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Celta Vigo - The Return of Makélélé

Started on 13 January 2016 by MeanGreenKillingMachine
Latest Reply on 24 March 2016 by Griffo
Finished very strong and an impressive win over Barcelona!
Griffo and SooruSooru: It was an awesome win, shame it wasn't enough to send us through though :(
Cabral heads back to Argentina

- Celta's vice captain agrees move to Boca Juniors in the summer.

- The Argentine side paid €1,000,000 to acquire Cabral's services.
Cabral (centre) joined los Celestes in 2012, playing 73 games and scoring three times.

Another transfer related story for Celta, as Argentine defender Cabral, 31, has signed a transfer with Argentinian Premier League team Boca Juniors. While he's played very well for los Celestes, and as vice captain is one of the first names on the team sheet for most matches, it is reported that upon hearing of Boca's interest, Cabral expressed his desire to return to his home country to manager Makélélé. Celta's French boss had this to say on the deal:

"Obviously, losing Gustavo is a huge blow to everyone here at the club. He's been a fantastic servant to the club for over four years, and I honestly can't remember a game he's been in where he hasn't played his heart out. But with Boca Juniors willing to take him on, Gustavo described his wish to return to Argentina and ply his trade. I can understand where he's coming from and wish him the best of luck with his new team."

Cabral began his career with Racing Club in Argentina, playing 112 times before signing for fellow Argentine team River Plate in 2008. After two seasons, he moved abroad for the first time in his career, joining Tecos in Mexico and playing with them for one season. Despite being a regular starter, he returned to his home country with Arsenal de Sarandi. From there he was loaned Spanish sides Levante and Celta, joining the latter permanently in 2013. After five years in Spain, Cabral will play a final season in the Liga BBVA before joining Boca in July.

Great result against Barca; who are you looking at to replace Cabral?
Always dangerous morale wise when getting rid of a captain or vice-captain, hope it doesn't change toooo much
Sergio Alvarez appointed as new Celta vice captain

- Goalkeeper appointed to role after Cabral's transfer to Boca was signed.

- Alvarez has only been Celta's first choice 'keeper since 2014, despite joining the club as a 15-year-old in 1999.

In what might be considered a surprising move from Makélélé, Gustavo Cabral has been replaced as vice captain halfway through the season. His successor, goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez, has already captained the team once this season against Valencia, and it seems that Makélélé has been impressed by his leadership skills. Many at the club assumed Hugo Mallo, also a Celta youth product, would be taking the vice captain responsibility, but remains as one of the stand-ins should Alvarez or captain Augusto Fernandez not be on the pitch.

Center back Gustavo Cabral was reportedly very understanding of the shift. "I was the one that wanted to leave the club in the first place, so I can see why the boss has removed me." Cabral told Marca's reporter. "Sergio [Alvarez] is a great candidate to replace me, he's a very talented goalkeeper and it's very reassuring to play with him between the sticks. Being appointed vice captain is a deserved reward for Sergio."

Alvarez was similarly overjoyed with the news. "It's a big honour for me to captain Celta, even though it's just as vice captain. To be recognised by the club where I've spent my whole career is amazing, I can't thank the manager enough." Alvarez has been Makélélé's first choice goalkeeper since the Frenchman arrived at the club, and the 31 year old will hope that this continues following his appointment.
Really nice couple of updates mate! Hopefully losing such a big figure doesnt ruin your morale too much and things keep going strong! Great win vs barca too!!
Should be a good man to take the role up, great to see how much you detail you can put into such a small event, impressive!
I don't really know how I feel about keeper captains (I know its only vice) just yeh.. id like to know how people feel it would actually effect a team in an actual match.
good shout as vice captain, interesting to see what effect it has on the squad

Celta 2 -1 Malaga
Sergio (c) - Foulquier Cabral Costas Planas (Jonny '63) - Madinda A. Lopez - Hupperts Hernandez (Lopez '76) Bongonda - Guidetti (B. Fernandez '78)
Goals: Recio ('9), Guidetti ('74, '77)
MoM: John Guidetti

