Jese Rodriguez returns to Real Madrid with Las Palmas on Wednesday and feels he could have been a star at the Santiago Bernabeu but for his knee injury woes.
Jese was beginning to make a telling mark in Madrid’s all-star squad when a cruciate ligament injury stopped him in his tracks in March 2014.
He largely remained a substitute after his return and this was a role the 24-year-old found himself stuck in once more after joining Paris Saint-Germain for this season.
A loan move to Las Palmas has provided the opportunity for another fresh start.
“I remind everyone that I was on course to surpass Raul’s record in the Real first-team, after I had surpassed Emilio Butragueno’s goal tally for Castilla [Madrid’s second team],” Jese said reflecting on his formative years in an interview with Marca.
“It is not an excuse, it is reality that the injury I had was a brake on my career, both in football and in my personal life, and from there I’ve lost a lot. To have continuity, to play, to feel more secure and more comfortable, is difficult.
“The ones who know about this are the ones who have had injuries like mine. They are injuries that I do not wish on any footballer. That’s the reality.
“I have thought about it. And I’ve never liked comparing myself to anyone, but I think I would be an undisputed starter for Real Madrid. Of that I’m sure.”
Las Palmas have lost all four of their LaLiga games featuring Jese to date but the need for a breakthrough goal would not persuade him to celebrate at the ground where he realised his first professional dreams.
“I owe Real a lot, they are the team that welcomed me, as a person and as a young footballer,” he added.
“I owe them a lot and, out of respect and admiration, I wouldn’t celebrate.”