La Liga’s involvement in the summer 2019 transfer window, ahead of the new season has attracted perhaps the greatest amount of attention out of any of Europe’s major leagues.
The three Spanish giants, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid - who have exclusively dominated the top table positions since 2012 - have already displayed their intentions with dramatic headline-grabbing purchases: Eden Hazard, Antoine Griezmann, and João Felix totalling £310m of player.
However, perhaps the most intriguing story in the Spanish top division revolves around a player with a transfer value that amounts to around a 20th of Felix’s final fee.
Still a respectable amount of anyone’s money but Getafe’s parting of £6million for Enric Gallego from Huesca resonates more thanks to the backstory of the 32-year-old forward.
Deeming something to have a ‘fairytale ending’ is an oft-bandied around cliché in the world of sport but Gallego has now certainly reached the apex of a stunning career to humble the likes of the 19-year-old Felix who has been thrust into the limelight after a single spectacular season.
While Felix’s move to Los Rojiblancos is built on promise that hopes to satisfy that gargantuan fee, Gallego meanwhile has earned his through experience, climaxing a three-division trajectory.
The Barcelona-born player has for the majority of his career played at amateur-level, supporting himself whilst working in a variety of jobs including as an air conditioning installer.
Just after the start of the 2018 new year, third-tier Extramadura paid €200,000 for Gallego and with their subsequent promotion he finally became a professional in August of that year. He was one month shy of his 32nd birthday.
Huesca were granted their debut season in La Liga in 2018/19 after gaining promotion as runners-up of the Segunda Division. In January, in an attempt to stave off the drop, Huesca purchased Gallego from Extremadura, with whom his goals had helped to promotion from Segunda División B to the Segunda División (now known as La Liga 1|2|3) in 17/18.
Despite Gallego’s five goals in 19 games for Huesca, they couldn’t avoid relegation and returned to the second division.
At the beginning of July, however, Getafe paid the €6million release clause to Huesca to keep Gallego in the top tier. Furthermore, with their fifth-place position achieved last campaign, the Spanish striker now has the opportunity to make his mark in the Europa League, where they’ll enter at the Group Stage.
He may not be in the air conditioner business anymore, but Gallego is certainly one cool customer.