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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
Hi All,

It's been a while since I've been on FM Scout, but, having bought Football Manager 2016 a few weeks ago and starting to enjoy playing it again, I thought I'd have another go at writing a Manager Story. I knew I've attempted it a couple of time and never managed to get past the first few months but I am confident that this time, doing it with my favorite team (Celta Vigo), I'll manage to actually get going!

In terms of managers, I've decided to play as one of my favorite players and former Celta midfielder, Claude Makélélé. Makélélé played for the team for two years in the late 90s and it was where he established himself as one of the best defensive players in Europe. He went on to play for Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSG. Since his retirement in 2011, Makélélé has dabbled in management, working as an assistant at PSG, as well as briefly managing SC Bastia from May 2014 to November of the same year. Now however, I'll be playing as him in an attempt to bring Celta Vigo into the upper echelons of Spanish and European football

¡Hala Celta!

Eduardo Berizzo sacked by RC Celta Vigo

- It is understood that the Argentine refused to sign a new contract to keep him at the club.

- Claude Makélélé is reported to be a favorite for the vacant position.

The former O'Higgins coach was appointed in May 2014, and led Celta to an 8th placed finish last season.

Galician club Real Club Celta de Vigo have parted ways with Eduardo Berizzo, following the latter's "lack of trust in the squad's abilities", according to club president Carlos Mouriño. Supposedly, the former Celta defender's new contract included wage drops should the team not qualify for European competition in the coming season, something which the club view as the next stage in it's development. Therefore, the club will aim to bring in an ambitious manager, who they believe can guide Los Celestes to continental football.

Among the candidates are former player Claude Makélélé, who is reportedly eager for work following his sacking from French side SC Bastia the previous year. Other parties include Marcelo Bielsa, a compatriot of Berizzo who is out of work following a stint at Marseille earlier in 2015, and current Valencia coach Nuno Espiritu Santo.

Makélélé appointed as new manager of RC Celta Vigo.

- The former French international becomes the Galician club's third manager in two years,

- Celta president "thrilled" to be reunited with former player.
Makélélé previously managed at SC Bastia, but was fired after only six months in charge.

News out of the north of Spain shows that Celta Vigo have wasted no time in choosing a new manager for the start of the 2015/16 season. Former Real Madrid and Chelsea defensive midfielder Claude Makélélé rejoins the club where he made his name, with many fans reportedly very pleased to see the man who contributed to one of the most successful periods in the club's history back in another role, and they don't seem to be the only ones.

"We are delighted to be able to welcome Claude back into the Celta Vigo family." gushed Carlos Mouriño, the Galician club's president since 2006. "In him we know we have found a manager who can take the club forwards and challenge for trophies and continental competition. I have absolute confidence in both Claude and our squad to win games and give our fans something to cheer for."

Makélélé played for Los Celestes from 1998 till 2000, being sold to Real Madrid for €14 million after two successful seasons.

Makélélé felt similarly about his new job. "I cannot wait to begin my managerial career in Spain here. I have always loved the football in this country, and feel very honored to have spent time in this league during my playing days, I only hope that my time here as manager can be just as fruitful".
Ah Makelele! What a legend! Remember having a story with him two or three years ago
Great start to the story, looking forward to this!

Nolito signs for Manchester United

- Premier League side met release clause in the player's contract, valued at €17,500,000.

- Yelko Pino also leaves club, on Loan to LIGA adelante team Lugo.
The Spanish forward, formerly of Barcelona and SLB, was Celta's top scorer last season.

Manchester United have snapped up Celta forward Nolito, who has spent two years with the club, signing from Portuguese giants Benfica in 2013. The former Barcelona man has had no shortage of teams looking to acquire his services, with Chelsea and Roma also making bids. Despite Claude Makélélé's attempts to convince the player to stay, Nolito was adamant that he wanted to leave the club in order to fulfill his ambitions of playing in the Champions League. "We wish him the best of luck. It is sad to see such a talented player leaving out club, especially when I was counting on his performances in the coming months," revealed the newly appointed Celta boss. "But I understand where he is coming from. Manchester United are a huge club and I have no doubt that Nolito will put in some fantastic performances for Louis van Gaal."

