Daniel Sanchez Ayala journey through English football started when he signed for Liverpool FC in the summer of 2007 at the age of 16. The Seville born defender chose to ply his trade professionally in England, amid interests from Sevilla, where he developed as a footballer up until that point.
Ayala became a crucial figure in the Liverpool Under-18s and regularly featured in the Reserves team as well. His impressive displays in the 2009/2010 preseason tours in Switzerland and Thailand, pushed him up the pecking order and on August 16 August 2009, Ayala made his debut as a substitute in Liverpool's defeat to Spurs. Three days later, he lined up as a starter against Stoke City at Anfield.
The club was satisfied with his development and consequently, extended his contract by two years (until September 2012). However, at the start of the 2010 season, he secured a loan move to Hull City. By December 2010, he had already made 10 appearances and registered one goal, but he was forced to return to Anfield due to an injury.
It took him a month to recover from the hamstring injury, after which he was loaned out to Derby County, where he played 17 games until the end of the season. On August 16, his time as a Liverpool player came to an end as he was signed by a fellow Premier League outfit, Norwich City, for £800,000.
Paul Lambert’s side finished the 2011/2012 season in an impressive 12th, but Ayala had an underwhelming impact as his season was marred by injuries. Nevertheless, he made a total of 10 appearances for The Canaries in all competitions.
At the beginning of the 2012/2013 season, he was shipped out to Nottingham Forest on a season-long loan deal. Ayala made 12 appearances for Nottingham Forest and scored a single goal, which came in a 3-1 home win against Cardiff City.
Ayala’s next destination, where he has been since October 2013, was Middlesbrough FC. Boro signed him on a 93-day emergency loan from Norwich City. On his debut against Doncaster Rovers, he leapt to convert a corner with a superb header. It was Middlesbrough’s fourth and final goal of the match, which ended 4-0. Ayala maintained a high level of consistency since then, racking up at least 32 appearances per season from 2013/2014 to 2015/2016 (32, 34, 35). Over that period, he managed to net 13 times (6,4,3).
After the 2015/16 season, Boro won promotion back to the Premier League and Ayala featured prominently in the side, playing 14 times and scoring once. Unfortunately, the team finished 19th place, and they had to continue the following season in the second-tier.
In the 2017/2018 season, Daniel Ayala had a fruitful year in front of goal scoring 7 times in 34 league appearances, which was the highest return for a defender that season. Despite missing a significant part of 2018/2019 season due to suspensions, he still managed to start 34 games, scoring once. The goal came in a crucial 1-0 win against West Bromwich Albion in August.
He has played once for the Spanish U21s.
October 2013 - June 2020
August 2016 - August 2016
July 2013 - October 2013
July 2012 - June 2013
August 2011 - June 2012
July 2011 - August 2011
January 2011 - June 2011
July 2010 - January 2011
July 2009 - June 2010