Pre-season boredom is kicking in big time and with mental transfer rumours and gossip dominating the headlines, I have reached out to sunny Spain to ex-Killie man Borja Pérez to hear what he has to say about his time with Ayrshire's finest and growing up in Real Madrid's famous academy.
Having brushed shoulders with some of Europe's Elite during his time with his beloved Real Madrid growing up as a teenager, a move to Ayrshire's Finest would obviously be the cherry on top of a career spanning almost 15 years. From taking footballing tips from Figo and Zidane to taking betting tips from Gary Harkins, Borja has mixed it with the best and mixed it with the Heff.
Borja had an interesting career and played predominantly in the lower leagues of Spain following his release from Real Madrid. It would be CD Leganes, Valladolid, Alicante and AD Alcorcon where he would feature between 2003 and 2012, mostly in divisions two and three. During his time with AD Alcorcon he would play against his idols Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey early rounds. Borja would score twice in a 4-0 win for the third division outfit, taking his tally to six goals against Real Madrid in his career. An impressive stat for even the best strikers in the world. He had scored a brace before during his spell with Leganes in 2003.
Pérez would make a massive lifestyle change when leaving his sunny home in Spain to join Scottish league cup holders Kilmarnock in August 2012. Making 28 appearances for Kilmarnock in his time and scoring on 4 occasions. The controversial sacking of Kenny Shiels at the end of 2012/13 season would inevitably bring Perez's Killie career to an abrupt halt. The Spaniard choosing instead the beaches of Tenerife to ply his trade the following season, before seeing out the rest of his career in the regional leagues of Spain. In total he made 388 appearances in his career with 81 goals to his name.
Let's hear from him now...
1) How did your move to Kilmarnock come about?It was a funny story and a result of pure chance. I was free agent after my contract with AD Alcorcon in Spain expired. It was at the beginning of August 2012 when I spoke to a friend of mine who worked in Glasgow and alongside her she had a colleague who knew a Scottish Agent. I then sent a video of mine to Allan Beaton (nowadays apart from a good agent is my friend) and he forwarded it to, among others, Kenny Shiels. The gaffer watched it and out of the blue I was travelling to Glasgow in order to go on a trial. Then, as you may know, I played in James Fowler´s testimonial game and the gaffer showed his interest in contracting me. We agreed the terms and conditions quickly and I signed my contract until the end of the 2012-2013 season.
2) Which player would you say was best to play with whilst your were at Kilmarnock?It would not be fair if I had to name a individual player. But, I will say Liam Kelly, Gary Harkins and Kris Boyd. All very talented in their own ways.
3) Why did you choose to come to Scotland after playing all of your career in Spain?To be honest, I was looking for a new chapter overseas. I wanted to take advantage of living a new experience, in a new country and to learn another language. At that time I already knew that my spell in Spain had come to an end thus I started looking at other options.
4) You famously scored six times in your career against Real Madrid after playing with them as a boy. Was Real Madrid the team you supported growing up?That is true. It was and I am indeed a season ticket holder at Real Madrid since 1998! But as a professional footballer I had to preserve my own interest. I had been at the Real Madrid academy for 8 years and that's where I grew as a person and as a football player. I was in the same youth team as Iker Casillias. Iker is a god now here in Madrid.
5) Who is the best player you have ever played with in your entire career?
Ayoze Pérez who is currently playing for Newcastle and Aritz Aduriz (Athletic de Bilbao). I refer to players with who I shared a dressing room with.
6) What was your favourite moment at Kilmarnock?Being honest, every single moment. For me, my spell at Kilmarnock was the best experience in my career. My wife got pregnant in Scotland, I visited many places, I enjoyed the Scottish way of football, I enjoyed every single training, I played in such good venues, I met new good friends, etc. I cannot wait to go back to Scotland.
7) Kenny Shiels signed you at Kilmarnock the year after we won the League Cup how was he as a manager?I only can say good words about the gaffer. He signed me and he extended my contract before the season 2012-2013 ended. He gave me the opportunity to play for Killie and I think he trusted me. As a manger he only thought about football, on and off the pitch even when he slept, for sure. I think that he deserved to stay longer as manager but football is what it is. Nowadays I keep in contact with him. He is a great person and good manager.
8) How did you find the standard of Scottish football compared to the technically good Spanish leagues?As Jimmy Nicholl once told me my qualities and abilities as a football player were not fit for the ways of Scottish football. I always tried my best and tried to adapt to my conditions in Scottish football. It is very different compared to Spanish football but I must say that football is the same to me whether in Spain, Scotland or Moldova.
9) If you could have played alongside any player in your career who would it have been?It would certainly be Luka Modric. A very underrated player and a joy to watch. Incredible technique.
10) Do you still keep up to date with Kilmarnock’s form and results even though you are back living in Spain?Of course I do. I am following every single game. I am very happy seeing Killie finish in fifth position. Delighted for the Killie guys. They are ripping it up, c'mon the Killie!
11) What is the future for Borja Pérez? Are you still playing football at all now or have you retired? I know you have obtained a Masters Degree in order to become a lawyer.I quit playing football in June 2016. Nowadays I make a living out of being a lawyer specialising in Sports and Law. I am working at the labour and sports department at KPMG in Madrid. I am very happy!
Finally Borja...do you have a message for the Kilmarnock fans?I just want to say that I loved every minute at Killie and I proudly can say that I played for such a great club. Also, thanks to all the fans for their support and their respect towards myself and family. I am a Killie fan since I first put my foot in the club door and always will follow us.