Pedro not happy playing Spain second fiddle

Bordeaux (AFP) – Spain winger Pedro Rodriguez has hinted he could retire from international football after being frustrated at his lack of playing time in the European champions’ opening two Euro 2016 matches.

After a disappointing first season with Chelsea following a 30 million euro ($34 million) move from Barcelona, Pedro has played just eight minutes in one substitute appearance as Spain eased into the last 16 with two wins from their opening two matches over the Czech Republic and Turkey.

“I thought in this European Championship I could play more because I arrived in very good form,” Pedro told Spanish broadcaster Movistar.

“Evidently, it is very different. I had other ideas when I arrived here and they are not turning out how I expected.

“It is also difficult to continue being here because it is difficult to assume this role for me. If you don’t play it isn’t worth it coming just to make up the numbers, to be with your teammates, even though I am very comfortable here.”

Pedro left Barcelona in similar circumstances at the start of the season saying it would be “easy to stay, win and appear in the photo with the trophy” after falling behind superstar front three Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at the Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old, who was part of the Spain squads that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, insisted he hadn’t intended to criticise coach Vicente del Bosque.

“I am thankful to be here in the national team, to be part of this team. It is not an attack against the coach,” he said in a hastily arranged appearance in front of reporters ahead of Spain’s final group game against Croatia on Tuesday.

“I apologise if anyone has taken it badly, to the fans, I have spoken with the coach and the players, the most important thing is that we are confident and calm.

“I am grateful to be one of the 23 here. I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without Vicente and my teammates.”

– ‘Cleaning boots’ –

However, veteran coach Del Bosque was characteristically unperturbed about an unwanted distraction from his side’s perfect start to the tournament.

“We try to make sure everyone is happy, but it is inevitable that at some moment the 12 that don’t play won’t be happy,” said the former Real Madrid boss.

Pedro’s comments brought criticism from fellow players.

“I would go with the national team without any conditions,” Stoke City forward Joselu told Spanish daily Marca.

“I would like to be there cleaning the boots to play in a Euros.”

However, Pedro’s former Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique claimed the media reaction was disproportionate.

“We are very used to this, we have a lot of players here who have won a World Cup and Euros. They want to play, to be important (in the team),” said Pique.

“His expectations were to play more at the start of the tournament, it seems like huge news to you, but it isn’t, it is a player who wants to play more.”

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