Everyone loves a redemption narrative, and Roberto looks like he’s providing us one right now.
The Spanish shot-stopper was an unremarkable journeyman until he joined West Ham, where he became a notorious figure for the sheer amount of goals he would concede (and the hapless manner in which he conceded them).
Little concern was given to how or why he was underperforming so badly. The fans were just furious as he continued to give goals away like free candy on Halloween. All anyone had to do was seemingly shoot on target and he’d fold.
- Age: 34
- Club: Valladolid
- Position: Goalkeeper
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Never mind that he was signed to be a back-up and was thrust into a starting role because of injury just a few months into life in a new country, learning a new language. Never mind that he had won things at Benfica and Olympiakos. Never mind all of that. He was terrible.
Well you know what they say, mud sticks. Roberto was dropped two months after making his debut and then loaned out to Alaves, where, presumably still shell-shocked from his time at West Ham, he conceded 19 times in seven of his nine games (he also had two clean sheets).
Still, in the summer, Ronaldo’s Real Valladolid took a chance on him and it’s a chance that has been rewarded.
Top five goalkeepers in La Liga by Football Index value:
- Jan Oblak: £0.85 (Sell) – £0.93 (Buy)
- Marc-André Ter Stegen: £0.75 – £0.93
- Thibaut Courtois: £0.60 – £0.69
- David Soria: £0.35 – £0.46
- Unai Simon: £0.35 – £0.44
Initially Roberto was back-up to Jordi Masip, but after the Catalan contracted Covid-19, Roberto was thrust into the side on gameweek two. Echoes of his time at West Ham? Well, not really.
Sure enough, Valladolid didn’t win any of the games he played nor did they keep a clean sheet, but not for lack of trying on Roberto’s part. The Spaniard suddenly looked at home again, and although he was still conceding goals he was playing very well individually.
Shot-stopping, keeper sweeping. You name it, Roberto was doing it. A solid presence at the base of Valladolid’s team who, were the rest of the defence on his level, could actually help the side climb the table.
— Pausa Fútbol (@PausaFutbol) November 25, 2020
Roberto hasn’t made a single error leading to a shot all season, nor has he done anything that is questionable but doesn’t officially go down as an error either. In fact, Roberto played so well that when Masip was fit again, he didn’t come straight back into the side. Roberto was even recently named Real Valladolid’s Player of the Month.
Eventually Masip reclaimed his spot as the No.1 but the fact some have even questioned this decision (including Roberto himself, publicly) shows there is now real competition between him and Roberto for the starting shirt.
For a goalie who just a year ago looked like an amateur playing with professionals, whose confidence had been so totally destroyed, being a genuine contender to start for a side in La Liga is a huge step on the road to redemption.