Celta began February at home against Malaga, a team doing well in the league. Los Boquerones opened the scoring through midfielder Recio, who picked up a good ball from Ricardo Horta, before turning and shooting past Sergio Alvarez. They almost got another halfway through the first half, but Alvarez managed to save spectacularly to keep out Ignacio Camacho's header. Aside from Moroccan winger Amrabat missing a good chance, little else happened in the first half, which finished at 1-0. Celta began to get back into the game after the restart, a header from Bongonda crashing off the bar to groans from the home fans. Los Celestes finally equalised when Guus Hupperts charged down the right end and whipped in a cross. The ball was met by the foot of Guidetti who finished powerfully into the roof of the net. It didn't take long for him to add a second, this time a deft side footed effort from a Nicolas Lopez cross. Guidetti's late goals were enough to give Celta a great comeback victory, and all three points.

Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg
Wolfsburg 0 - 1 Celta
Sergio (c) - Mallo Costas Fontas Jonny - Wass A. Lopez (Madinda '76) - Hupperts Lopez Sarabia - Guidetti (Hernandez '62)
Goals: Hupperts ('25)
MoM: Jonny

A great first leg win from Celta, as they recorded a fantastic victory in Germany and kept a clean sheet to set themselves up well for the second leg. Los Celestes nearly took the lead some seven minutes in, some good passing finding Nicolas Lopez in space in front of goal. Rather than shoot, he rather unselfishly laid it off to Hupperts, but his pass was too long and the Dutchman could only hit the post from the tight angle. He atoned for this miss around fifteen minutes later however, heading home from Jonny's fantastic cross to score a vital away goal. The home side did come very close several times throughout the match, with Sergio Alvarez having a very busy day, keeping out efforts from Schurrle, Vierinha and Max Kruse. Alvarez's goalkeeping as well as the combined efforts of all of Celta's defence, ensured that they held onto the slim lead until the end of the match, and will be confident of securing a result back in Spain in a week.

Celta 1 - 0 Almeria
Sergio (c) - Foulquier Costas (Cabral ('56) Gomez Planas ('81) - B. Fernandez Madinda - Wass (Sarabia '56) Señe (Hernandez '74) Bongonda - Lopez
Goals: Bongonda ('77)
MoM: Nicolas Lopez

Makélélé's side recorded their third win in all competitions this month, this one a hard fought home victory over Almeria. The first half passed with little happening, both teams retaining possession and playing relatively cautiously, and the whistle blew at 0-0. Los Celestes nearly took the lead an hour in, but Borja Fernandez's powerful drive only found the post. Theo Bongonda finally hit the back of the net for Celta, a mazy run into Almeria's box ending with him gliding past Gaztañaga and drilling the ball past the away 'keeper. The Belgian winger's late effort was enough to put Celta in front, and the whistle blew for full time at 1-0 to the home side.

Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg
Celta 1 - 0 Wolfsburg
Sergio (c) - Mallo Costas Fontas Jonny - Wass A. Lopez - Hupperts Hernandez (Lopez '53) Bongonda - Guidetti (Gomez '76)
Goals: Bongonda ('56)
MoM: Hugo Mallo

A great win for Celta, as another 1-0 victory against Wolfsburg proved enough to send them through into the Round of 16. Roared on by some 31,000 fans, Makélélé's side played fantastically to win the second leg. Neither team seemed to have the best of the first half, however Celta did begin to impose themselves towards the end, David Costas even managing to poke the ball over the line from a free kick on 45 minutes, only to see his effort flagged for offside. Some ten minutes into the second half, Nicolas Lopez crossed into the box. The ball fell to Guidetti, who knocked it first time to Bongonda who fired home to make the score 2-0 on aggregate. Los Celestes managed to hold onto their lead, some fantastic defending contributing to keeping Wolfsburg from scoring a potentially important away goal. The home fans exploded into cheers on the final whistle, as they celebrated their team making it into the next round of the Europa League.

