Roberto Soldado should be given lengthy ban after malicious pre-season tackle

Opinion – Roberto Soldado should be banned for his horrific challenge during a pre-season friendly between Levante and Villarreal.

Social media is awash this morning with the near-haunting images of Soldado’s challenge on Jorge Cuenca during a goalless draw between local rivals Levante and Villarreal.

Now, think what you will of Soldado – I’ll leave the politics out of this one and take the footballer, the 36-year-old who has managed an impressive and lengthy career.

As a footballer, his edge can go a long way, and that’s why I think Levante’s signing of the veteran could be a smart move this summer given his performance levels at Granada, and indeed Paco Lopez‘s need for a little more top-level experience at the Cuitat de Valencia having seen his side perform excellently before tailing away last season.

But whether it happens or not, Levante should have to start the season without their new signing after his reckless, idiotic and utterly filthy challenge against his former club.

As the images above show, during Villarreal’s goalless draw with Levante, talented Spain under-21 international centre-back Cuenca made easy work of Soldado.

The 21-year-old turned away from his opponent and put him in his rear-view mirror.

But what he could not have seen coming was a cowardly challenge from the veteran striker who knew exactly what he was doing.

Soldado looks up, sees Cuenca getting away and lunges, planting his studs down the calf of his opponent, just inches below the back of the knee.

Miraculously, Cuenca managed to shake off the challenge, but that should not be the end of it.

It may well be. This incident may be overlooked because it’s pre-season, but if anything, it should not be for the exact same reason.

This tackle would rightly see serious action if were done in La Liga, and so it should be seen as even more malicious given it was committed in a pre-season fixture which is – by unwritten rule – a well contested yet mutually beneficial exercise to ensure everyone involved leaves the game unscathed but a fraction fitter.

Instead, Soldado has actively tried to injure a young player, in turn risking ruining his season and impacting his career just because he was beaten in an almost meaningless duel.

The former Spurs striker knows better. He is an experienced player who would do well to put rivalry aside and congratulate Cuenca at the end of the game, to whisper a word of wisdom into the ear of a player who will spend the rest of his career marking experienced frontmen.

But it seems that is not the sort of man Soldado is.

Instead he does that, and instead he should now face missing a significant number of games to start the season for his idiotic and malicious behaviour.

Tags Jorge Cuenca Levante Roberto Soldado tottenham Villarreal