Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado revealed that his hat-trick heroics in the Europa League on Thursday night came in the wake of the personal heartache of his wife losing their baby.
The 28-year-old had struggled for form in his early White Hart Lane career following a big money move from Valencia during the summer, but finally hit his straps against Anzhi Makhachkala.
He scored three of Spurs’ four goals as Andre Villas-Boas’ side topped their group, but after the match the Spanish international revealed the devastating news.
Sadly Soldado revealed, his wife, Rocío Millán, suffered a miscarriage recently. ‘A month ago she was pregnant but unfortunately she had a miscarriage and lost the baby two weeks ago,’ he said.
Soldado offered the fact quite naturally and freely.
He considers it unrelated to a difficult period of form running into the Anzhi match. But it is a stark reminder that, for all their exalted status and the demands put upon them on the pitch, professional footballers have to negotiate the same difficulties and traumas that afflict many families.
To do so in an alien environment, away from extended family support, makes it even more testing.
But Soldado, 28, draws a clear distinction between personal and professional, the obvious difficulties of changing countries and what is expected of him as a footballer.
‘Yes, of course it is difficult, but I certainly don’t think that a change of country and a new language is any excuse whatsoever for not performing at the level that I expect of myself,’ said Soldado, who has two young children, Daniela, 5, and Enzo, 4.
‘I think I’ve been here for long enough now to have a good understanding with my team-mates during a game, which is the most important thing. Let’s hope that from now on you will start to see another Roberto Soldado.
‘My family feel fine and are settled, so am I. The only thing missing were the goals – and they’ve come along against Anzhi, so let’s hope that from now on they keep on coming.
‘It’s true that the first couple of months are quite difficult, because there are a lot of changes to be made, and as soon as you leave training you have a lot of things to sort out – school for the kids, a house – but things have all been very stable for a while ago now.
‘I’ve been able to concentrate solely on football matters and what I needed to be doing – and that was scoring goals. Against Anzhi, I managed to do that.’
The hat-trick against Anzhi was a welcome relief for the club’s major summer signing and should ensure his place in the starting line-up against Liverpool at White Hart Lane on Sunday. It is a game that could take Spurs on to 30 points – alongside Brendan Rodgers’ team.
‘It was special to score the three goals and a boost for my own confidence, too,’ said Soldado.
His name rang out around White Hart Lane on Thursday night – not for the first time, but perhaps with more conviction than ever before. ‘Despite the fact I haven’t been performing how I would have expected, the support of the fans has always been unconditional. And at least now I can show my gratitude to them with goals, which is what they want to see. Let’s hope I can experience many more nights like this at White Hart Lane.’
Soldado started with four goals in his first three games of the season – two of them penalties – but before Thursday, only had two in 12 games and was dropped for the victories against Fulham and Sunderland.
‘It is difficult. I haven’t played in the last two Premier League games and the team haven’t been picking up good results either, so to win the last two away games has been absolutely vital for us.
‘I haven’t had a chance to feature but I think the best way of attracting attention is by doing things in the best way possible, respecting the decision, waiting for your opportunity and then doing your talking on the pitch.’
Against Liverpool, Tottenham may finally put behind them last month’s 6-0 defeat at Manchester City and once again be spoken of as possible title contenders.
‘That result was a real shame but maybe even more costly were the defeats against Newcastle and West Ham, which were home points dropped – points that we really needed,’ said Soldado.
‘If we’d picked up those six points the league table would be looking a lot different right now. But I think we need to keep going as we have been doing recently. I think the team are looking good at the moment and we’ve picked up a few wins.
‘It’s all about working hard and keeping this run going and maintaining the same mentality.’
We here sillyseason would like to send our Condolences and best wishes to Soldado and wife Rocío Millán
Written by Steve Milne – have your say below 🙂