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Blackburn Rovers blog: Santa Cruz could still prove doubters wrong
LAST Thursday, an experienced international scored twice to fire his side to the top of La Liga.
But it wasn’t Lionel Messi. Or David Villa. Or even Cristiano Ronaldo. It was, in fact, Roque Santa Cruz.
The same Roque Santa Cruz who did not score at all during his loan spell at Blackburn Rovers last season.
Rovers face Manchester City at Ewood Park on Saturday and, had things been different, Santa Cruz could have been playing for either of the two sides on show.
He has the talent, of that there is little doubt.
How Rovers would have loved a firing Santa Cruz as an option right now, at a time when results have not always been forthcoming.
It would have been hard, though, to justify a permanent move for the 30-year-old in the summer, given his complete lack of form during his loan spell.
In hindsight, it would probably have been better had his Ewood return never happened.
Santa Cruz’s reputation with some Rovers fans, at least, clearly suffered. The man known for scoring goals did not score goals, and that was a pity.
Injuries seemed to play the biggest part in his failure to make an impact, although they still did not seem to tell the whole story.
There just seemed something missing. Even when he was on the pitch, it was hard to recognise him as the same man who had taken the Premier League by storm when he first signed for Rovers in 2007.
He had done little since joining Manchester City, or for Paraguay at the 2010 World Cup, but there were some signs of revival at this summer’s Copa America.
We will watch with interest now to see if he builds on that early double with Betis, during a season-long loan in Spain.
If he does, maybe he will have proved many of us wrong – perhaps it would have better if Santa Cruz had been snapped up in the summer after all.