Roberto Soldado. There was a time when just the sound of his name was enough to put fear into the hearts of defender's across Europe. Clever in his movement and clinical with his finishing,
Soldado was truly devastating and known throughout Europe as one of Spain's deadliest strikers. This was a man who scored 59 goals in 101 games for Valencia, 7 in 12 for Spain, 29 in 60 for Getafe, 11 in 30 for Osasuna and 64 in 120 for Real Madrid B, that's an incredible goal ratio of 0.52 per game.
Then came an eye catching £26 million move to Tottenham Hotspur and unless you've been living underground, you know what happened next.
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The rampaging goal machine had seemingly turned into useless scrap metal overnight, becoming a twitter sensation, for all the wrong reasons, and was the subject of widespread criticism and humiliation from football fans around the globe.
Soldado had not only lost the fear factor, he'd lost the respect of the whole footballing community. Tottenham fans were patient at first and gave him the benefit of the doubt on numerous occasions, but even they would lose faith in the end.
Once cool, calm and composed in front of goal, the Spaniard was now a quivering, shaking wreck and had become known for missing chances where it's seemingly easier to score.
His change in finishing statistics, going from 17 down to a lowly 13 on the well known Football Manager computer game, typified his epic fall from grace.
His time in England has been a complete disaster and that's putting it mildly. But why did it go so wrong? Did Spurs mistakenly buy Soldado's useless twin brother? Loss of confidence? Couldn't cope physically?
It will go down in history with the Bermuda Triangle and the Loch Ness monster as one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of modern times. But, luckily for Soldado, Spanish side Villarreal are looking to offer him an escape route back to La Liga.
You don't become useless overnight and you don't just forget how to finish. They say form is temporary but class is permanent. Soldado is clearly in the worst form of his career but he's got the ability to rebuild his reputation, in Spain at least. Being back in his homeland will undoubtedly help and Villarreal are a side with genuine quality and creativity in their side.
Return to Spain
Summer recruit Samu Castillejo alongside established players such as Bruno, Trigueros and Jonathan Pereira will all create opportunities for him. He'll also have some motivation to be at his best as he's got serious competition for a starting place, with the highly rated Leo Baptistao joining on loan from Atletico Madrid in the summer.
The most important thing though, is that the club put faith in Soldado. The fans, the players and the manager Marcelino have to believe that he can get back to the player he once was. As we speak, they are trying to conclude a deal to bring him to El Madrigal, which mean's it's clear that they believe he can become feared once again.
Watching a player go through such a transformation, as Soldado has, is horrible to see. Whether he can return to form or not, we'll find out in the coming months but I, for one, will be rooting for him.
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