The sun is coming out in Tenerife. After six matches without a win in the Liga Adelante, CD Tenerife defeated Real Madrid Castilla to earn its first victory in Spanish football's second flight. But the three points were not the only piece of god news for Álvaro Cervera. On the same day, one of the architects of the team's promotion, midfielder Íñigo Ros, made his debut in the division at just short of 31 years of age, a dream come true for the player from Tudela.
The Navarrese had to play in five playoff campaigns before finally reaching the Liga Adelante. Íñigo started his footballing career at CD Tudelano. After playing for his childhood team, Real Sociedad de Fútbol recruited him for its youth academy during the 2001/02 season. There he had his first experience in semi-professional football, and despite the years, he has not forgotten his origins. "I learnt my game at the Real Sociedad youth academy. Everything I am as a player today I owe to Real. My experience in the rest of the teams taught me other things, but I owe my career in professional football to Real, which gave me my break and stuck by me when I was a kid", remarked a thankful Íñigo to LFP.es.
I learnt my game at the Real Sociedad youth academy. Everything I am as a player today I owe to Real
After four years in San Sebastian, Real Jaén came knocking. In the Victoria Stadium he would learn to compete on another level. "I went from training at one club to performing at another. I was sharing a dressing room with young kids, whose goal was to play in the first team. From there I went on to share the dressing room with adults who were putting their children's welfare on the line Sunday after Sunday", said Íñigo. In the Andalusian capital he would have his first taste of a failed promotion playoff, his second would come the following year.
But Íñigo do not give up on his dream, which took him to the Basque Country, where SD Eibar signed him for the 2010/11 season. "Then I arrived at Eibar, and I did so amid unusual circumstances, as I had just broken my tibia, and they offered me two seasons. Eibar was exactly what I had been told it would be, it a very close-knit club, like a gang of mates. It really is. And it was a club that catapulted me to greater things". With the team from Gipuzkoa he suffered two more failed attempts at promotion, and at 29 years of age he came to a junction in his career. "Having failed to win promotion two seasons running, if I had lost my desire I would never have signed for Tenerife. He who dares wins, and that was the case with me", he says, mission accomplished.
Having failed to win promotion two seasons running, if I had lost my desire I would never have signed for Tenerife. He who dares wins, and that was the case with me
He received a call from Álvaro Cervera in the summer of 2012. In the midst of the San Fermín festival, Iñigo packed his bags again and made the trip to the Canary Islands. In his first season with the Chicharreros he won promotion, the monkey was finally of his back. "I have achieved a goal of mine, but in the end it's just another match. I want to keep achieving. This year the goal is to stay up, but why not dream of playing at an even higher level?", asked the player from Tudela.
But his Liga Adelante debut would have to wait, as he picked up a toe injury during the summer which delayed his inclusion in the manager's plans. His moment came against Castilla, and it could not have been more fulfilling. "Playing in the Heliodoro is a joy. The team is very popular on the island and playing in front of so many people for 90 minutes is a beautiful thing". Now, and having finally played his long-awaited debut, Íñigo is focused on his team's objectives. "We have to get 50 points as soon as possible, but we are ready for anything if an opportunity arises at a given time. Even so, the main goal is to stay up", he adds prudently.
I can't wait to face Juan Carlos Valerón. If someone had told me ten years ago that I would play against him I wouldn't have believed it
In conclusion, the Tenerife midfielder spoke of a day he has circled on his calendar. "I can't wait to face Juan Carlos Valerón. If someone had told me ten years ago that I would play against him I wouldn't have believed it. Also, it's going to be pretty special as it is the Canary Islands derby and there will be a great atmosphere. It's going to be an exciting day". Another dream realised, and one which he will undoubtedly approach with dedication and hard work, as he always has.