Player profile: Iago Aspas

Club: RC Celta de Vigo

Position: Striker

Age: 35 (born August 1, 1987)

Country: Spain (6 goals in 18 games since 2016)

LaLiga Player Iago Aspas

On his second stint at the Balaidos, the proud son of Galicia is the guiding light for the once-proud club that is looking to return to its glorious days in the past.

The vice-captain of Los Celeste is the main man up front for the Vigo outfit, who are looking to return to their EuroCelta days of the decade’s past. Wherever he leads, Celta follows.

Beginnings in Celta Born in the nearby town of Moaña in the province of Pontevedra, Iago Aspas was brought to Celta de Vigo’s fabled Cantera, which counts Michel Salgado, Rodrigo, and Denis Suarez as its notable alumni.

Aspas made his first team debut towards the end of the 2007-08 season, with the club in their first year of the Segunda since their relegation a season prior.

Juggling his time between their reserves and the first team, he finally made the latter in the 2009-10 campaign, scoring six goals in 43 matches as Celta was stuck in the mid-table of the second tier.

They were stuck in the second tier until 2012, with their Primera dreams finally coming true by being automatically promoted to La Liga, with Aspas fired in 23 goals for Celta, who came in second, six points behind bitter rivals Deportivo La Coruña.

His first-ever campaign in the first division saw him score a dozen as Celta barely escape the dropback, winning their last two matches to get a point ahead of Mallorca.

Stay with Liverpool

In 2013, he was signed by Liverpool as part of the Reds’ Premier League aspirations, but his stay at Anfield was a mess in his sole season away from Spain.

Having to contend with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, and Luis Suarez up front, Aspas went scoreless in his 14 Premier League appearances as Liverpool saw their title dreams collapse at the end.

Following that, he was then shipped to Sevilla on loan and had a brief resurgence of his career when he won the Europa League. He was their top scorer in their Copa Del Rey run with seven goals, but their quest ended in the quarterfinal.

A glorious return to Balaidos

The Andalusian side sent Aspas back to Galicia in 2015 and he instantly became the striker Celta needed, scoring 14 goals in his return to Vigo, including a brace in their famous 4-1 win over eventual champions Barcelona en route to their best La Liga finish in more than a decade, subsequently returning to European football.

Celta hit their peak the following season, in which they sensationally made it to the last four of the Copa Del Rey and Europa League as Aspas hit a career-best 26 goals. The following year, he hit his career-high 22 goals in La Liga as Celta achieved stability in subsequent seasons.