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The cult of Iago Aspas – from Merseyside meme to more important than Messi

Iago Aspas was a laughing stock at Liverpool, but in Spain there are few players more important to their respective clubs

Picture the worst corner you’ve ever taken and then multiply it by 10000; that is Iago Aspas’ Premier League legacy.

You all remember the incident. Liverpool fans definitely will.

For one reason or another Aspas’ Reds career never got going, but that naive swing of his left boot – straight to the feet of the gleeful Willian – signed his death warrant in England.


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Show this to a Liverpool fan

Action Images - Reuters
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Show this to a Liverpool fan

But every laughing stock deserves a second chance and the diminutive little Spaniard has emphatically grasped his with both hands.

No single player is doing more for their respective club in Spain this season. Not even Lionel Messi. Genuinely.

He may be a meme on Merseyside, but in a sunny seaside city on Spain’s north west coast Aspas is the flag bearer for all their dreams.

Pure passion

Getty - Contributor
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Pure passion

Celta Vigo are currently hovering two points above the La Liga relegation zone, but without the 31-year-old they would be long gone, dead and buried.

To say he is single-handedly preserving his boyhood club’s top-flight status doesn’t even begin to cover it.

After rejecting a mega-money, €7m-a-year move to China in January, Aspas has returned from a persistent calf injury to inject hope into Celta’s season.

Jumping for joy

Reuters
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Jumping for joy

In the nine games Aspas missed since the end of the Spanish winter break, Celta lost seven and won just once.

But since his timely comeback they are on the straight and narrow again, with their talisman scoring five goals and assisting two in just three appearances.

In the first of those, Celta were 2-0 down against relegation rivals Villarreal and Aspas was visibly still hampered by that calf problem.

He would go onto score twice, including a nerve-jangling 86th minute penalty, and then break down, overcome with emotion after acknowledging the magnitude of victory.

Aspas has 15 goals and four assists in his 21 La Liga appearances for a struggling club is outscoring Antoine Griezmann.

After lying about his age to get a trial at eight-years-old, Aspas has experienced the thick and thin of blending both player and supporter into one role.

More important than Messi

Getty - Contributor
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More important than Messi

When he was sidelined, according to Sid Lowe at The Guardian, Celta fans even made a shrine for him outside the Estadio de Balaidos, yearning for his return.

Well he’s back and Celta will hope his scoring exploits will save them from the perils of the drop.

They’ve never needed him more.

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History is repeating itself

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