'It's a dream' - Leeds United hero Pablo Hernandez reflects on sealing emotional Castellon return
The 36-year-old said a tearful goodbye to Elland Road in May ahead of his summer departure following a five-year stay in West Yorkshire.
Hernandez was a vital figure in the Whites resurgence back to the Premier League, playing a decisive role in the club's promotion run-in a year ago.
Leeds parted ways with the former Spain international as they agreed to terminate his contract a year early so he could move home to be with his family.
After assessing his options, Hernandez decided to move back to where his career began nearly 20 years ago. He also still holds shares in Castellón having helped the club stave off insolvency in 2017.
He was a youth player with his hometown team but was picked up by La Liga outfit Valencia as a youngster.
Hernandez has now returned to the club where he has strong family ties, penning a three-year contract which looks set to take him up to potential retirement.
Castellón officially unveiled Hernandez as a player on Monday and hung a poster of him on the Marathon Tower close to the club's home ground where his grandparents used to work.
“I am very happy to be here accompanied by my family," Hernandez told the media.
"Playing one day at Castellón was a dream since I was little when I came to Castalia with my father. This club means a lot to my family, my mother grew up here, since my grandparents were in charge of taking care of the old Castalia."
Castellón are currently in the third tier of Spanish football following relegation last term.
Hernandez, though, is now hoping he can help his own club up the divisions after playing a pivotal role for Leeds in recent seasons.
"The club has made a great effort to form a competitive group that will fight for promotion. I am aware of that pressure due to the expectations that my signing has generated," Hernandez added.
"However, the pressure has always helped me to improve and bring out the best in myself. I have to use my experience to help my colleagues. Despite being considered the leader, if we achieve the objectives it will be an achievement for the whole group.
"It is a new category for all teams. This league has a much higher level and it will be difficult to be at the top. Despite the difficulties, the club has formed a very competitive team that will surely be in the fight for promotion if we give one hundred percent every day."