had limited chances at Barca due to the presence of players like Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, with reports he is close to agreeing a move to England's United.

And on Tuesday, despite Neymar out with mumps, Barca coach Luis Enrique preferred Rafinha in his position.

"I was very angry to have not played (from the start) because I have always tried to be professional and go out to help the team," said Pedro. "It is a complicated situation for many reasons. Not for money as has been said, which is another lack of respect. It is a question of continuity, of minutes on the pitch and I am an ambitious player."

United manager Louis van Gaal wants Pedro to strengthen his attack but has been told by Fernandez that the English club must meet his €30 million (S$46.5 million) release clause. "Pedro asked us for the transfer. We are not going to accept less than €30 million for him, it's not negotiable," Fernandez said.

A series of Pedro's club-mates expressed their hope that the player, who came through the famed La Masia academy, will stay at Nou Camp.

"We hope Pedro continues," said Javier Mascherano, the former Liverpool midfielder. "He's always there in those moments, he's been touched by the magic wand."

Lionel Messi, who scored twice in the win over Sevilla, added: "The players and the club don't know what he is going to do. It is his decision, but whatever he does we wish him the best."

United, who now expect wantaway goalkeeper David de Gea to stay at the club beyond the transfer window, have made Pedro their No. 1 target to bolster their attack before the end of August.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2015, with the headline 'Pedro nets winner, denies he's leaving'. Print Edition | Subscribe