In other transfers news for Celta, Fabian Orellana has agreed a new deal with the club, following a bid made from French team AS Monaco, and talented academy graduate Yelko Pino has moved on loan to Lugo, in a bid to find more first team football. "I'm very pleased for him. For a young lad of his talents the best thing is to be playing regular footbal,l" Makélélé said of the deal. Several of Europe's top teams, including Bayern Munich, PSG, Arsenal and Inter Milan have all had bids rejected for the 18 year old midfielder, who preferred to sign a new contract with his hometown club. "We're lucky to have him stay. He has an incredibly professional attitude, and known that he still has a lot to learn. We're glad he's chosen to continue his development with us."
Yelko Pino has been attracting to interests of some of the richest teams in the world.
Pre Season

Leixoes 0 - 5 Celta
Bongonda ('16)
Aspas ('25)
Hernandez ('43)
Jonny ('58)
Fontas ('65)

Olhanense 0 - 4 Celta
Aspas ('2, '41, '45+1)
Orellana ('15)

Moreirense 2 - 2 Celta
Bongonda ('19, '89)

Celta 1 - 2 Bayern
Bongonda ('86)

Celta 1 - 2 Udinese
Hernandez ('3)

Alondras 1 - 2 Celta 3
Orellana ('51)
Fernandez ('59)
Pelaéz OG ('69)

Makélélé's Opinion: In my mind the pre season has been a success. While I wish we could have won all of our games, those we lost were against good teams, that had these been competitive fixtures, I'm sure we would have beaten. I was particularly happy with our first game. To beat a team by five goals, even a weaker team, on the first day back is no mean feat, and I hope the boys carry it on into the league games.

Two in, one out for Celta Vigo

- Winger Pablo Sarabia joins from Getafe, in deal worth an estimated €10,000,000.

- Emmanuel Mammana also joins club on loan from River Plate.
Sarabia joined Getafe from Real Madrid Castilla in 2011, and has represented Spain at Under-21 level.

Celta Vigo have snapped up Spanish winger Pablo Sarabia, 24, in a €10 million swoop. The player is understood to be a replacement for Nolito, who left the club a few weeks ago to join Manchester United. "I'm looking forward to continuing my development as a player here," said Sarabia, "Celta are a club with a lot of history and a lot of young talent in their squad, I'm very happy to be a part of that." The winger's ability as a footballer is already evident, despite making only 32 appearances altogether in his first two seasons at Getafe, he played regularly in Spain's youth teams. He was part of the Spain Under-21s team that won the European Championships in Israel in 2013, after which he has gone on to become an important memebr of Getafe's first team. "Pablo is a very talented young man, and I have no doubts he'll put in some fantastic performances for us in the coming weeks." manager Claude Makélélé said of the transfer, "While we have had to pay a substantial amount for his services, I am certain the he is worth every penny."

Additionally, young Argentine defender Emmanuel Mammana has joined the club until the end of the season. The 19 year old, who can play at centre back or right back, broke through into River Plate's first team the previous season, making 24 league appearances and scoring twice. However, it seems the Argentinian Premier Division's runners up want to send the player on loan. With Gustavo Cabral's injury, and only Sergi Gomez and Andreu Fontas as centre back options for Celta, Mammana will provide competition at the back, as well as filling in at right back should the need arise. Leaving the club is 22 year old Spanish striker Borja Iglesias, who links up with LIGA adelante team Gimnastic Tarragona. "With both Iago Aspas and John Guidetti, two hugely talented strikers, in the team, it was unlikely that Borja was going to get much playing time" revealed Makélélé, "we're pleased that he's agreed to leave on loan, as the last thing we want is him to stagnate in the reserves."

