Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has admitted that the situation regarding Pedro Rodriguez is “difficult” ahead of Friday’s Supercopa first leg against Athletic Bilbao.
The winger, who has been heavily linked with Manchester United in recent weeks, surprisingly started the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla as a substitute, despite an injury to first-choice left forward Neymar, but ultimately came off the bench to score an extra-time winner.
Nonetheless, the Coach maintained Pedro’s absence from the starting XI was related to his fitness, rather than comments made by sporting director Robert Fernandez prior to the match in Tbilisi that the 27-year-old wanted to depart Camp Nou.
“We all know the situation that Pedro is experiencing,” he said at a Press conference.
“We want him to stay, but it’s a difficult decision. Nothing has changed yet, but it will change.
“No-one knows [if he will stay, but he’s currently in the squad] like the rest of his colleagues.
“Two days ago, he couldn’t train. He had to leave training with a sore groin.
“Pedro’s in a difficult situation. He’s a player who wants to stay but also wants more minutes.
“I will continue choosing players who I think are best and I’m looking forward to the end of the transfer window so I know what my squad will look like.
“Will I play Pedro [with the market in mind]? I don’t make decisions based on the market.
“[On Robert Fernandez’s admission that Pedro wanted to leave], I won’t feed any controversy.
“All the fans understand the Pedro situation. He has been, is and always will be loved by Catalans because of his professionalism.
“[On Neymar’s exclusion from the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award], who decided that Neymar shouldn’t be among the candidates?
“Without any doubts, I think [the final three] should be Neymar, [Lionel] Messi and Luis Suarez.
“[Andres Iniesta] is fine to be a starter [against Athletic]. He contracted a knock [against Sevilla], so I took him off.
“In fact, [the entire squad] are all available, which is good news.
“[On Nolito], I have a rule. I don’t speak about players who aren’t in the Barca first team.”