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Daniel Ayala

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Norwich Career: 2011-14  (10 appearances)
Current Club:
Date of Birth: 07/11/1990 (El Saucejo, Spain) 
Nationality: Spanish


Spanish defender Daniel Ayala completed his transfer from Liverpool to Norwich on 16th August 2011. The twenty year old signed a four year deal for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be around £800,000.

Ayala moved to Liverpool in September 2007 after rejecting the offer of a professional contract from Seville where he had come through the youth team. He played for Liverpool's Under-18s, reaching the FA Youth Cup final in 2008/09, and reserves.Ayala made his senior debut for Liverpool on 16th August 2009 in a Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur, coming on as a substitute for the injured Martin Škrtel and made his first start against Stoke City at Anfield three days later. He made a total of 5 appearances for Liverpool.

In September 2010, Ayala joined Championship side Hull City on loan, and made 12 appearances, including one against Norwich. He scored once. Returning to Anfield, he was loaned in February 2011 to Derby for whom he made 11 appearances.

Ayala made his debut for Norwich as a substitute, following Leon Barnett's unfair dismissal, in the 1-1 home draw with Stoke on 21st August 2011

Having missed some of the season through injury, Ayala finished the season with 10 appearances as Norwich finished 12th in the Premier League

On 7th August 2012, Ayala was loaned to Notts Forest for the 2012/13 season. Norwich manager Chris Hughton could not guarantee Ayala regular first team football and felt the Spaniard’s development would be helped with a spell at Forest. Ayala made 14 appearances for Forest, scoring once against Cardiff.

In August 2013, Ayala was linked by media in the North East with a move to Middlesbrough. This finally came true on 24th October 2013 with Ayala joining Boro on a three month loan. Ayala becomes Boro's first signing since Tony Mowbray was sacked on Monday 21st October and Mark Venus was made caretaker boss.

Ayala permanently joined Boro on 24th January 2014 for a fee reported to be £350,000.

Ayala and his Boro teammates lost out in the 2014/15 Championship play-offs to Norwich but went on to finish second in 2015/16 and secure promotion to the Premier League. He scored three times in 39 appearances in the latter season. He won the PFA Fans' Player of the Year award for the Championship.

Ayala and Boro were relegated to the Championship on 8th May 2017 following a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea - Ayala didn't play in that game but made 17 appearances that season.

Media reports in June 2020 suggested that Ayala was to reject a new contract with Boro and leave the Riverside Stadium with Leeds United keen to sign him. Ayala left Boro on 27th June 2020, along with teammate Rudy Gestede, after they failed to agree contract extensions. According to Wales Online on 4th August 2020, Swansea manager Steve Cooper is supposedly interested in adding an experienced central defender and Ayala is a potential signing. Ayala was also linked with Birmingham whose new manager Altor Karanka was at Boro with Ayala. Spanish side Leganes are also said to be interested. He was then expected to move to Saudi Arabia in early September but instead signed a three year contract with Blackburn Rovers on 15th September 2020.

On 18th May 2023 it was announced that Ayala would leave Ewood Park at the end of his contract in June 2023. He had played 56 times for Rovers with his time there plagued with injuries. His final appearance was the 4-3 win over Millwall on the final day of the 2022/23 season in which Blackburn just missed out on the play-offs.

After trialling with Bristol Rovers in October 2023, Ayala signed for Rotherham on 27th October 2023 until the end of the 2023/24 season. He said "It's been hard to not have a team and be training on my own so I'm delighted to be here and I can't wait to get started." Ayala left Rotherham on 8th March 2024. A long term achilles tendon injury meant that he was excluded from the Millers' Championship squad list at the end of the January 2024 transfer window. That meant that he would not have been able to play until the 2024/25 season at the earliest yet his contract was due to end in the summer. He played just seven games for Rotherham and was sent off twice.

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