Tottenham host bitter rivals Arsenal in what looms to be another enthralling North London derby early Monday morning (AEST) as both sides continue their fight for the remaining European places.
It seems impossible to suggest that Roberto Soldado – who had such a foul and hopelessly rotten time at Tottenham Hotspur – could control a high ball and power a fine volley into the back of the net.
Yet that is exactly what the Spaniard did to put his new side Villarreal up 1-0 away to Real Betis.
There were times following Soldado’s £26 million move to North London that made him look more like an accountant than a competent Premier League forward. How did a man who went from 26 goals in his last season at Valencia produce a dismal return of six and one in two seasons in England (most of them were penalties)?
He was one of the infamous new boys following the sale of Gareth Bale back in 2013, a case of money badly spent on behalf of Daniel Levy, and since the day the deal went through Soldado has gone from lows to lower lows.
There are examples one can use – misses against FC Dnipro, an open goal in the Europa League. Another shocker against Fiorentina on the counter attack, where he tried to square a ball for a tap in but essentially passed it to the goalkeeper. Soldado was absolutely slaughtered on Twitter. The poor guy. He just seemed hapless, he literally could not play football.
This no doubt led to a confidence crisis – far worse than any we thought his fellowcountryman Fernando Torres could have had during his Chelsea stint. Soldado must have been completely down and out. Additionally, the tragic news that hit the Soldado family back in December 2013, turned his misfortunes into a gut-wrenching nightmare. We all felt for him I’m sure.
Brad Friedel has recently spoken on social media about what a shame it was that it didn’t work out for him at Spurs and how pleased he was that he got on the scoresheet for his new club. Personally I feel the same sympathy for the guy. His move back to Spain has the potential to rebuild a career that once promised so much. He was so close to being there once upon a time.
Sometimes it’s nice to see a good story in football. It’s nice to see a player who has had a bad time succeed and I hope Soldado goes from strength to strength now he’s back in Spain.
It may have been craziness and savagery the other night. But it all made us feel a little better inside.