Mammana made his debut with Argentina's senior side in 2014, playing 13 minutes against Slovenia.

Lastly, Celta players Augusto Fernandez and Hugo Mallo have tied up new deals with the club, after interest from clubs abroad made them think about their futures. "We're happy to keep them here." revealed Makélélé, "Both players are hugely important to the club, especially as Augusto is our captain. I'm very happy that both he and Hugo [Mallo] have committed their futures to Celta."


Levante 0 - 2 Celta
Bongonda ('53)
Fontas ('60)

Celta 2 - 1 Rayo
Orellana '(29)
Aspas ('31)

Celta 3 - 0 Las Palmas
Hernandez ('14)
Orellana ('16)
Sarabia ('38)

Sevilla 3 - 2 Celta
Sarabia ('7)
Aspas ('69)

Celta 2 - 2 Barcelona
Aspas ('27, pen '63)

Eibar 1 - 0 Celta

Makélélé's Opinion: We started our season well, with the team playing very well in our first three games. Our game against Seville was disappointing, coming back from 2 - 0 down only to fall to a late goal. Against Barça, we led by two goals up until the last twenty minutes, only to drop two points thanks to Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha. The last game of the season, away at Eibar, was a poor performance. Despite creating several chances, the team failed to convert and went down to a well drilled Eibar team.

Player of the Month

Iago Aspas has been in top form following his return to Celta, scoring four goals in the first six games of the season, including two against reigning champions Barcelona. Let's hope he can continue in a similar vein for the rest of the season.

Theo Bongonda injured
The Belgian Under-21 player has been in good form for Celta after 6 games, scoring and assisting a goal.

Left winger Theo Bongonda has suffered a torn calf muscle following the game against Sevilla. Following the departure of star player Nolito to the Premier League, competition for his position has been increasing, with new signing Pablo Sarabia also featuring during the first few months for Celta. It seems that the former Getafe player may get a chance to cement his place in the first team, with Bongonda likely to be out for 3 months. Serbian playmaker Dejan Drazic, signed in the summer from OFK Beograd, is also in the squad. In other new central defender Gustavo Cabral has resumed training following a hip injury, and should be available for Celta's next game against Getafe.
(Having read a few other FM stories in the past week, you can all expect more details in my posts. Enjoy!)


Getafe 0 - 0 Celta
Sergio - Mallo Cabral (Mammana '71) Fontàs Jonny - Wass Fernandez (c) - Orellana Hernandez (Señe '84) Sarabia - Aspas
MoM: Fabian Orellana

Villareal 1 - 1 Celta
Sergio - Mallo Cabral (c) Fontás Planas - Madinda Wass - Orellana Hernandez Sarabia (Drazic '72) - Aspas (Guidetti '50)
Goals:Guidetti ('77)
MoM: Sergio Alvarez

Celta 1 - 2 Real Madrid
Sergio - Mallo Cabral (c) Fontás Jonny (Planas '77) - Madinda (Radoja '83) Wass - Orellana Hernandez Sarabia - Aspas (Guidetti '54)
Goals:Navas OG ('48)
MoM: James Rodriguez

Makélélé's Opinion: We really should have won our first game of October, but the Getafe defence, especially goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and on-loan defender Santiago Vergini, were in top form to deny Celta's forwards, meaning that Pablo Sarabia could not celebrate victory over his former club.

