Singapore vice-captain Hariss Harun said he wants to pave the way for his countrymen to play in Europe by making the most of his opportunity at Spain's Ce L'Hospitalet.
While there were doubts over Hariss' club future after he failed to secure a loan move inside the recently-concluded European transfer window, his Malaysian Super League club Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) on Thursday confirmed that the 26-year-old will be on a one-year loan deal at the 20-team third division (Segunda Division B) Spanish club, who are currently sitting at the 16th position with 15 more games to play.
The midfielder has now become the first Singapore footballer to ply his trade in Spain and will join the likes of big names - V Sundramoorthy and Fandi Ahmad in the list of Lions, who have played outside Asia. Notably, Hariss had previously had some Spanish exposure when he trained for Barcelona's youth academy at the age of 16 in 2007.
Hariss also joined the national team in that year and has gone on to become one of the most dependable midfielders in the country with 72 international appearances. Both JDT and the Singapore national team believe that the European exposure will benefit their respective outfits when he makes the return at the end of his year-long stint. Hariss himself wants to improve is game and become a good ambassador for JDT and Singapore football.
"I have been a foreign player in a team before and I know how hard I have to work, and that is exactly what I plan to do at my new club. Honestly, I don't know much about the club, but playing in Europe has always been a target of mine," Hariss said, as quoted by The New Paper.
"I know I have to go there, adapt as fast as possible and try to help the team. This is an opportunity for me and I want to make the most of it. If I perform well, hopefully, I will be able to help pave the way for Singapore footballers, too. I want to be a good ambassador for JDT and for Singapore football."
National coach Sundramoorthy believes that Hariss will adapt quickly his exposure will help the team during their AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers campaign, starting 28 March.
"We have the Asian Cup qualifiers coming up and we could definitely do with a Hariss who is at the top of his game. I hope he has a good season in Spain and that he enjoys his football there," Sundramoorthy added.