Chelsea star Pedro Rodriguez paid a surprise visit to his former Barcelona teammates on Tuesday morning (4 October) as the Catalans undertook their first training session since Sunday's 4-3 defeat to Celta Vigo. The Canarian was unable to reunite with too many of his old pals though as 12 first-team players were missing due to international duty. Lionel Messi, Samuel Umtiti and Ivan Rakitic also skipped the workout as they continued their comebacks from injury.
Pedro left the Nou Camp to move to Chelsea in 2015 after seeing his playing time restricted due to the unmovable presence of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in Barcelona's attack. However, last summer he revealed he still missed his childhood side, and has now taken advantage of the international break to say hello to his former teammates.
"I was really looking forward to coming back, to see the people I left behind and see how things are going," he revealed to Barcelona's official website.
"I try to watch their games whenever I can. There have been many surprises in La Liga this year. It looks the quality level is higher this season. I always wish them the best and I hope they can keep wining and be on top again soon," Pedro said, adding that he is enjoying his new experience under Antonio Conte at Chelsea despite the lack of regular pitch time.
"Obviously I am not playing as much as I did last year but the team are playing well," Pedro continued. "The team is in good shape and we are working well with the coach. He likes his teams to be very organised. We work a lot of the physical aspect and we are finding that in the second part of games. I'm enjoying myself. I'm more settled, I'm happy with my teammates, with the fans and enjoying a new and different experience."
Barcelona were making their first training session since the defeat to Celta after Luis Enrique gave his players a day off on Monday. Marc-Andre ter Stegen was a surprising presence in the workout, along with the likes of non-internationals such as Paco Alcacer or Arda Turan. The German keeper, whose performance against Celta was widely panned, will not join up with his national team until Wednesday. Messi, Umtiti and Rakitic do not feature in the video released by Barcelona.
The Argentina international and the French centre-back both missed recent games but reports now claim they are undertaking light training with a view to returning to action after the international break. Barcelona have a La Liga encounter with Deportivo La Coruna on 15 October just four days before their Champions League tie with Manchester City.
Rakitic, meanwhile, missed the defeat to Celta Vigo due to an Achilles' tendon injury, which has also prevented him from joining up with the Croatia national team ahead of two World Cup Qualifiers against Kosovo and Finland.
Vatreni reported on Monday that the issue could see him sidelined for around 10 days, with Barcelona now adding that "his availability for the training sessions will depend on how the recovery process progresses".