Fontàs playing for Celta this season. / celtavigo.net

Andreu Fontàs is in his second season with Celta Vigo after being brought to the club by none other than Luis Enrique in the summer of 2013. The two had previously worked together at Barça B and on Sunday they will meet again, only this time on opposite sides. The central defender is still only 25 years old but he brings plenty of experience to the Galician back four. Fontàs’ ability on the ball is a vital component in coach Eduardo Berizzo’s tactical plans with Celta looking for a repeat of the victory they recorded over Barça earlier in the season at Camp Nou.

Did Celta put in a perfect performance to beat Barça at Camp Nou?

“Yes, everything turned out perfectly for us, but even so, given we played very well going forward and at the back, Barça still had chances but were unable to take them. In contrast, we were effective and everything went our way.”

The coach is convincing us that it’s a great game to play in and if we play like we did at Camp Nou we will have a chance

Do you think you can surprise Barça again?

“Anything could happen. We know that it is difficult and that we are up against top-quality opposition but also that we will have a chance if we can play like we did in the first half of the season. Also, we will have the support of our fans. The coach is convincing us that it’s a great game to play in and if we play like we did at Camp Nou we will have a chance."

Half a season later, how do you explain how the season has gone for Celta since that triumph at Camp Nou?

“That victory was one of the best moments of the season, but then we went 10 games without a win. We went from the best to the worst. Things did not go our way. Even though we played well at times, results did not come. Now, we are back in form and we are in a more comfortable situation.”

Tenth in the table, 14 points off Europe and 12 above the relegation zone, is the team looking up or down?

“We are trying to look upwards. However, the priority from the beginning has been to avoid relegation. We need 40 points to be safe. From then on we can start to think about Europe, bearing in mind it will be difficult.”

It was Luis Enrique at Barça B who first played you at centre back. How did he convince you?

“It wasn’t that he had to convince me. At that time I usually played as a defensive midfielder and I didn’t have too many chances. But the chance came around to play there in defence and I grabbed it enthusiastically and I felt comfortable. The truth is that I would have played in whatever position was necessary."

For a local boy like you, how do you get used to playing against Barça, or is it always strange?

“It’s very special. It’s the day you can catch up with former team mates and friends. You mark it down in the calendar. I look forward to it, but yes, it is a little strange.”

The knee injury made me stronger, it showed me that not everything in football is great

Did the knee injury in 2011/12 change things on a footballing level and on a personal level?

“On a footballing level a lot. It affected me a lot and nobody who has been through that can say the opposite. You are away for months, with being able to work and it stops your development. Personally, it affected me. It made me stronger and it showed me that all is not so great in football. Up until that moment, I had never had a serious injury and everything had gone well. That helped me to grow.”

What is it about Vigo that has helped you settle so well?

“I am very happy here. I love the city, the club and the people. From the start, the coaches have put faith in me and that continuity gives me confidence and makes me feel good. That has been key because it was difficult after the injury with a loan spell at Mallorca. Here, everything has fallen into place.”

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