The lowdown on RC Celta de Vigo

The lowdown on RC Celta de Vigo

A closer look at the guests in Saturday's fixture, who have caused several problems for FC Barcelona in recent years

Time for a closer look at the team that FC Barcelona will be visiting this Saturday at 6.30pm CEST.


With a population of just under 300,000, Vigo is the biggest city in the region of Galicia in north-west 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 club has never won either of the two biggest trophies in Spanish football, having lost in all three of their Copa del Rey final appearances, most recently in 2001.

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.


Balaídos holds 29,000 spectators and has existed since 1924, making it one of the oldest professional stadiums in the country. It has undergone several redevelopments since then, particularly for when it hosted games at the 1982 World Cup, and in recent years has been undergoing further redevelopments.


Although there have been cases of Barça running away with games against Celta (6-1 in 2016, 5-0 in 2017 and 5-0 in the cup in 2018), the last 19 league meetings have also seen Celta get seven wins.

In fact, they've been something of a bogey team for Barça of late, especially at their home ground, where Barça have only picked up one win from their last eight visits, including a 2-1 loss last season.  

Last five meetings (all La Liga)
23/09/23 Barça 3-2 Celta
04/06/23 Celta 2-1 Barça
09/10/22 Barça 1-0 Celta
10/05/22 Barça 3-1 Celta
06/11/21 Celta 3-3 Barça



Coach Rafa Benítez and his side have not been having the best of campaigns, and they currently lie just three points clear of the relegation zone. The Galicians only managed one win from their first 16 outings, and although they have won a further three since then, they have still been losing games more often, including back-to-back in their last two home fixtures against Real Sociedad and Girona.

They were enjoying a nice little run in the Copa del Rey, but crashed out 2-1 at home to Real Sociedad in the quarter finals.


As usual, a very close eye will need to be kept on Iago Aspas, who may not be an automatic starter under Rafa Benítez, but who is the highest scoring current player against Barça, with ten goals in his 18 games against them.

But another player to is Swedish striker Strand Larsen, who has scored nine times this season, including one of his team's two at the Estadi Olimpic earlier this season.

Most capped internationals
Renato Tapia (Peru, 79); Iago Aspas (Spain, 20), Luca de la Torre (USA, 20), Anastasios Douvikas (Greece, 15), Joseph Aidoo  (Ghana, 11), Jørgen Strand Larsen (Norway, 11), Mihailo Ristić (Serbia, 9), Carl Starfelt (Sweden, 7), Franco Cervi (Argentina, 4), Jonathan Bamba (Ivory Coast, 4)

Barça connections
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 last summer.


Another familiar face is striker Carles Pérez (below) 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 after playing for Celta on loan from the Italian club he was permanently signed last summer.

Carles Perez


Rafa Benítez is the man in the Celta hotseat and is someone who should need no introduction. After winning La Liga twice with Valencia, he went on to a number of high profile jobs including positions in the Premiership both at Liverpool and their arch-rivals Everton, as well as Chelsea and Newcastle. He was in charge of Real Madrid for a year and was in Serie A as coach of Inter Milan and Napoli.

Benítez was originally a product of the Real Madrid youth system, but injuries was the main reason why he never managed to play at the highest level. He took up coaching, and his impressive trophy haul is testimony that he has proved very adept indeed at the job. Last summer he replaced Carlos Carvalhal at Celta, but as yet his experience has not managed to turn the club's ailing fortunes around.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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