By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Soldado will captain Valencia as they bid to grab their first win in the Champions League group stages when they take on Lille at the Mestalla on Tuesday. They fell to a 2-1 loss to German heavyweights Bayern Munich in their opening match.
Ahead of the match, he was interviewed by uefa.com and revealed that he has always looked up to the famous poachers of the 90s and has taken inspiration from them in order to become one of the top strikers of European football.
"I favoured the finishers, the goalscorers. [Iván] Zamorano - I loved him when he was at Madrid. Jimmy [Floyd] Hasselbaink at Atlético, Ronaldo when he was at Barcelona," he opined.
"They really were the best of the best."
Ronaldo made his name at Barcelona with an astonishing debut season during which he scored 34 goals to win the Pichichi and inspired the Blaugrana to a Cup Winners' Cup, Supercopa de Espana and Copa del Rey treble.
The Brazilian also went on to star for Real Madrid in the subsequent decade and remains one of the best strikers of all-time.
But amongst the present batch of footballers, Soldado revealed that he has been most impressed by Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.
Rooney has been relieved of the goalscoring burden following the acquisition of Robin van Persie allowing him to become something of a defensive forward. Soldado lauded the England international's willingness to come back and help out in the defence, a trait that can also be noted in Soldado's own performances in a Valencia shirt.
"If I look across the Champions League, the guy I most look forward to watching is Wayne Rooney. Previously, he was more of a centre-forward - a goalscorer - but now he's the type who defends a lot, whose game is growing," Soldado added.
And he also stated that he was worried about failing to adequately replace David Villa following the marksman's move to Barcelona in 2010. Thankfully, he has made the number 9 shirt his own following two impressive seasons with his native club.
Valencia even had to rebuff interest from Tottenham over the summer and offered Soldado a new deal in a bid to tie down his future at the club. The Spain international has now become one of the most beloved personalities within the city and enjoys the limelight after being something of a fringe player at Real during the earlier part of his career.
"When I came here I never expressed it openly, as in 'replacing David Villa'," Soldado said.
"But I was really conscious that if things didn't go well that tag was going to weigh very heavily for a long time - not just in my own mind but for the press and fans.
"Growing up I was fixated by all the centre-forwards who were around at the time, so now, to have my name on the shirt, to be the '9' for the team where I grew up and to be captain is a source of pride.
"You're out on the street, you see kids with a Valencia shirt with your name - it's a massive motivation and reminds you of your responsibility. It's one of the greatest things that can happen to a player."