5 players you didn't know played for Celta Vigo

Celta Vigo's David Silva (L) vies with A
Muhammad Saad

Frankly speaking, there are only two teams that come to mind whenever you think of La Liga - Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Maybe other well-known Spanish clubs such as Atlético Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla and Villareal will come to the fore if you think a bit harder but needless to say, Celta de Vigo are not one of the most popular Spanish teams in the world.

At the end of the day, they have only clinched the second division trophy thrice and have finished runners-up in the Copa del Rey on three occasions when it comes to major titles, clearly not something to be excessively proud of. The recently-concluded 2017-18 season saw the club finish 13th in La Liga.

Nevertheless, the dearth of success does not mean that the club does not deserve appreciation or any form of recognition at all.

After all, they have produced several noteworthy talents over the course of their not-so-illustrious history.

On that note, here are 5 big names who have passed through the Celta Vigo's ranks in recent years before finding success elsewhere.

#5 Rodrigo

Valencia CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga

The Brazil-born player moved to Spain in his early teens, where he spent a chunk of his life at Celta Vigo's academy from 2005 to 2009.

Even though the current Valencia player did not get the opportunity to play for the senior Celta side, he improved his game by leaps and bounds during that stint. Rodrigo was particularly impressive in 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, helping Celta’s Juvenil side to reach the final of the Copa de Campeones, the main youth tournament for the age group in Spain.

In 2009, when Rodrigo was aged 18, he moved to Real Madrid, a switch enabled by his father who was a scout back then. The 27-year-old now plays for Valencia CF and was also a part of Spain's final 23-man squad for World Cup 2018.

#4 Denis Suárez

Barcelona v Real Sociedad - Copa Del Rey Quarter-final: Second Leg

Born in Spain in 1994, Denis Suarez played his youth football at Celta Vigo. The now Barcelona player made 15 appearances for the club's B side before leaving for Manchester City in 2011.

However, he failed to make the grade at his new settlement and was sold to Barcelona in 2013 to play for their B team. During his two-year spell for Barcelona B, he made 36 appearances and managed 7 goals.

The Spaniard shot to fame in the past couple of years having made 63 outings for Barcelona's first team over the course of the last two seasons, scoring 6 goals in the process.

#3 Rafinha

SS Lazio v FC Inter - Serie A

Rafinha, the younger brother of Thiago Alcântara, joined Celta Vigo in 2013 on loan from Barcelona.

During the only season he played for The Sky Blues, the Brazilian featured in 33 matches and racked up 4 goals for the club. He was also awarded La Liga's Breakthrough Player of the Season for his efforts in the same season.

As of now, he plays for Inter Milan on loan having made a move in January 2018. According to the terms of the transfer, the Italian giants have the option to buy him this summer.

#2 David Silva

Spain v Russia: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

The fact that David Silva played for Celta Vigo before making a name for himself in Premier League is something that not many football fans are aware of.

The Spain-born legend spent a significant part of his footballing career at Valencia, who loaned him to Celta de Vigo in 2005 after he returned from Eibar. During his time at Galicia, the now 32-year-old made 34 appearances for Celta and also notched up 4 goals for his respective side, inspiring the newly-promoted team to an impressive sixth-place La Liga finish.

Having served his apprenticeship, Silva was now welcomed straight into Valencia's first team when he returned to his boyhood club at the age of 20.

#1 Diego Costa

Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Widely feared for his vicious nature, Diego Costa spent the 2007-08 season on loan at Celta de Vigo partly under the tutelage of former Ballon d'Or winner Hristo Stoichkov, who underwent a short disappointing stint as manager.

In fact, all three forwards present in Spain's 2018 World Cup squad - Costa, Rodrigo and Aspas - were at Celta in 2007-08. The reason he was sent out on loan was because Atlético Madrid had no space for another striker with Diego Forlán, Sergio Agüero, José Antonio Reyes, Luis García and Simão Sabros all on their books in 2007.

During his time at Celta, the Spanish international improved his style of play, netting six goals in a total of 30 appearances. In spite of his contribution, Costa's aggressive manner earned him a reputation for being a disruptive influence.

Edited by Raunak J


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