The game against Villareal was Celta's chance to get a first win in five games. The Valencian team has been underperforming in the league and found themselves in 16th place for Celta's visit to El Madrigal. However, Villareal forward Leo Baptisao got on the end of a free kick from Jonathan dos Santos to head the ball against the bar. With Celta 'keeper Sergio Alvarez having dived for the initial threat, the Brazilian striker, on loan from Atletico de Madrid, collected the rebound and drilled the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0 36 minutes in. Villareal continued to press, however thanks to some great saves from Alvarez the score stayed the same, until winger Fabian Orellana collected a pass from Pablo Hernandez on the edge of the penalty box. The Chilean playmaker held up the ball, before playing a pinpoint pass to Swedish super-sub John Guidetti, who smashed the ball into the underside of the bar and into the net on 77 minutes. The striker looked delighted with his first league goal for his new club, and despite not having played their best, Celta can consider themselves lucky to have left El Madrigal with a point.

Against Real Madrid, the odds were definitely steeped against Los Celestes, with the team from the capital pushing for a place at the top of the table. The match started well for both teams, with the two sides having shots. The first goal came on 28 minutes, with James Rodriguez collecting the ball on the right flank and spinning past Jonny. Real Madrid's number 10 sprinted into the box and unleashed a wicked, curling shot the nestled into the bottom corner. The half time whistle blew, with Madrid holding a one goal advantage. The second half kicked off with Celta looking fired up and inspired to end their winless run. This pressure paid off when Daniel Wass intercepted a header from Marcelo and laid it to fellow midfielder Levy Madinda. The Gabonese international then chipped the ball over the defence for Pablo Sarabia, who smashed the ball at goal. While it appeared that it had merely hit the post, the ball bounced off the post and onto the back of Real 'keeper Navas, only to roll into the net to level the match on 48 minutes. Sarabia's impact sent Celta's fans into raptures, who cheered their team on to score again. While chances came, with both Wass and Pablo Hernandez seeing efforts go wide, it was ultimately Real Madrid who had the last say, with James again scoring in the 93rd minute. A foul from left back Carles Planas allowed midfielder Toni Kroos to whip a free kick into the area. James found the ball with his foot and shot past Sergio Alvarez to win the game for Los Merengues. Celta's players and fans alike left Balaidos dissapointed to have given up a draw so late in the game.

Overall, this was not the best month for the team. Our winless streak is now 6 games, failing to score at all in 2 of those. This lack of results has left us 10th in the table, and the team will have to put in a good performance against Real Sociedad if we stand any chance of grabbing a European place for next season.

Player of the Month

Fabian Orellana has been in good form in a difficult month, with his rating dropping below 7.0 only once in the past three games (against Real Madrid, 8.7 vs Getafe and 7.3 vs Villareal). His pace and passing ability have proven consistently hard for opposing defenders to deal with, and the Chilean has the highest average rating among the Celta squad (7.49). However, Orellana's performances are starting to attract major interest from abroad, particularly from Portuguese heavyweights Benfica and Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk. Time will only tell if Celta can keep a hold of their player.

Special mention must also be made for goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez. Some top class saves, especially against Villareal and Real Madrid, have kept the team in the game time and time again and Makélélé will be indebted to the Celta youth product for such solid performances.

In Other News

Andreu Fontas has been rewarded for his form in the first months of La Liga with a call up to the Spain squad. The ball playing defender, signed from Barcelona in 2013, scored his first goal for the club in the first game of the season against Levante, and will hope to make his Spain debut against Ukraine or Slovakia.
Good write-up, but a really tough month there, you just need to build some momentum!


Real Sociedad 4 - 5 Celta
Sergio - Mallo Gomez (Mammana '72) Fontàs Wass - Madinda (Borja Fernandez '82) Fernandez (c) - Orellana Hernandez (Drazic '62) Sarabia - Aspas
Goals: Aspas ('22, '40, '49, '90+4), Orellana ('45)
MoM: Iago Aspas

Celta 0 - 0 Valencia
Sergio - Mallo Gomez Fontàs Jonny - Wass (Borja Fernandez '80) Fernandez (c) - Orellana Hernandez (Planas '64) Sarabia - Aspas (Guidetti '68)
MoM: Dani Parejo

