While Spanish players are frequent on the English shores, it is not the same vice versa.
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Barcelona’s new wonderkid Marcus McGuane are the only British footballers plying their trade at La Liga teams or their second sides.
Yet, in the Segunda B Division, there is Connor Ruane, who was a part of the Everton academy and had trials at Manchester City, but is now chasing promotion with Hercules in the Spanish coastal city of Alicante.
From Everton to Spain
Ruane was on the books at the Toffees, having had trials in Scotland at Dundee United and Motherwell, when he moved to Spain with his parents at just nine-years-old, according to The Set Pieces.
While he did not have a choice when heading to the Balaeric Island of Mallorca, he learned the local language at school and continued his footballing ambitions as a full-back.
First turning out for a local outfit, before moving to Constancia, who have typically played in the Tercera Division and more recently the level above.
A good season there earned Ruane a move to the Island’s main side RCD Mallorca, who at one point were playing Champions League football against Arsenal, while later having Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’o in their ranks.
Like at Constancia, an impressive campaign got him his big move down to Alicante in 2015, where the right-sided player featured alongside former Real Madrid striker Javier Portillo.
Ruane has remained at Hercules ever since, and while he has failed to win promotion with them, finishing third and seventh in his two previous seasons, returning to the upper echelons of Spanish football is still the target.
English in Spain
While Hercules look unlikely to reach the Segunda Division, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-placed Englishman in Spain, with only McGuane currently ahead of him at Barcelona B.
The youngster transferred to the Catalan club in January from Premier League outfit Arsenal’s academy, even making his debut for the senior side in the Supercopa de Catalunya final against Espanyol.
But, he remains in the reserve team, who play in the Segunda Division.
Another notable Englishman in the Iberian country is Charlie I’Anson, currently plying his trade at Real Murcia in Group 4 of the third tier. Yet, he has featured in the top flight with Elche, before turning out for Valencia B and Granada.
With Hercules’ ambition to return to La Liga in the near future, Bale and McGuane may not be the only British stars playing in Spain’s first division, and Ruane will have come a long way from his days as a child in the Everton academy, chasing the dream around the north of England and in Scotland.