Wolves goalkeeper Jack Ruddy has revealed that Barcelona played a part in preventing him from fulfilling his dreams in La Liga.
The 19-year-old moved to Spain with his parents in 2010 and quickly set about trying to forge a career in professional football.
He spent time within the youth ranks at Real Murcia, while also taking in a trial at Villarreal.
Plenty of interest in his potential was shown, but regulations introduced on the back of FIFA rule breaches at Camp Nou conspired to block his path.
While Barca were stung with a transfer ban, other clubs in Spain saw a tightening of restrictions regarding deals for foreign players under the age of 21.
Ruddy, as a result, was unable to sign terms with any clubs in La Liga or beyond, forcing him back to Britain and eventually Wolves via Bury.
Now a member of Scotland’s U21 squad, Ruddy told reporters ahead of a potential international bow against Estonia: “I trained with local teams and then signed for Real Murcia in the Spanish second tier, but there was a ban in Spain on under-21 foreign players signing unless you have five years’ residency. I couldn’t actually sign a senior contract.
“I’d been on trial with Villarreal but I couldn’t join them and it all stemmed from Barcelona signing players illegally. Because of that, they put the ban in place and I got caught up in it.
“It was really disappointing, my dad was on the phone to the Spanish FA all the time trying to get it sorted but there was nothing we could do. I hadn’t been there long enough. I was a year short and could have waited another 12 months and I would have been fine."
Ruddy was understandably reluctant to be stuck in sporting limbo and joined Bury in the summer of 2014.
He made his professional debut in November 2015, before being snapped up by Championship side Wolves on a two-year contract in August 2016.