Granada take on Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-finals this week, and their team is not an intimidating one.
Up front is 35-year-old Roberto Soldado, best known in England for an underwhelming stint at Tottenham
Soldado was one of the players bought with the Gareth Bale money in 2013, for a fee of £26 million.
He scored just seven Premier League goals in two seasons and was sold.
Soldado is a player known well to a couple of Manchester United players. Juan Mata played alongside him at Valencia.
“I really enjoyed it when I played with him for Valencia and with the national team,”, Mata was quoted by Goal back in 2013.
After flaming out at Spurs, Soldado signed with Villarreal, where he played alongside Eric Bailly for a year. The striker wished Bailly well on his move to Manchester, taking a dig at Tottenham’s rivals Arsenal in the process.
Bailly won’t be available to go up against him, the United defender is out after testing positive for Covid.
Mata returned to training this week and could be in the squad, although is unlikely to start.
What form is Soldado in?
Soldado is now 35 and is in the twilight of his career. This season he has 10 goals in 32 games.
Two of these goals have come in Granada’s Europa League campaign; he netted in both legs of the last 16 tie with Molde.
He has three goals in his last five matches, so will have a bit of confidence for the United game, although he failed to score at the weekend against his former side Villarreal, with Pau Torres keeping him quiet.
Solskjaer will be wary
While United’s defence should have plenty of quality to keep 35-year-old Soldado from doing too much damage over two legs, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t be complacent.
Solskjaer was in charge of Cardiff City in 2014 when Soldado scored a winning goal for Tottenham in a 1-0 win to break a six-match goal drought.
The United boss has better defenders at his disposal now, but he will be wary of the former Spain international coming back to haunt him.
Soldado has played against United three times in his career with Totenham and Valencia, losing twice and winning one, but he has never scored against the Red Devils. Hopefully it stays that way over the next two Europa League games.
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