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Roberto Soldado: ‘I can’t believe I’m meeting Manchester United again’

Striker with overachievers Granada is excited by Europa League clash and loving football after contemplating retirement

“Remember it? Do I?!” Roberto Soldado says and then he starts laughing. The last time he played Manchester United was New Year’s Day 2014 and the first thing that comes to his mind is the sorry sight of himself sitting alone the night before, stuffing grapes into his mouth as fast as possible. “We were playing on the first at midday so I said to my wife: ‘We’ll be going up to Manchester on 31st. Go to Spain, be with the family, don’t stay here on your own.’ She went and then the manager said we’d travel that morning so we could spend new year with our families …”

Soldado puts his head in hands and cracks up again. He looks at the screen. “I ended up doing a video call, like this one. Me and the family eating grapes on each chime of midnight [as Spanish tradition dictates]. Them in Spain, me on my own in London. A disaster. A bit sad, really.” There’s a grin. “But it was worth it: the next day we won at Old Trafford.”

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