Deportivo 0 - 3 Celta
Sergio - Mallo Cabral Fontàs Planas - Wass Fernandez (c) - Orellana (Radoja '84) Aspas (Hernandez '72) Drazic (Sarabia '56) - Guidetti
Goals: Sarabia ('71), Wass ('87, '90+2)
MoM: Daniel Wass

Celta 2 - 1 Sporting
Sergio - Mallo Cabral Fontàs Planas (Jonny '81) - Wass Fernandez (c) - Orellana (Hernandez '63) Aspas (Radoja '90) Sarabia - Guidetti
Goals: Guidetti ('54), Wass (90+1)
MoM: Daniel Wass

A great way to end our winless streak with a goal fest at Anoeta. Iago Aspas opened the scoring for Los Celestes on 22 minutes, slotting the ball past Geronimo Rulli after a terrific ball by Fabian Orellana from some 40 yards out. Celta's lead didn't last long however, with Carlos Vela scoring from the edge of the penalty box a minute later. The Mexican international sprinted to the Sociedad fans with arms aloft, delighted with his equaliser. Ten minutes later, Los Txuriurdin took the lead after Sergi Gomez gave away a very soft penalty. Playmaker Xabi Prieto took the spot kick, placing the ball underneath the outstretched Alvarez to make the scoreline 2-1 on 33 minutes. The scoring for the first half wasn't done, with Aspas again proving Celta's hero. The former Liverpool player's goal came after Daniel Wass surged into the box, chipped the ball over the defence for Pablo Sarabia, who squared the ball for Aspas. The striker's shot cannoned off Sociedad defender Iñigo Martinez and flew into the net. The goals still weren't done though, Orellana taking the lead again for Los Celestes 45 minutes in. Some good play between Celta's midfield in the middle of the park led to Hernandez passing the ball to Wass on the left wing. The Danish international played the ball into the box, where Orellana was waiting to sidefoot the ball into the net. The teams went into the dressing rooms with Celta leading 3-2.

Aspas continued his scoring form at the beginning of the second half, collecting the rebound after Hernandez's fierce shot, which was saved by Rulli, and coolly slotting it home to give Celta a 2 goal cushion on 49 minutes. The striker looked absolutely delighted to complete his first hat trick since returning to his boyhood club, running over to the away fans who chanted his name. Real Sociedad were hardly going to take losing their lead lying down however. Winger Bruma absolutely surged past Hugo Mallo, and upon reaching the edge of the penalty box, put the ball on a plate for midfielder Ruben Pardo to smash into the roof of the net on 55 minutes, giving Sociedad hope a draw. Such ambitions were fulfilled, with Bruma turning from provider to scorer. Carlos Vela, who had become slightly anonymous since his team's first goal, crossed the ball over Celta's defence for Bruma to shoot past Alvarez and send Anoeta into raptures. Iago Aspas had other thoughts on the matter. A free kick to Celta on the right hand side of Sociedad's penalty box, deep in stoppage time, gave Los Celestes hope of snatching all 3 points. Wass crossed the ball into the middle of the box, with hat trick hero Aspas rising above defender Diego Reyes to head the ball onto the underside of the bar and over the line and take home a valuable win for Celta.

High off their success away from home, Celta fans were expecting a similarly enthralling performance against high flying Valencia. However, the game was in fact a drab affair, with both defences keeping their opponent's attackers at bay. However, Celta can be pleased at how their team coped defensively, especially with after left back Jonny was sent off after receiving two yellow cards. The Galician team's response was very pleasing, especially against an extremely goal friendly team pushing for Champions League places.

The first Galician derby of the season was much anticipated by Celta's players and fans, particularly after such an excellent start to the month by Los Celestes. With Deportivo in the relegation zone, and Celta in 7th and pushing for the Europa League places, Celta's fans were confident in taking all 3 points. Makélélé also decided to change his team around, John Guidetti's good form off the bench meriting him a starting spot, and top scorer Iago Aspas dropping deeper into a number 10 role. The game itself began with Deportivo nearly taking a very early lead, with both on loan Liverpool midfielder Luis Alberto and winger Lucas Perez both hitting the post less than 10 minutes into the game. The Coruña team put real pressure on Celta, with striker Jose Rodriguez missing several good chances. The game went into half time with the score tied at 0-0.

