Pedro Rodriguez joined Lazio on a free transfer from Italian capital rivals AS Roma. The Spanish winger penned a two-year deal and will wear the number nine shirt at Lazio. Pedro will work again under manager Maurizio Sarri after the pair enjoyed a good relationship at Chelsea in the 2018-2019 season.
34-year-old Pedro, who is the only player to win the Champions League, the Europa League, and the Premier League at club level, as well as the World Cup and the Euros with his national team, had only signed for AS Roma in 2020 from Chelsea.
Pedro’s move from AS Roma to Lazio is the first between the two Rome arch-rivals in 40 years. Roma preferred he went abroad, but that would have seen the Giallorossi lose more than $4 million according to the Italian laws on tax benefits.
Lazio will pay Pedro a $4.6 million salary per year before tax. The player can add more money to his accounts in case he reaches certain performance targets with his new team.
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) August 19, 2021
The eternal rivalry
Roma and Lazio last did business with one another in 1981. Carlo Perrone put on the Lazio shirt after playing for Roma, but that only lasted for a year, as he returned to Roma in 1982. More recently, players like Aleksandar Kolarov, Sinisa Mihajlovic, or Angelo Peruzzi put both AS Roma and Lazio in their resume, but none as a direct swap between the rivals.
Pedro scored 6 goals in 40 outings for Roma during the previous campaign. His last goal came against none other than Lazio, in the derby AS Roma won 2-0 in May. Pedro spent nine years at Barcelona, before adding another five at Chelsea.
Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri didn’t hold back words when asked about Pedro’s arrival.
“He’s a brilliant player,” Sarri said before Lazio’s opening game of the Serie A season, against Empoli. “It’s hard to say if Pedro will play. I think he can be involved for a few minutes right now,” the coach revealed.
Lazio kick off their campaign away at newly-promoted Empoli on Saturday evening. Lazio is at -140 for a win away from home. Sarri’s team are at +3000 for a surprise Serie A title win. Juventus are the favorites at -140, followed by defending champions Inter at +300 and Atalanta at +550. Milan and Napoli are both at +1300, while Lazio’s rivals Roma stand at +1700.
Lazio’s striker Ciro Immobile is the fifth favorite to finish as top goalscorer in the league, at +1100. Ronaldo is at +350, seconded by Lautaro Martinez and Duvan Zapata at +600. Alvaro Morata is now at +900.