Jefferson Montero made a quick impression with Swans fans in his first appearance at the Liberty since joining the club this summer.
Montero played the whole 90 minutes of the club’s final pre-season fixture, which ended in defeat to one of his former clubs Villarreal.
Now he looks forward to making his Barclays Premier League debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford this Saturday.
And, in an exclusive interview with our matchday programme Jack Magazine, the Swans’ World Cup star spoke about his journey to the “best league in the world”...
It has been a long and arduous journey to the richest league in world football for Jefferson Montero.
Raised in a small rural house that his parents still own in “La Carolina”, Montero’s start to life couldn’t be further from the glitz and glamour of the Barclays Premier League.
From humble beginnings, growing up in Babahoyo, the capital of the Los Rios province of Ecuador, the spritely youngster seemed destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, labouring in the local fruit plantations of his native country, collecting bananas for a modest wage.
But despite the struggles of life in Ecuador, a relentless desire to change his family’s fortunes saw Montero defy destiny.
“It hasn’t been easy, coming from Ecuador,” said Montero. “It is a very poor country.
“I grew up in a modest family, of which my parents worked very hard to provide us with everything we needed.
“Fortunately, I never had to ask for anything because my entire family would work hard to help me get to where I am now. I have a lot to be grateful for.
“I have always loved football, and I am thankful that I am able to help repay my family for all they have done for me because of my career.
“Helping my parents has always been my motivation to succeed in football.”
But the winger’s route to the top has been far from straightforward.
Montero, renowned for his searing pace and tricky dribbling style, has not taken the conventional approach in moving up the football ladder.
After starting his professional career with Club Sport Emelec, the humble 24-year-old first impressed whilst playing for Independiente del Valle in the Ecuadorian second division.
A total of 19 goals in 37 appearances earned him a move to Spanish side Villarreal in 2009, where he continued his impressive rise through the club’s ‘B’ side.
But after loan stints with fellow La Liga outfits Levante and Real Betis, Montero was sold to Mexican side Monarcas Morelia in 2012, just three years after leaving his home continent.
“Arriving in Europe as a 20-year-old was a big step for me, but it was something I had worked hard for,” added Montero.
“After three years in Spain, playing for Villarreal, as well as Levante and Real Betis, I found it hard to go back to Mexico because, at the time, I felt going back was a step in the wrong direction, in terms of my career.
“But after two years of playing in Mexico, I am really happy because it helped lead me here. This is where I want to be – playing in the Premier League.”
Read what Angel Rangel had to say about the Ecuadorian pace ace by clicking HERE