Soldado lining up for Spain in 2013
|Full name||Roberto Soldado Rillo|
|Date of birth||27 May 1985|
|Place of birth||Valencia, Spain|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|2002–2006||Real Madrid B||120||(63)|
|2006–2007||→ Osasuna (loan)||30||(11)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 31 May 2019|
After emerging through Real Madrid's youth system, he went on to appear in only 27 official matches for the first team (four goals). However, he became a more regular La Liga player and goalscorer for Osasuna, Getafe, and Valencia, and secured a £26 million move to Tottenham Hotspur. After two unsuccessful seasons in England, he returned to the Spanish top division with Villarreal.
Born in Valencia, Valencian Community, Soldado joined Real Madrid at the age of 15 from native region small club CF Don Bosco. After years of prolific goalscoring with the former's reserves, he made his first-team debut on 23 October 2005 against Valencia CF, playing 18 minutes in a 1–2 home loss. Previously, on 28 September, he had scored an 86th-minute winner after just six minutes on the pitch, in the season's UEFA Champions League match against Olympiakos FC (2–1 home win), adding a late equalizer against CA Osasuna and another in a 3–2 success at Racing de Santander as Real finished second in the league, also netting in the 4–0 defeat of Athletic Bilbao for the Copa del Rey.
In the 2005–06 campaign, with Castilla, Soldado scored 19 goals in Segunda División – two penalties – to become joint-second highest goalscorer alongside Ciudad de Murcia's José Juan Luque, one behind Ikechukwu Uche of Recreativo de Huelva.
On 24 July 2006, Soldado officially became the first member of Real Madrid to leave under new manager Fabio Capello and new president Ramón Calderón, moving to fellow La Liga club Osasuna on a season-long loan. Set to score goals and return as a better footballer, he stated: "The idea is to leave and have a good season with a first division team scoring goals, and to develop as a footballer". His new team had finished fourth in the previous campaign to earn themselves a place in the third qualifying round of the Champions League, hence he chose them over a number of other Spanish clubs competing for his presence. "The following year I want to return to the Real first team. I chose Osasuna because it gives me the chance to play in the Champions League", he said to Real Madrid's website after his signing; he finished with a total of 13 goals across all competitions, making him the Navarrese's top scorer.
Soldado returned to Real Madrid where, on 11 July 2007, he renewed his contract with the team until 30 June 2012. In a 21 July interview with Spanish newspaper Diario AS, he revealed that he would be wearing number 9 shirt in his second stint: "During the preseason I'll be number 9, the number I've always dreamed of. When I step onto the pitch at the Bernabéu I'll remember all the hard work it took to get here". However, he finished the season with just five league appearances (one start, at Deportivo de La Coruña), the second with fewer minutes for the league champions.
In late July 2008, Soldado was sold to Getafe CF for €4 million, signing a four-year deal with the side from the Madrid outskirts like former Real player Esteban Granero the previous week. He scored his first goal for them on 19 October 2008 in a 1–2 away loss against Málaga CF, adding two in another away defeat, with Osasuna (2–5), two months later; in between, he was sent off in a 0–3 home loss to Valencia for a headbutt on Carlos Marchena.
On 25 January 2009, Soldado netted a hat-trick as an early substitute, in a 5–1 home win over Sporting de Gijón. On 22 March, as Getafe struggled in the league, he scored twice to secure another home triumph, 2–1 with Recreativo de Huelva. The following month he netted the opener against his first professional club, albeit in a 2–3 away defeat.
Soldado started 2009–10 in impressive fashion, putting three past Racing Santander in a 4–1 away win. After a long scoring drought, he added three more against newly promoted Xerez CD, in a 5–1 home triumph.
On 19 December 2009, Soldado took his league tally to ten after scoring twice in a 2–1 win at Sevilla FC – with this achievement, he became Getafe's best ever scorer in the first division, surpassing Manu del Moral and Dani Güiza; he missed one month of competition due to injury but, in his return to action, scored from a bicycle kick, earning his side a point in the 1–1 home draw against Gijón.
