Luis Fabiano only scored twice in Seville's 5-0 demolition of Real Zaragoza on Saturday but still took the match ball home as a gift for his family, who had been robbed in their home at gunpoint on Friday afternoon.
The Brazilian striker, whose mother was kidnapped during his time at Porto, was at training when armed raiders threatened his wife and young daughters and made away with jewellery and money. Hours earlier thieves had broken into the home of the Seville goalkeeper Andres Palop but were disturbed and fled empty-handed.
"It was a special game for me," said the forward whose 19 goals in 18 games have put him level with Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in the running for the Golden Boot for Europe's top scorer. "My family and I have had a real shock and I'm taking the ball home as a gift to them,"
Armed intruders in their houses, the tragic death of their team-mate Antonio Puerta at the start of the season and the departure of their coach Juande Ramos to Tottenham – Seville's players have suffered off the field this season. On it, they are beginning to look, once again, like the side who have won five trophies in the last two years.
This home win made it 13 points from a possible 15. It took them to within two points of the Champions League places in the table and came courtesy of the same whirlwind attacking style which first brought Ramos to Spurs' attention.
Zaragoza were blown away inside the first half-hour. That was the time it took Fabiano to score twice. He had been offered the opportunity to miss the game by the coach Manolo Jimenez but chose to play. First, he ran on to a long pass from Dani Alves and lifted the ball over Cesar Sanchez in the visitors' goal. Then he swapped passes with the exceptional Alves before drilling in the second.
Only less capable finishing from Diego Capel, Jesus Navas and Frédéric Kanouté kept the score down, although the Malian's persistence forced the third goal just before half-time. He was bundled down in the box by Roberto Ayala as he homed in on Sanchez. However, his protests were cut short by Fabiano congratulating him – Ayala had turned Cesar's save back into his own goal.
That was the story of the fourth goal, too, with Fabiano, Sanchez and Carlos Diogo colliding and the Zaragoza defender getting the final touch. He was then sent off for a wild tackle on Capel and Seydou Keita completed the rout by heading in Alves' cross.
The Seville president, Jose Maria del Nido, promised to step up security around the homes of his players and Jimenez paid tribute to the man Seville fans refer to as "El Fabuloso".
"We owe this victory to our families and especially to Luis Fabiano's," Jimenez said. "Some of the players had very little sleep before the game but this victory demonstrates just how well we are playing."
Elsewhere in La Liga yesterday, fresh from being knocked out of the Uefa Cup by Bolton, Atletico Madrid were beaten 3-1 at Osasuna. They were two down in five minutes, thanks to goals by Kike Sola and Carlos Vela, the winger on loan from Arsenal.
The former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan hit back after 26 minutes, but Hector Font sealed Osasuna's win with a third after 76 minutes.Reuse content