Fulham midfielder Bryan Ruiz didn’t expect to be playing Championship football with Fulham this season but says he is ready to help the Whites correct the slide after failing to secure a move away from the club.
The Costa Rican was linked with transfers to the likes of Ajax, Werder Bremen and Olympiakos this summer but could not finalise a deal before the closure of the summer transfer window at the start of the month.
Ruiz made his first appearance in a Fulham shirt since December at the weekend as he returned to action in a 2-1 friendly victory over a Saudi Arabia XI and played 45 minutes for the west Londoners.
He admits he thought his time at Craven Cottage had come to an end this summer, however Ruiz now says he is ready to play his part and help the team challenge for promotion back to the Premier League.
“It’s been a tough month because there were some transfer options, but at the end there was no agreement between the teams and Fulham,” Ruiz said.
“It is a bit hard because I felt like my time there was up, and I was looking forward to a new challenge, but it didn’t happen. I still have a contract with Fulham, so I have to fulfill it.
“It [trying to negotiate a move] was exhausting in the way that ever since I arrived both the coach and the board of directors allowed me to leave, but at the same time I had the chance of training with the team.
“I’m a person who likes challenges and never backs down. It is true that I didn’t expect to stay one more year, but I will face a new challenge, which is helping the team in the Championship.
“I feel physically good, fully motivated after the World Cup. I was expecting something else, but it didn’t happen. Only God knows why things happen.
“Now it’s my turn to help the team as much as I can. They have had a tough start after five matches they haven’t been able to win. Well, it’s a hard tournament, I’ll try to provide experience and enthusiasm.
“Playing in the Championship is not easy. Even though it is the British second division, it can be compared to the first division of countries with top- level soccer. In fact, there have been FA Cup matches where second and third division teams have eliminated Premier League teams.”
Ruiz has one year left to run on his Fulham contract and will be free to line up a move abroad in January as he enters the final six months of his contract.