Soldado has to prove his worth

Roberto Soldado, Tottenham and Spain striker, will be determined to prove he can make it at the highest level though after failing to make the grade at Real Madrid, having joined the Spanish giants as a 15-year-old. By Daniel Bonser.

The sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid gave Tottenham the money to revamp their squad and bring in a number of quality players to, in theory, take them to the next level and challenge for the title.

One of the big signings was Spanish international Roberto Soldado, who broke Tottenham’s transfer record fee previously held by fellow summer signing Paulinho. The 28-year-old boasts a great scoring record with around a goal every other game but the move, costing around GBP26million, has yet to prove value for money.

Soldado has not been a complete flop but with most of his goals so far coming from the penalty spot, the jury is certainly out on whether he can be a success at White Hart Lane.

He will be determined to prove he can make it at the highest level though after failing to make the grade at Real Madrid, having joined the Spanish giants as a 15-year-old.

He showed enough talent in their B team to earn a call-up to the first team, making his league debut when coming on as a substitute against Valencia in 2005, and in the 2005/6 season he was the joint-second highest goal-scorer in Segunda B with 19.

New manager Fabio Capello was not convinced by his ability though and sent him out on a year-long loan to Osasuna, where he top-scored with 15 goals.

His goals saw him earn recognition by his country at least as he was called up to the national team for two Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Soldado returned to the Santiago Bernabeu where he signed a new deal keeping him at the club for a further five years but only five appearances followed and, despite Madrid winning La Liga, a move was on the cards.

He stayed in the Spanish capital by joining Getafe on a four-year contract where he was to make a name for himself, scoring 13 league goals in his first season.

That form continued the following season as he netted 20 goals from 32 appearances in all competitions to help the club to their best-ever finish of sixth and a place in the UEFA Europa League.

When Valencia needed a replacement for David Villa in 2010, it was understandable that they targeted Soldado and he made the move to the Mestalla for GBP8.8million.

A fruitful first season with Los Che resulted in Soldado being the joint-fourth highest goal-scorer in La Liga with 18 league goals and 25 in all competitions.

Another 30 goals from 52 appearances followed in the 2011/12 campaign and resulted in a call-up to the national squad for the first time in nearly five years where he netted a hat-trick in a friendly against Venezuela.

He missed out on a place in Spain’s triumphant Euro 2012 squad though, with Alvaro Negredo — now at Manchester City — instead called up.

Despite that disappointment, the goals continued to flow domestically and another 30-goal season followed before Soldado was included in the Spain squad for the Confederations Cup in Brazil, where he scored once.

That prompted his move to England as Bale moved in the opposite direction but he has struggled to justify his hefty price tag.

A Europa League hat-trick against Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala provided a glimpse of what Soldado can offer Spurs but he has managed just one league goal since the end of October.

Reproducing his Spanish league form in England is clearly not going to be easy.

Soldado is married to Rocio Milan and the couple have two children.

* * * FACTFILE NAME: Roberto Soldado POSITION: Striker CLUB: Tottenham DOB: 27/5/1985

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Scoring a hat-trick against Venezuela for Spain when recalled to the squad.

MOMENT TO FORGET: Making just five appearances for Real Madrid in the 2007/8 season despite signing a five-year contract.

INTERNATIONAL CAPS: 12 INTERNATIONAL GOALS: 7

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