Why Celta Vigo fans would fund a statue of Iago Aspas outside their stadium after this season’s relegation-battling heroics
The weather was awful on Sunday when Celta and Real Sociedad duked it out at a stormy Balaidos, with quite different goals for both sides. Real had the chance of clinging to that last-minute train to the European spots, whereas the home team had other worries on their minds. In their case, it was a matter of survival in the Spanish Primera.
Ninety minutes later, the whole stadium was on their feet. Chanting. Clapping. Delivering a standing ovation to Celta’s number 10, who had done it again: a brace to turn the score around and deliver three points for his team. If you had asked at that precise moment if he was worthy of a statue outside the stadium, 100% of the fans in the stands would have said ‘yes’.
Just how important is Iago Aspas currently for Celta de Vigo? Well, you might argue that he actually *is* Celta de Vigo.
We have written about Iago Aspas Juncal before. But his almost-mythical persona has become even more important within Celta. Just take the current season as an example: he got injured in December and was in the sidelines for three months. In that time, Celta only picked up four points. They were second-to-last in LaLiga when Aspas was once again fit to play.
In only seven days, Iago resurrected the whole club and, you could argue, the whole city of Vigo.
His show began against Villarreal last weekend. Celta were 0-2 down at home in a fixture against a direct competitor in the race to avoid relegation. Everything seemed lost… until Aspas worked his magic.
He scored a brace to turn around the game and, when subbed, his tears spread across TV like wildfire. The struggle, the pressure, the emotion, all swept through Iago’s body while he was on the bench after a humungous effort, playing more minutes than expected due to the nature of the game. After the final whistle, everybody ran to hug him and thank him for his excellent performance.
A few days later, Celta tackled another challenge as they visited bottom of the league Huesca with the chance of escaping relegation spots. They were unable to pick the three points, but their number 10 again delivered a masterclass: one goal, two assists which were crucial for the final score (3-3).
And then, along came Celta’s match against Real Sociedad. A game of epic proportions played under epic weather, with a typical Vigo storm sweeping through the stadium and making the fixture even tougher for the players. Not for Aspas, though. He danced around the pitch yet again, passing and generating dangerous chances for his side. Scored a pen, scored a second, turned around the opener Willian José goal.
He left the pitch late in the game in similar fashion as the week before, but this time there were no tears in his eyes. Just a grin full of confidence. He has reasons to be happy: five goals and two assists in a single week, seven points out of nine for his team, Celta are finally out of the relegation spots.
And all thanks to a 31-year old player who is already a living, breathing legend in his city.
But there’s more. Even after three months out due to an injury, Aspas is the best Spanish scorer in LaLiga (15 goals, two more than Rayo’s Raúl de Tomás). His efficiency rate is astounding: 0.71 goals per game (15 in 21 games played). He’s the best Spanish player in the business: he only needs 115 minutes to score, with Levante’s Roger Marti coming second with a goal every 142 minutes. And even if we count all nationalities, there’s only one player who improves his record.
The legend of Iago Aspas continues to grow.