In early June 2010, after a successful year at Getafe – 16 league goals, and qualification to the UEFA Europa League – Soldado returned to his hometown and signed for Valencia for €10 million, replacing FC Barcelona-bound David Villa. In his first official game, on 14 September, for the Champions League group stage, he contributed one goal in the Che's 4–0 win at Bursaspor; when the two sides met at the Mestalla Stadium in November, he netted two more, in a 6–1 success.
On 2 April 2011, Soldado scored all of Valencia's goals in a 4–2 away win against former club Getafe. In the next fixture, a local derby against Villarreal CF, he netted two more in a 5–0 home thrashing, and finished the season as joint-fourth top scorer as his team ranked third and qualified to the Champions League.
In his first game of 2011–12, Soldado scored four goals against Racing Santander (one in his own net) in an eventual 4–3 home win – his last two arrived in the final three minutes. In late November 2011, in two home games separated by only five days, he added five more: two in a 2–3 home loss to Real Madrid and three in a 7–0 routing of K.R.C. Genk for the Champions League group stage.
Valencia agreed a deal with Tottenham Hotspur for the transfer of Soldado on 1 August 2013, for a fee of £26 million, which would break the English club's previous record of £17 million paid for Paulinho earlier in the summer. The transfer was completed four days later after a successful medical.
On his Premier League debut on 18 August, Soldado scored Tottenham's winning goal with a penalty kick in a 1–0 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Four days later, he scored his first goals in European competition for Spurs, netting a brace in a 5–0 win at FC Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League playoff round.
On 20 October, Soldado scored his first Premier League goal from open play, in a 2–0 victory against Aston Villa at Villa Park. Two months later he netted his first hat-trick for Tottenham, against FC Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League group stage (4–1).
Soldado scored the only goal against relegation-threatened Cardiff City on 2 March 2014, his first goal of the calendar year for Tottenham. He netted just six times in his debut season, only two of which came from open play, and was included in The Telegraph website's list of the "10 worst buys of the Premier League season".
On 18 October 2014, making his first league start of the campaign, Soldado set up Christian Eriksen's goal during the match against Manchester City, also having a penalty saved by Joe Hart in an eventual 1–4 away loss. His first goal came on 30 November, the decisive in a 2–1 home victory over Everton.
On 14 August 2015, Soldado returned to his country's top flight, signing a three-year contract with Villarreal CF for a reported £10 million. He scored in his very first appearance, helping to a 1–1 draw at Real Betis in which he started and retired injured midway through the second half.
On 13 December 2015, Soldado netted the game's only goal to help defeat his former club Real Madrid at the Estadio El Madrigal. He missed the vast majority of 2016–17, due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee contracted in pre-season.
On 11 August 2017, Fenerbahçe SK announced the signing of Soldado. After failing to score in his first ten games, he scored a hat-trick as a 61st-minute substitute on 19 November in a 4–1 home win over Sivasspor.
Soldado represented Spain at all its youth levels, scoring a total of 26 goals. He was first called up to the first team in June 2007 for two UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers, against Latvia and Liechtenstein, playing in both; he did not make it to the finals in Switzerland and Austria, however, as the nation emerged victorious.
On 29 February 2012, after nearly five years of absence, Soldado returned to the national team: he came on as a substitute for Fernando Llorente at half-time of a friendly with Venezuela in Málaga, scoring twice after only seven minutes on the pitch; afterwards, he won a penalty and the sending off of Fernando Amorebieta, but missed the ensuing attempt, only to close the score at 5–0 in the 83rd minute.
|Real Madrid B||2002–03||26||7||—||—||26||7|
- As of 10 September 2013 (Spain score listed first, score column indicates score after each Soldado goal)
|1.||29 February 2012||La Rosaleda, Málaga, Spain||Venezuela||3–0||5–0||Friendly|
|4.||11 September 2012||Boris Paichadze, Tbilisi, Georgia||Georgia||1–0||1–0||2014 World Cup qualification|
|5.||11 June 2013||Yankee Stadium, New York City, United States||Republic of Ireland||1–0||2–0||Friendly|
|6.||16 June 2013||Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil||Uruguay||2–0||2–1||2013 FIFA Confederations Cup|
|7.||10 September 2013||Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland||Chile||1–1||2–2||Friendly|
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