The Celta team that came out of the Riazor tunnel were a completely different side than the one that had spent so much time in their own half however. After half an hour in, €10 million signing Pablo Sarabia broke the deadlock. A Deportivo throw in was intercepted by Guidetti, who crossed the ball for the winger, who managed to get his head to the ball and knock it past the opposition 'keeper. The former Getafe man appeared delighted with scoring his first derby goal, and no doubt this will endear him to his new fans. The second goal came from another new signing: Danish midfielder Daniel Wass. A free kick on the edge of the penalty box was whipped over the Deportivo wall by the Celta player, and crashed onto the underside of the bar and into the goal with only 4 minutes of the match left. The Dane wasn't finished either, with the scorer of Celta's first goal, Sarabia now turning provider. Whipping the ball into box, Wass was there to meet it with his foot and hit it first time into the Deportivo goal, sealing the match in Celta's favour and pushing them into 6th place.

Celta's final game of the month, against newly promoted Sporting, looked another easy win for Makélélé's team. The team from Vigo began the game well, having most of the possession and crafting some good opportunities, but Sporting's defence was good, with goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar making some fantastic saves to deny Fabian Orellana and Pablo Sarabia. This strong defence eventually paid off, as Los Rojiblancos managed to draw first blood. 36 minutes into the game, Sporting winger Jony, after exchanging passes with Pablo Perez, crossed the ball for striker Miguel Guerrero to head past Sergio Alvarez and make the scoreline 1-0 to the visitors. The half finished with the same scoreline, with Celta no doubt receiving some harsh words from their manager. The first half began, and Celta appear to have dropped deeper, willing to soak up pressure from an energetic Sporting team. This tactic paid off, as a free kick on the edge of Celta's box was cleared by Hugo Mallo for Orellana. The winger played it to Aspas, who passed to skipper Augusto Fernandez, then to Sarabia. Holding up the ball momentarily, the winger then crossed a fantastic ball for John Guidetti, who surged past Sporting's defenders and unleashed an absolute monster of a shot that flew past Cuellar and into the net to bring Celta level on 54 minutes. The game continued with Sporting nearly re-gaining their lead, Sergio Alvarez denying Sporting's players to keep Celta in the game. While it looked the match might fizzle out into a draw, Los Celestes had other ideas. Augusto received the ball from Jonny's throw in with only a minute left to play, and fired at Sporting's goal. Cuellar got across to parry the shot, but Celta's hero from their previous game was there to take the rebound. Wass collected the ball and instinctively shot at goal to put Celta in the lead for the first time into the game, and give them the three points in front of their fans.

Overall, a great month for Celta, and the team is now in 7th place, and only a point of Sevilla in 6th!

Player of the Month

Has to be a tie this month between Pablo Sarabia and Daniel Wass. Both have been incredibly influential in every game, cementing their places in the team. Goals from these two players have also been crucial, as well as their assists, with Sarabia racking up a team best of 6 assists so far this campaign. Makélélé must be delighted to be seeing the two summer signings settling into life at Celta so well.

