Roberto Soldado is a Spanish striker known for his ability to score loads of goals and become a fans favourite. He came through the ranks at Realmadrid before moving to Getafe,Valencia and then Tottenham.
It was at Valencia he became he serious hit,scoring 76 goals in 128 appearances and his form enticed Tottenham who eventually bought him for close to £30m as part of a replacement for Gareth Bale who left for Realmadrid that summer in a world record fee.Everyone that expected Soldado to light up the premier league were disappointed as he just couldn’t cut it in England.He says “i don’t regret it at all, far from it, but I wanted to give a lot more than I gave in England,’ he says in his first interview since leaving Tottenham last summer.The affection that people showed me from the first day to the last was incredible. Even though I was not scoring goals and not starting games if I got off the bench (to warm up) their first reaction would be to sing my song. In the end that made it even more infuriating to receive such support and yet be unable to repay it by making those fans happy”.
On Thursday night, he can make an entire town happy, all 50,000 inhabitants, by helping Villarreal beat Liverpool and take a huge step towards what would be their first European final.He says,”I would love to see the season finish with Tottenham winning the Premier League and us winning the Europa League. But it will be difficult for Spurs Leicester look so full of confidence”.Kane has done very well this season and Soldado isn’t surprised at how far he has gone “He deserves it because he’s a humble kid who works very hard and just has a fantastic attitude,’ says Soldado of Kane.It’s his finishing that stands out it’s exceptional. Last season it seemed that every chance he got would end up in the back of the net and this season he looks even more effective.’
The emergence of Kane and Dele Alli is enough to make Soldado wish he had joined last season rather than two years before.”When things are going well it’s much easier to fit into a side and find your place there,’ he adds.”Andre Villas-Boas did most for the club to sign me and then when he left that was when I most suffered that drop in form. I was left in the background a bit.And then came the explosion of Harry Kane. After the sale of Gareth Bale they invested in many players,I think eight players arrived the summer I was signed. This year there have been fewer signings and there is no doubt a team benefits from fewer changes.You could already see last year that it was a young team that could really step up as soon as it had more experience.And when you add Dele Alli, who has been so impressive, and Mauricio Pochettino getting the best out of all the players, you can see why they have done so well”.
He had been used to the early ball into space at Valencia and when it didn’t come he started to drop off and seek-out involvement. That brought its own problems. As he explains: ‘English football is a lot more physical and the referees allows more contact.”To not get overpowered, when I came looking for the ball I started to think that I had to play a little bit further from the goal to get space away from the defenders and perhaps because of that, plus some bad luck, I didn’t score as many goals as I wanted to.The first thing I would do when I got home after a match was to watch it again and analyse it.’There are times when you walk off the pitch and you think, I’ve been awful today, and then you watch the game again and you have played better than you thought at the time. Other times you feel you’ve played well and you watch it again and you see that you could have done more.Perhaps my transfer fee was big too and maybe the expectations that I put on myself put me over the edge.It went against me. I found I was getting easy chances on the pitch and I would miss them because of the slightest detail. It all mounts up until you reach a point when you say, ‘I can’t do this any more I need a change.The most important thing for a player when things are not going for you is that you keep giving everything on the pitch at least.You may not be getting it right, but it’s important that no-one can say that you never move or that you don’t work for the team.That is why I think the people at Tottenham treated me well, despite the fact that I didn’t have great seasons there. I won’t forget the support they gave me”.
Soldado was speaking ahead of tonight’s Europa league semi-final first leg against Liverpool in Spain as he would be hoping to be in the starting line up against Jurgen Klopp’s side.