He worked as a lorry driver, a builder and an air conditioner installer to support his amateur career.
But after 13 years of hard work and dedication, Enric Gallego will play Europa League football this season after signing for La Liga high flyers Getafe.
The 32-year-old’s journey to the top has been far from conventional.
Gallego only realised his dream of playing professional football last year, when he made his professional debut for Spanish second division side Extremadura UD, aged 31 years and 11 months.
Before that he spent time with amateur clubs Cornella, Premia and Alzamora, but he didn’t look out of place in the Segunda Division.
He scored 15 goals in four months for the club, attracting the attention of top clubs around Spain.
The former Espanyol B striker eventually secured a £1.8 million transfer to La Liga side Huesca in the transfer window.
Finally he was at the top of his trade, playing against the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
“My (former) team mates got to play at the Bernabeu but I missed out.” he told Reuters ahead of Heusca’s game against Los Blancos last season.
“Now it’s my turn and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can.
“What happened for whatever reason had to happen for me to get to this stage and I wouldn’t change anything.”
Unfortunately for both Gallego and Huesca, the club suffered relegation after picking up just seven wins in 38 games.
It was a blow for the Spanish striker but his impressive form caught the eye of Getafe, who have now completed a deal to sign the 32-year-old.
According to reports, the club have triggered his €6 million release clause.
It has been a remarkable journey in football for Gallego, who is thankful for everything.
“Everyone in professional football values work, they have parents, sisters and brothers who work, but having lived what I’ve lived, perhaps I appreciate everything a little bit more.” he told Reuters
We look forward to tracking his progress in La Liga in the coming months.
Featured Image Credit: Image: Cuatro/PA