Copa Del Rey 4th Round 1st Leg
Alaves 2 -1 Celta
Blanco - Jonny Cabral Mammana Planas (Mallo '65) - Borja Fernandez (Radoja '65) Fernandez (c) - Drazic Hernandez Sarabia - Guidetti (Aspas '81)
Goals: Pelegrin ('50), Barrerio ('75), Drazic ('79)
MoM: Sergio Pelegrin

Celta began their December fixtures with a disappointing defeat away from home, against LIGA adelante opposition Alaves. Despite playing with a strong team, Makélélé's team never got going until it was too late. Centre back Pelegrin opened the scoring, latching onto a free kick on the right hand side of Celta's penalty box to plant a header past Ruben Blanco. Things got from bad to worse for Los Celestes some twenty five minutes later, as some clever passing between the Alaves midfield allowed winger Manu Barreiro to break free of the defence. While his initial shot was saved by the foot of Blanco, the rebound fell straight to the Alaves player, and he buried the ball into the empty net. Going two goals down proved to be enough to provoke a response from Celta, as the managed to pull one back just four minutes later. After some good build up on the edge of Alaves' box, full back Hugo Mallo crossed the ball for Pablo Sarabia, who in turn volleyed it back across the box, allowing Serbian winger Dejan Drazic to coolly slot the ball home and score a vital away goal for his team.

R. Betis 1 - 1 Celta
Sergio - Mallo Cabral (Mammana '81) Fontas Jonny - Wass Fernandez (c) - Orellana Aspas Sarabia - Guidetti (Hernandez '70)
Goals: Digard ('51), Sarabia ('54)
MoM: Rafael van der Vaart

Following their cup defeat, Celta travelled to Seville to face fellow Europa League hopefuls Real Betis. While the game ended in a stalemate, it will be the Betis supporters who will feel the most cheated, having played far better than their opponents. Los Verderones controlled possession and had the greater number of shots, and seemed to be on course to win the game when French midfielder Didier Digard got on the end of Westermann's fantastic through ball to score. However, Celta were quick to respond, with Pablo Sarabia again scoring a vital goal for the Galicians. Following some quick tempo passing, Augusto Fernandez chipped the ball over the Betis defence for Mallo, who played a terrific ball into the area for Sarabia to meet with his head and bring the score level. The rest of the game was rather drab, with Celta mostly defending against Betis' superior possesion, and the latter's defenders cancelling out the Galician side's attempts to hit them on the break.

Celta 3 - 0 Espanyol
Sergio - Mallo Cabral Fontas (Mammana '76) Jonny - Wass (Radoja '76) Fernandez (c) - Orellana Aspas (Drazic '61) Sarabia - Guidetti
Goals: Sarabia ('2), Orellana ('5, '90+2)
MoM: Fabian Orellana

A terrific first win for Celta in December, and one that will doubtless give them confidence going forward, despite only being against relegation threatened Espanyol. The game started as it meant to go on, with Celta opening the scoring after just two minutes. Striker John Guidetti charged forward on a typical rampaging run, then played a fantastic ball forward, splitting the defence and allowing Celta's man of the moment, Pablo Sarabia, to sidefoot the ball past Espanyol's goalkeeper and make the scoreline 1-0 very early in the game. It didn't take long for Los Celestes to add a second either, with Chilean winger Fabian Orellana the scorer, heading the ball into the net after a fantastic ball from Jonny found him completely unmarked. After taking a good lead so early on, Celta appeared to drop deeper, soaking up pressure from an Espanyol team who seemed to be getting back into the game, only for the defensive prowess of Celta's backline, particularly recent Spain international Andreu Fontas, to stop them from scoring. With just one minute left to play, Emmanuel Mammana robbed Espanyol forward Gerard Moreno and knocked the ball forward for Sarabia. The scorer of Celta's first goal then turned provider, whipping in a low cross for Orellana to turn in for his second goal and seal the match in Celta's favour in some style.

