Pablo Fornals continues to cement himself as a hero amongst the West Ham fanbase despite leaving the club months ago.

It may be a bit of an overused term at this point, but Pablo Fornals really ‘got’ what it meant to be a West Ham player. His work rate, his heart and his determination made him a perfect example of what the West Ham way really is.

Unfortunately, the love affair ended abruptly in January as the Spanish midfielder returned to his home country to play for Real Betis. While it wasn’t what fans necessarily wanted, they understood why it had to happen and Fornals has shed some light on what exactly went down.

“Moyes told me he couldn’t give me the minutes I was asking for,” he explained. “I wasn’t the typical footballer they wanted to get rid of but I was participating less this season. The situation was favourable, my contract was ending and, mentally, for me and my family it had already ended in London.”

He added: “If it wasn’t at Christmas, it would have been in the Summer.”

While he may no longer be wearing claret and blue, he does still bear a physical reminder of his time in East London with a tattoo of the Conference League trophy that he played a massive part in securing. “I have the Conference League trophy tattooed on me, like Mourinho, so who says playing in it is not worth it? Let them say what they want, but I’d rather retire with a Cup than without it.”

When most players move clubs, they are scared to talk about their previous one out of fear of upsetting their current fans. Not Pablo though. He has consistently spoken about how much West Ham means to him and how much he adores the special relationship he has with the fans, most recently claiming that he is a lifelong Hammer.

“Whoever the manager is, I will continue to support West Ham,” Fornals stated. “They still love me almost more there than at Betis. It’s a mutual feeling.”

You’d struggle to find a player more unanimously adored by a fanbase than Pablo Fornals is by the East London faithful. He was never the fanciest, most skilful or even best player at the club, but he knew exactly what we wanted to see. That goal against AZ Alkmaar will never be forgotten, and the little man who scored it will forever be one of our own.