Ronald Hernandez is a man with big ambition and he hopes his time with Aberdeen can help him realise his dream of reaching the big time in Europe’s leading leagues.
The 22-year-old right back was the final arrival of the January transfer window when he moved to Pittodrie from Norwegian club Stabaek and it is clear, having been given a four-and-a-half year deal by his new club, he is a player Aberdeen rate highly.
For Aberdeen it is an exploratory but ambitious signing. For the player it is the next step on a journey he hopes will take him to the highest level.
He said: “I was in Norway in my house when my agent explained to me Aberdeen wanted to sign me and two days after the manager called me to say they wanted me to come.
“I was not surprised as I knew someday it could happen and was working hard to make sure I was ready.
“I came to Norway with the ambition of playing in one of the top leagues in the world – the Premier League, French League, Bundesliga, La Liga – but I need to believe in the process.
“I’ve been to Norway and now I’m in Scotland and I’m here to continue to work hard and we will see.
“Nothing is easy in this life. You need to work hard and produce your best on the pitch. I know England is close to Scotland of course. This could probably be a stepping stone to England as I know Scottish football is similar to England.”
It’s not hard to see why Aberdeen are excited by their latest arrival.
Despite his tender years Hernandez has played in the under-20 World Cup final for Venezuela and made 15 appearances for the full national team.
Facing the great Lionel Messi has also been checked off his list so taking on a new challenge in Scotland is unlikely to be daunting.
He said: “Playing against Messi was a nice feeling. He is one of the best players in the world and of course you feel admiration but you want to beat him you know? On the pitch it’s 50-50 so I don’t need to show admiration then.
“I will remember the World Cup final forever. It’s not every day you play in a World Cup final you know? I played against Dominic Solanke, Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Lewis Cook, all players now playing in England.
“The qualifying for Qatar 2022 starts in March with games against Colombia and Paraguay so I am preparing for that.”
Hernandez could make his debut for his new club in tonight’s league match against St Johnstone but little is known of what to expect from the new Don.
His manager Derek McInnes says he offers an attacking threat as a wing back but Hernandez is focused on being the best he can be and helping his club on the pitch.
He said: “In the world there are different types of right back. Some are very technical like Dani Alves, there are physical, fast ones like Antonio Valencia. Now you see Trent Alexander-Arnold who has such a good right foot.
“I try to see all these right backs and look for little things I can do to improve myself.
“I don’t feel any pressure. I just want to help my team, show character on the pitch and try to win games.”