The Europa League gets looked at with a fair amount of (not wholly unearned) disrespect from all angles and sources, thanks in part to its non-ideal scheduling, bloated structure, increased travel demands, and just general lack of glamour, certainly when compared with the bright lights of the Champions League. No team would prefer the Europa over the Champions League, and that’s about as obvious as a statement could ever get.
Still, once you’re in it, you’re in it to win it. At least you should be. Winning is what motivates players. Winning is what puts butts in seats. Winning is what gets coverage. Winning is what gets you paid. Winning is what gets you fans. These are the universal truths of any professional sport.
Winning is never boring. It doesn’t matter how, where, or when it happens.
“You can get bored of many things, but never winning. You always want to win as many trophies and titles as possible.”
Pedro knows, and he’s won more trophies than he has fingers and toes. He’s won a World Cup, a European Championship, a Premier League, five La Ligas, three Spanish Cups, three Champions Leagues, and ten other minor trophies including a third division title with Barca B. In his two decades of playing professionally, he’s never gone an entire season without silverware — even in 2015-16 he at least got the UEFA Super Cup with Barca (scored the winning goal, even!) before joining Chelsea.
The point is, the man’s done this trophy thing a lot and he’s certainly not tired of it. Quite the opposite in fact.
“It’s the culmination of a whole year’s worth of hard work. For us, lifting a title is the best, most satisfying feeling. It means that we have done our job well over the course of the season and ultimately, to have the opportunity to feel that emotion when you lift the trophy is something unique.
“You have to experience it to know what it feels like because you cannot put it into words. It’s important for us because it’s very satisfying to see that you have done your job and that the fans can share in that emotion. You’re always eager to keep winning titles and to keep winning trophies because it is important for your career and it helps you grow as a player.”
If you read that list above carefully, you’ll see that the Europa League is actually missing from Pedro’s glittering collection. Granted, he’s never actually played in it before this season, so that might have something to do with it — this might rival the previous most-obvious statement — but either way, he’s looking to correct that problem. Gotta catch ‘em all!
“It gives me added motivation because it is a title that’s not yet on the list of achievements for my career, and also because it’s a European title for the club and that always drives you on a little more. [...] It will be a very tense game with a great rivalry but we will just try to play the very best we can to win the title.”
-Pedro; source: Chelsea FC
So say we all.