Atletico 1 - 1 Celta
Sergio (c) - Mallo Cabral Costas Jonny - Fontas (Lopez '61) Wass A. Lopez - Hupperts (Sandro '61) Bongonda (Sarabia '75) - Guidetti
Goals: Guidetti ('79), Khazri ('86)
MoM: John Guidetti

A creditable draw at the Vicente Calderon followed Celta's Europa League success, as they shared a point with Atletico. A great save from Alvarez denied Ferreira-Carrasco an early goal on six minutes, and his counterpart Jan Oblak had to make a similar effort to keep out Huppert's close range shot not long after. Another save from Alvarez at the end of the first half kept the scores at 0-0, and the half time whistle blew at a stalemate. A rather drab first half followed, but Celta finally took the lead going into the last ten minutes of the match. A great counter attack led to Sandro playing a fantastic ball over Atletico's defence, which was gathered by Guidetti. Celta's top scorer charged into the box before unleashing a curling shot that nestled in the bottom corner. It didn't take the home side too long to respond however, new signing Wahib Khazri running onto a fantastic pass from Koke and lifting the ball over Alvarez to draw the game level. A good game from both sides and a draw was definitely a fair result.

Barcelona 2 - 0 Celta
Sergio (c) - Foulquier Cabral (Gomez '62) Costas Jonny - Fontas Wass (Hernandez '78) Madinda - Hupperts Sarabia - Guidetti (Lopez '62)
Goals: Suarez ('17), Cabral OG ('47)
MoM: Lionel Messi

Celta finished the month with a tough game, away against Barcelona. With an unbeaten record so far this month, and two wins against los Cules earlier in the season, Makélélé's team would have been relatively confident of securing a result. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Suarez got the ball rolling for Barça, sprinting onto a Lionel Messi pass and finishing past Celta's 'keeper. Despite the former Liverpool being offside, the goal stood and the Catalonians led 1-0. Barcelona had a couple of other attempts at goal, but the magnificent Sergio Alvarez was there to keep los Celestes in the game. His excellent form meant that half time whistle blew at 1-0. The second half wasn't much better for Makélélé's side, as Barça doubled their lead just a few minutes in. A Neymar corner met the head of Pique, who's effort was palmed away by Alvarez. However the ball rebounded straight off defender Gustavo Cabral's head and into the goal, giving Barcelona another lucky goal. Despite Celta trying hard to get back into the game, Barcelona's defence was simply too good and they managed to hold onto their lead and claim a very lucky victory.

League Table

1. Real Madrid (61pts)
2. FC Barcelona (54pts)
3. Celta (51pts)
4. Malaga (44pts)

5. Atletico (44pts)
6. Valencia (44pts)

16. Rayo (24pts)
17. Almeria (23pts)
18. Cordoba (20pts)
19. Real Valladolid (20pts)
20. Eibar (20pts)

Celta finished the month in 3rd, and have progressed to the Round of 16 in the Europa League.

Player of the Month

Young Belgian winger Theo Bongonda is February's player of the month, after a good showing in both the league and in Celta's Europa League success. Scoring twice this month, against Almeria and Wolfsburg, has reflected his overall contribution to the team, and with Pablo Sarabia not demonstrating the amazing form he showed last season, Bongonda looks set to be Makélélé's first choice left winger.

John Guidetti also deserves a mention, after netting three times and winning the man of the match award against Malaga.
Very close to Barcelona... impressive!
Great month mate and great update! Keep em coming!
Celta to play against Newcastle United in Round of 16

Following their 2-0 aggregate win over Wolfsburg, Celta will now face Premier League opposition in the Europa League. This is definitely one of the more interesting ties in the competition, with both teams playing in Europe for the first time in a few seasons, with Celta not playing continental football since 2006. The first game will take place at Balaidos, meaning that los Celestes will have the opportunity to set themselves up well for the second leg in England.

Fellow Spanish side Real Betis are also through to the Round of 16, as they beat PSV 2-1 on aggregate, a strong first leg proving enough for the Seville club to progress. Surprisingly, Shakhtar Donetsk achieved a shock result to beat Barcelona 3-1 on aggregate. The Catalonian giants dropped out of the Champions League, finishing third in their group behind holders Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen, and are now out of Europe completely after a disappointing showing against the Ukrainian club.

The full list of Round of 16 ties is as follows:

Celta v Newcastle

Shakhtar Donetsk v Liverpool

Tottenham v Saint-Etienne

Feyenoord v Roma

Inter Milan v Olympique Marseille

Stuttgart v FC Basel

Zenit St. Petersburg v Real Betis

Olympique Lyonnais v Lazio

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