Roberto Soldado’s story reminds us all of a vital fact about footballers

The Tottenham Hotspur striker has revealed personal heartbreak, and what it is like as a footballer to move from one country to another.

The vast majority of football stories revolve around speculation, while whatever is left is a mixture of opinions and facts.

But sometimes an interview comes along that opens our eyes – or at least should do. Such was the case when I read a piece about Tottenham Hotspur striker Roberto Soldado following his hat-trick heroics in the Europa League.

Speaking to the Mirror, Soldado revealed the difficulty moving from Spain, and in a heart-breaking moment of honesty, the fact that his wife had recently suffered a miscarriage.

A month ago she was pregnant, but unfortunately she had a miscarriage and lost the baby, so now, well, that is that,” Soldado said.

And in that moment I remembered that footballers are just people, who go through exactly the same trials and tribulations as the rest of us, and while yes, they are paid well to do a job that appears from the outside to be anything but, they suffer loss, desperation, the downside of change, just as anyone else would.

Until last week, Soldado had not hit the heights Spurs fans would have hoped for. And yet the Spaniard famously scores in waves, so things could be about to change for the better.

But as well as his personal trauma, Soldado also revealed that the very act of moving clubs, and countries, is a tough one.

There are lots of changes to be made,” he added, “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 now so I’ve been able to concentrate solely on football matters.”

It may seem strange to say so, but those few words shook me out of my somewhat foolish belief that footballers are different to us, these global stars worshipped and berated in equal measure by tens-of-thousands of strangers on a weekly basis.

To take a man from what he knows to what he doesn’t and expect him to be the same version of himself in both surroundings is unrealistic. We all take time to settle. And we all take time to overcome what life sometimes unwantedly throws our way.

I admire Soldado for his honesty; it opened my eyes not just to his circumstances, but to the unknown ones of all he plays both with and against.

image: © Victor Gutierrez Navarro

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