La Liga

Is Iago Aspas one of the best players in the world?

Celta Vigo’s hero is stepping it up once again this season with what could be his best season ever.

12:40pm on Monday 11th January 2021
Nicholas Hughes

Continuing to fly under the radar, Iago Aspas is having a simply fantastic season in La Liga.

His 14 goals almost single-handedly kept Celta Vigo in the league last season as they avoided the drop by a single point, but Aspas has hauled the side up the table this season, currently sitting in eighth.

The former Liverpool and Sevilla man already has nine goals and six assists through 17 games – just two goal involvements less than the entirety of his 2019/20 season.

33 yrs - ST (C) - Celta
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Aspas entered this season on a perfect 100 La Liga goals for Vigo – the only player in the club’s history to do so. In fact, his 161 goals in total for the club are more than twice as many as second place.

His FC rating of 97 currently has him in the top 10 form players in the world and at 33 years of age, there is a realistic chance of him going to the Euros in Spain in the summer.

Any Premier League fan that hasn’t watched much Spanish football would be forgiven for not believing some of these numbers.

Aspas was so bad for Liverpool during his one season at the club, starting just five league games and failing to score, with his most memorable contribution being the almost impossibly terrible corner against Chelsea.

Even the following season was a struggle at Sevilla with just two goals in 16 appearances, of which only four were starts.

But from there, Aspas has consistently been one of the best performers in La Liga. Thirteen goals in his first season back at Celta is his lowest tally has he has exceeded 15 goal involvements in every season.

And this season is looming as his best ever. In 17 games, Aspas has been recognised as man of the match on eight occasions – just about one in every two games.

He currently leads all La Liga players in goals and assists, with Lionel Messi closest on 13, going at 0.92 contributions per 90 minutes – only Luis Suarez and Mikel Oyarzabal have a better average.

Aspas has created 11 big chances throughout the season, with Messi’s 12 the only higher total, and his 0.37 assists P90 is the best among players to have played over 1,000 minutes.

The nine goals – which place him equal third in the league – at a rate of 0.55 goals P90 are impressive enough, but even more so when seeing that he only has 1.8 shots P90.

Compare that to the other three players around the top of the golden boot race. Messi leads with 11 goals, Gerard Moreno has 10 and Suarez is equal on nine – all average more than three shots P90, with Messi in particular registering an average of 6.2 attempts P90.

At present Aspas is showing no signs of slowing down with age. Playing centrally more often versus out on the right, he is on course for his most productive season yet.

As the captain of his boyhood club, a team that he pulled from the depths of relegation, his performances are something to marvel at and he will have eyes on carrying the team to a European place this season.

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