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Former non-league player just three games away from Real Madrid showdown

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Former non-league player just three games away from Real Madrid showdown

Football can take people across all four corners of the globe and that has certainly been the case for 31-year-old Ross Allen.

Allen was a hero playing for local non-league side Guernsey for the best part of seven years, scoring an extremely impressive 239 goals in 226 appearances for the club before deciding to go travelling, where he eventually found a new home, in New Zealand.

His footballing background saw him earn a contract with top-flight side Team Wellington, and it has proved to be a successful move for him, with the team winning the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League back in May.

As such, they have qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup, which is set to take place later this month and could see Allen line up against the likes of Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale for Real Madrid, if they can reach the final.

Unsurprisingly, Allen can’t quite believe the opportunity he and his teammates have been presented with. "It's something I never really imagined would ever happen at this stage of my career," Allen told BBC Radio Guernsey.

"Even going back a year, just travelling out to New Zealand I knew this was something that could possibly happen, but I just fell in with the right team.

"We've done really well to win the Champions League, and to have the opportunity to play in a competition against some of these teams is unbelievable."

Modric Real Madrid
Allen could come up against 2018 Ballon D'Or winner Luka Modric

How can they face Real Madrid?

A potential showpiece date with Madrid is still a long way off for Wellington, who must overcome three different ties before they reach the final. First, they must compete in the play-off game against Al Ain in Abu Dhabi, in which they are already the underdogs to progress.

Next would be Tunisia's African club champions Esperance in the quarter-finals, who would await the task of recent Copa Libertadores champions River Plate in the last four. Then would in all probability would be Madrid, who are expected to comfortably beat either one of Japan’s Kashima Antlers or Mexico’s Guadalajara in their semi-final.

Wellington face Al-Ain tomorrow afternoon, though history doesn’t bode well for teams from Oceania, with a club from their federation reaching the semi-finals just once in the history of the competition.

That came back in 2014, where Club Auckland managed to achieve a third-placed finish after losing to San Lorenzo in the semi-final. Still, Allen remains optimistic about their chances."It's going to be a really hard ask to just win that one game, but I think we've got a chance," he added.

"They've got home advantage, but we've got a really strong group, very competitive in training and some really good players.

"If we can get past that first game we're a team that's very good when we're playing well and winning games - momentum and confidence can really carry us through.

"If we're fortunate enough to get into the semi-finals and in and amongst those big teams then it'll really be a dream come true."