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From Levante to Guizhou, the first Spaniards to play in China: Part 3 - Rubén Suárez (29th November, 2017)

In 2012, a defender, a midfielder and a striker, all playing for Levante, made the bold leap to a country no Spaniard had ever been before.

In late January, 2012, center-back Nano Rivas was sold to Guizhou Renhe. Two months later, in March, striker Rafael Jordà was on his way. And three months later still, in June, diminutive midfielder Rubén Suárez was on his way....

You can read part 1, featuring Nano Rivas, here. And part 2, featuring Rafael Jordà, here.




His father was a legend. Secundino Suárez, aka Cundi, was a Sporting Gijón legend and spent his professional career almost entirely with his local team, save for a one-year loan spell with Poblense (1976-77) due to compulsory military service.

From the age of 20 onwards, he was an undisputed starter for the La Liga club, appearing in nearly 400 competitive games during his 15-year spell (1975-90). And yet, the left-back did not receive one single red card during his career.

He too started out in Sporting Gijón's famed youth academy (Mareo). Rubén Suárez played six seasons with the Asturians' first team in the Segunda, between 1998 and 2004. Afterwards he stayed in the level, with four additional years at Elche. The diminutive midfielder, at just 5 feet and 5-and-a-half inches tall, was almost always used as a substitute, and actually holds the record in the second tier for most games brought on as a substitute (a whopping 126 games).

Rubén Suárez


In July 2008, Suárez joined Levante also in that tier. In his first year he finished as the side's top scorer at 12, mainly due to the serious fibula injury to Alexandre Geijo. And in the 2009-10 season, Suárez repeated the feat (again scoring in double digits), as the Valencians returned to La Liga after a two-year absence. Finally, the Segunda substitute had been given a first team berth, and his La Liga debut had come - at the ripe age of 31 years, six months and nine days.

In late June 2012, aged 33, Suárez had his first adventure abroad, signing with Chinese Super League club Guizhou Renhe. However, just six months later, in January 2013, Suárez returned to his country, signing with Segunda side Almería and playing there for the rest of the season, helping them get promoted to La Liga.

However, his career in La Liga had ended by then, partly due to age - he has since played for Skoda Xanthi for the 2013-14 season, and since 2014 has been playing for Tercera clubs in Group 6 (i.e. in Valencia), which include season long stints at Castellón, Torrevieja, Torre Levante, and now, at the age of 38, plays at Acero.

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