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Time for a closer look at the team that FC Barcelona will be hosting on Sunday at 9pm CEST.
WHERE ARE THEY FROM?
With a population of just under 300,000, Vigo is the biggest city in the region of Galicia in northwest Spain, which has its own unique language and culture. Located on the Atlantic coast, just a few miles from the Portuguese border, it is home to the European Fisheries Control Agency, being a natural choice for that honour due to its close ties to that industry.
The several small teams in Vigo decided in 1923 that in order to be more competitive on a national level they would be better off combining forces as a single club. Thus Real Club Celta was formed, named in honour of the Celtic tradition in Galicia, where it vies for supremacy with local rivals Deportivo La Coruña.
The last decade or so has been the best in club history, but although Celta are regularly in contention for Champions League places, 2003 was the only year that they actually qualified. Their finest showing in the Europa League was a a run to quarter finals in 2016–17, where they eventually went out to Manchester United.
HEAD TO HEAD
Although there have been cases of Barça running away with this fixture (6-1 in 2016, 5-0 in 2017 and 5-0 in the cup in 2018), the last sixteen league meetings have also seen Celta get six wins, just one fewer than Barça in the same period.
They've been something of a bogey team for Barça of late, and have even won twice at Camp Nou, 1-0 in 2014 when goalkeeper Sergio Álvarez was simply extraordinary, and 2-1 the season before last, when Santi Mina scored twice to cancel out Leo Messi’s opener.
Following an extraordinary game at Balaidos last year, when Celta came from 3-0 down to snatch a 3-3 draw, Barça won the return fairly comfortably, 3-1 with one goal from Memphis and two from Aubameyang.
Last five meetings (all La Liga)
10/05/22 Barça 3-1 Celta
06/11/21 Celta 3-3 Barça
16/05/21 Barça 1-2 Celta
01/10/20 Celta 0-3 Barça
27/06/20 Celta 2-2 Barça
Celta have got off to a somewhat irregular start to the season. There have been hefty 4-1 defeats to both Real Madrid (at home) and Atlético Madrid (away) and the 3-0 defeat at Valencia was disappointing too.
But they have also won three games, enough to keep them in mid-table. After seeing off Girona and Cádiz, perhaps their most impressive result this season was last week's 1-0 defeat of high-flying Betis.
Iago Aspas has once again been the standout player, scoring five of the team's nine goals so far.
Most capped internationals
Renato Tapia (Peru, 77); Iago Aspas (Spain, 18), Luca de la Torre (USA, 12), Agustín Marchesín (Argentina, 8), Joseph Aidoo (Ghana, 10); Franco Cervi (Argentina, 4), Jørgen Strand Larsen (Norway, 3)
Right-back Óscar Mingueza (below) a product of La Masia, had played 46 first team games for FC Barcelona in two seasons before being sold to Celta this summer. This will be his first return to the club where he grew up.
Another familiar face is striker Carles Pérez, who spent his teenage years at Barça and became one of the stars of Barça B while also getting the occasional outing with the senior team. In 2020 he departed for Roma, and is currently on loan from the Italian club.
Somebody else who knows the Camp Nou very well indeed is Denis Suárez (below) He was sold from Barça B to Villarreal in 2015, but the Catalans exercised the buyback clause a year later. After 46 games for the first team, he went on loan to Arsenal last season before being sold to Celta in the summer of 2019.
Eduardo Coudet spent his entire playing career in his native Argentina, other than a short spell in the USA prior to his retirement.
He then went into management, mainly in Argentina, but also at Tijuana in Mexico and Internacional in Brazil, his most notable achievement coming when he guided Racing Club to a rare league title in 2019. He has been in charge of Celta since November of 2020 in what is his first experience of European football.
However, he may be absent for this game after travelling to Argentina for personal reasons. His assistant Ariel Broggi has been overseeing training this week.
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