Last autumn, at about the same time as Spain were putting the finishing touches to their regal South Africa 2010 qualification campaign, a youngster by the name of Pedrito was beginning his bid to hold down a regular place in the Barcelona line-up.
Fast forward to the end of the league season and the up-and-coming wide man had become a fully fledged member of the Azulgrana side. As a reflection of his hard-earned senior status, the 22-year-old has shed the diminutive tag, his increasingly mature displays for the Catalans earning the ultimate seal of approval from Vicente del Bosque: a place in his squad for South Africa 2010.
Announcing the 23-man list, the Spain coach was effusive in his praise of the Barça livewire: "We felt that he had a very good season overall and he can make La Selección stronger."
"I’m just happy not to be going on holiday," said the man of the moment on hearing the news, not that there was much chance of him having the summer off, given his consistently compelling contributions in a season in which Barcelona made off with four trophies in all.
After taking his place in the Spain squad without having won a single cap, Pedro needed only three games to open his international account, scoring in last Tuesday’s emphatic warm-up win over Poland.
Being here is enough in itself. But if I can make it into the team, then all the better.
Hitting the back of the net has become something of a habit for the kid from the Canary Islands. He made history in 2009 by becoming the first player to score in six different competitions in the same calendar year: the Spanish first division, Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.
"It is a great honour and I am very excited about it," he told FIFA.com after making it six out six in the UAE last December. “I want to thank and congratulate my team-mates. I could never have done this without them."
Named in the Spain pool along with fellow rookies Jesus Navas, Javier Martinez and Victor Valdes, the humble Pedro is not overawed by the prospect of representing his country in South Africa. Accustomed to the big occasion with his club side, it is perhaps no surprise that he should be taking things in his stride: "The pressure is the same," says the smiling new boy, happy to be in the international spotlight after rarely featuring for La Roja’s youth teams.
Comfortable with either foot, incisive and unselfish, Pedro is more than just a goalscorer. Despite his small stature, he has a prodigious leap and his ability to pop up in different positions and run with the ball at his feet make him a handful for any defence.
Andres Iniesta’s continuing injury problems could yet open the door to the starting XI for him, a challenge he is ready to accept: "Being here is enough in itself," he says. "But if I can make it into the team, then all the better."