Pedro Rodríguez / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

Pedro Rodríguez was one of the standout players in Barça’s 4-0 rout of Espanyol this evening. The forward scored two of his team’s four goals before the 30-minute mark, and he had two more goals waved off by the referee in the second half. Pedro finished one goal shy of scoring his first hat-trick with the first team, but after the match he noted that “I came close to scoring another goal but I’m pleased that I got two and I’m especially happy that the team won.”

Barça won three more points on the day Tito Vilanova returned to the bench after he underwent surgery in December. “This victory is dedicated to Tito, these have been very difficult days for his people and we’re very pleased for him,” said Pedro.

One match at a time

After killing off the game in the first 30 minutes, the FC Barcelona forward said, “we know that Espanyol has players that can create chances, but we started off very strong and we ended up playing a good game.” On the team’s upcoming matches, Pedro is confident that the team’s form won’t dip: “We have to take it one match at a time in order to increase our lead over our pursuers.”

Busquets, the midfield maestro

Sergio Busquets, who completed 131 passes (more than any other player), highlighted the team’s overall performance: “We started off strong and we scored early. After that, the match was a bit more calm and we were able to increase our lead.”

“This is a great start to the year,” declared Busquets after the team’s first game of 2013. The midfielder is hopeful that “the team will continue on form for a long time.”

Busquets concluded his post-match interview by saying Tito Vilanova’s “recovery gives the players a lot of strength. The most important thing is his health and we hope that his recovery continues to go well.” When asked about who he thinks will win the FIFA Ballon d’Or, he said, “there’s a chance a teammate will win it, and I hope that’s the case.”

Training session at 11.00

The team will return to training at 11.00 on Monday at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper after this evening's victory 4-0 over Espanyol. In addition, the winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or will be announced on Monday, Iniesta and Messi are finalists for the award.