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Time for a closer look at the team that visits the Camp Nou on Saturday 22 December (6.30pm CET) TICKETS HERE
The several small clubs in Vigo, on the Atlantic coast not far from the Portuguese border, 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 the region of Galicia, where it vies for supremacy with traditional rivals Deportivo La Coruña.
The last decade 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.
HEAD TO HEAD
Although there have been cases of Barça running away with this fixture (5-0 in 2017 and 6-1 in 2016), the last eight league meetings have produced three wins each and two draws (both last season).
Barça also beat Celta 5-0 at Camp Nou and 6-1 on aggregate in the Copa del Rey last year, but it’s only four years since Celta last won in the Barça stadium.
So if recent history is anything to go by, this is a game that Barça will either cruise, or one where we could slip up nastily.
Celta’s 2018/19 campaign has been on a generally downward curve. They lost just one of their first seven games, but then lost four of their next six.
Following a change of manager, two wins and a draw in December have been an improvement, but they crashed out of the Copa del Rey at the hands of Real Sociedad.
The biggest name at Celta is Iago Aspas, viewed by many as the finest young striker in Spain and who has shipped ten of Celta’s league goals this season, and is set to become La Liga’s top scoring Spanish player of 2018. And with five goals in the last seven meetings with Barça, he’s the deadliest scorer against us in recent years.
The other main source of goals (8) has been Uruguayan Maxi Gómez. They’re a team that take their chances. Their 18.3% shot conversion rate is only topped by Barça with 22%.
With four goals and five assists, attacking midfielder Brais Méndez is having a fine season too, as is club stalwart Hugo Mallo at right-back.
The most successful new additions to the squad this season include Mexican defender Néstor Araujo and Spaniard Fran Beltrán, signed from Rayo Vallecano.
Young centre back David Costas was at Barça B on loan last season, and made one first team appearance as a substitute for Gerard Piqué against Murcia in the Copa del Rey – and left back David Juncà also spent a couple of years at La Masia in his youth.
Miguel Cardoso replaced the sacked Antonio Mohamed last month. From Portugal, Cardoso’s background is as a footballing academic rather than player. As well as working at several clubs in his home country, mainly as an assistant manager, he has also spent time at Deportivo, Shakhtar Donetsk and Nantes.
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