Back home in Colombia during the summer months, free agent Hugo Rodallega considered an array of offers on the table for him following his departure from Wigan Athletic.
Rodallega was certainly not short of admirers, but following conversations with Fulham Manager Martin Jol, the striker was convinced professional and personal fulfilment would be found on the banks of the Thames.
“I had to consider my position a lot when I was on holiday back in Colombia,” Rodallega explained of his move to Craven Cottage. “There were other clubs interested, in England and abroad, so it was a decision that needed to be taken in a very calm manner.
“I spoke a lot with Martin Jol – he told me that Fulham was a good club and I would like it here. I would be fighting with a lot of ambition and that motivated me. I would also be starting a new life here and I’m really enjoying it.
“London is a very big city so I’m still getting used to everything. When I was in Colombia I heard many things about London and how it was the place to be. My family are enjoying it too and if they’re happy it means I can be more focused on my career here at Fulham.”
Rodallega has struck up an instant rapport with Dimitar Berbatov at Craven Cottage and the respect he showed towards his former employers when scoring for Fulham last weekend was widely applauded, as the forward was evidently desperate to open his account for his new club.
“I’d had a few chances [to score] in the games before and it did worry me for a little bit, especially after seeing my colleagues Dimitar Berbatov and Mladen Petrić score,” said Rodallega. “It’s my obligation to score so now I’ve got that first goal I’m itching to score more.
“I want the combination between Dimitar and I to work as well as possible for the benefit of the Club. Dimitar is a very experienced player who has been at some amazing clubs. That really inspires me and there is good communication between us as we’re good friends off the pitch.”
The striker’s next goal is helping his Team achieve a third consecutive win this weekend against Manchester City and retaining a top-six position, but Fulham fans will be enthused to hear Rodallega speak of what he hopes to achieve at Fulham, both this season and in the years to come.
“I didn’t expect to be in the top six at all but it’s a nice surprise,” said Rodallega. “Fulham have always been good but at the start of the season we’re doing really well which makes me very happy. I’m enjoying my time here and I hope we can continue our winning form.
“We want to do more than just stay up. We’re very ambitious. The supporters feel that, the Club feel that and that’s important. We want to change the history of the Club and maybe we can be the surprise of the season.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen but we certainly want to leave our mark. The Club made it to the UEFA Europa League Final a few years ago and that has made Fulham aspire for more.”