Galán the globetrotting footballer with 23 teams in 14 countries to his name

Madrid, Mar 15 (EFE).- Wayfaring Spanish football player José Pedrosa Galán has played for 23 clubs in 14 different countries around the world.

Having started out in his native Spain, this globetrotting midfielder has since represented teams in Thailand, Indonesia, Austria, Jordan, Cyprus, Romania, Finland, Andorra, Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Gibraltar.

“Even though it’s hard for people to believe, I don’t carry on for the sake of breaking any record,” the 36-year-old told Efe.

“What I do have is the desire to keep on playing because my goal is to continue enjoying the most beautiful profession in the world, which is being a footballer,” Galán, who now plays in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, which has its own league, added.

Other players such as the German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel, who played for 27 teams in 11 different countries, and Uruguayan Sebastián Abreu, who holds the Guinness world record for the most signings with 31 clubs from 11 different countries, lead Galán on the number of clubs but not countries.

“I am very persevering, I have believed a lot in my dream of being a footballer and I have gone for it,” Galán, who started his career 17 years ago in Atletico Madrid’s youth system, said.

He later showed promised with Almería’s B team until a serious knee injury cut short his trajectory towards the first team.

“Debuting in the first division could have changed everything. I had been at the club for four years, as captain. And nobody understood the president’s decision to leave me on the street with a torn cruciate ligament,” he said.

The setback, however, led him to open his mind and start his journey abroad. In 2012, he became the first Spaniard to play in Thailand, Indonesia and Jordan.

“The experience, the places, the people, the countries, the places that I have found (…) it is priceless, and above all doing what I like the most, which is playing football,” he said.

After his first spell in Asia, Galán returned to Europe to play for Austria’s St. Polten before trying is luck in Jordan, Cyprus and Romania.

In 2016 he returned to Indonesia before jumping over to Finland, where he represented RoPS in the Europa League.

In 2017, he headed to Spain with third-tier Hospitalet and then Santa Coloma from Andorra, with whom he played in the Champions League preliminary phase.

He then returned to Asia with Hong Kong’s Dreams before moving on to the Qatari and Saudi Arabian leagues.

“I have never made a decision for comfort. I have always been bold, taking risks. I have never settled for something when I was not 100% sure and I have not been afraid of change,” he added.

By 2020, Galán was playing for Canadian team Valour FC when the coronavirus pandemic forced him and his teammates into a nearly two-month hotel isolation.

“We were in a bubble in a hotel. We could only go out to train and play. I had a newborn daughter of three months, my wife alone. It got really hard. It was the hardest part of my career,” he said.

This same year, with the birth of his second daughter, he packed his bags for Gibraltar’s Magpies to be closer to home.

At 36, Galán has realized that “it is getting harder and harder to be away” from his parents and friends as his personal needs begin to outweigh his professional ones. EFE


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