Monday, July 8, 2013

Iago Aspas in profile

Liverpool's latest signing Iago Aspas was born on August 1, 1987 in Moana, a small town inhabited by fewer than 20,000 people in Galicia on the north-west coast of Spain.
Celta Vigo was his passion growing up and in 1995 they recognised his potential and recruited Aspas for their youth set-up at the tender age of seven.
From then up until 2006 he worked his way through the ranks, watching from within as the fortunes of the Celta senior side fluctuated from promotion to the Primera Division, to the heights of Champions League qualification and then eventual relegation to the Segunda Division in the summer of 2007.
It was with this as the backdrop that he made his first steps into the first team at the end of the 2008-09 campaign.
Having watched him impress in the B side, Celta's staff now wanted him at the Balaidos, in front of 30,000 expectant fans, to prove that he could do it for the senior side.
Aspas helped himself to two goals in three games at the end of that campaign, and sent out a statement of intent for the following season.
A tenacious, energetic and dogged battler - he combines raw commitment with a fine set of attacking skills.
He can play through the middle or out wide; he can be a clinical finisher or a generous provider. He will drop deep, play off the shoulder or ghost in from the flank.
Throughout the 2009-10 season, he played 36 games and fired five goals as Celta finished 12th in the Segunda.
They were 22 points from promotion; however, they were about to embark on an upwards trajectory, and Aspas would grow steadily into the integral component of their assault on promotion.
At the end of the 2010-11 season they scraped into the play-off spots via sixth position. However, there was heartache for the fans and personal disappointment for Aspas as he was sent off for a second bookable offence in the semi-final and Granada held their nerve to eliminate Celta on penalties.
The heartbreak of play-off defeat hit home for Aspas, and in the following campaign he upped his game remarkably and was unplayable throughout the promotion-winning campaign of 2011-12.
Champions Deportivo racked up an impressive 91 points as they swept their way to first spot; however, just behind them with 85 were Aspas and co, occupying the second promotion place.
He had been a revelation and his cutting edge in front of goal had made the difference. His movement, agility and burst of pace had stung defenders the length and breadth of the country.
And a career-best of 23 league goals allowed former Liverpool coach Paco Herrera, who worked under Rafael Benitez at Anfield, to guide Os Celestes back to the top division for the first time in five years.
His performances earned Aspas shining reviews from sections of the media as Celta Vigo headed for La Liga.
He had also established himself as a fan favourite - his innate dedication to the Celta cause shining through out on the field. A fiery combination of tenacity, zeal and sublime skill helped him net 12 goals in 34 games throughout the 2012-13 campaign.
His shining performances attracted the attention of Brendan Rodgers, who swooped to make Aspas his third signing of the summer on June 23, 2013.



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