Copa del Rey 4th Round 2nd Leg
Celta 3 - 1 Alaves
Blanco - Mallo Cabral Mammana Planas - Borja Fernandez Fernandez (c) (Cheikh '78) - Wass Hernandez (Fontas '78 Delgado '89) Sarabia - Guidetti
Goals: Toquero ('28), Guidetti ('57, '72, '74)
MoM: John Guidetti

An absolutely fantastic turnaround from Celta as they managed to banish their demons from the first leg, winning 4-3 on aggregate. Playing another strong team despite the congested fixture list, Makélélé was clearly showing his ambitions with regard to the cup, with a few academy prospects named among the substitutes. Despite Los Celestes going close a few times in the first half, it was again Alaves who drew first blood. Striker Gaizka Toquero played a few passes with the Alaves midfield, before sprinting ahead and latching onto a great through ball from right winger Juli and smashing the ball past Ruben Blanco. The rest of the first half continued with Celta going close but failing in the final third, and it appeared that their cup dreams were over. However, after some inspiring words from their manager at half time and roared on by some 12,000 Celta fans, the team finally began to show some class. A free kick in the middle of the pitch found its way to Carles Planas on the left wing, who held up play momentarily before firing a cross into the box. The ball was cleared by an Alaves defender, but only as far as former Manchester City striker John Guidetti, who unleashed a trademark cannonball of a shot that flew into the net and brought the game level. The striker looked delighted, and it was only a matter of time before he added his second. A run down the left flank from tricky winger Sarabia allowed the former Getafe player to whip in an arching cross that Guidetti leapt to meet with his head and send the ball past the Alaves keeper, bringing the score level on aggregate. The fans cheered their team on, knowing that at least the game would go to extra time. However, Guidetti's] contribution to the match was far from over. An interception by Mallo fell to the feet of Daniel Wass, who chipped the ball over the one defender between him and Guidetti for the latter to run onto. Free of the defence, the Swedish international skillfully rounded the 'keeper and simply passed the ball into the net to send Balaidos into raptures and Celta into the fifth round of the cup, where they will face the capital city team Rayo Vallecano.

Granada 2 - 1 Celta
Sergio - Mallo Cabral Mammana Jonny - Wass Fernandez (c) - Orellana (Drazic '77) Aspas Sarabia - Guidetti (Hernandez '63)
Goals: Aspas ('10), El Arabi ('22), Lomban ('41)
MoM: Robert

Fresh from their cup successes, many Celta fans were hoping to see their team take all three points against 7th placed Granada, who were a good six points below Celta in the league table. However, either due to tiredness or just being away from home, the Andalucian team came away with a win. The game looked like it was going to go Celta's way after Iago Aspas capitalised on an awful header back to the 'keeper from Granada's Doria to score with a terrific shot that cannoned off the underside of the bar. Unfortunately, a lapse in concentration allowed Granada's top scorer, Moroccan international Youssef El Arabi to sprint past Mammana and place a shot past Sergio Alvarez and bring the game level. Celta were again punished for their defensive errors after the break, with centre half David Lomban escaping his marker at a free kick and rising high to head the ball into the net and give Granada the lead. The Andalucian side tightened up defensively, and managed to succeed where Celta had failed: keeping out their opponent's attacking players.

Celta 1 - 3 Athletic
Sergio - Mallo Mammana Gomez Jonny (Planas '88) - Wass Fernandez (c) - Orellana (Madinda '68) Aspas (Hernandez '77) Sarabia - Guidetti
Goals: Iturraspe ('20), Susaeta ('40), Sarabia ('55), Balenziaga ('75)
MoM: Markel Susaeta

Celta's last game of the month was against fellow northerners Athletic Bilbao, who have been struggling in the league, finding themselves in 11th. However, the visiting side are in a great patch of form, winning six of their last games. This was reflected in the game, as Athletic swept Celta aside with ease, Ander Iturraspe opening the scoring for them after a wonderful pass from playmaker Raul Garcia split Celta's defence wide open. The midfielder turned provider for the next goal however, with a punch from Sergio Alvarez following a cross finding its way to his feet. Rather than shoot, the midfielder played the ball to the right, meeting the run of winger Susaeta, who did not hesitate to smash the ball into the roof of the net and put Athletic two goals to the good. A glimmer of hope appeared for Celta however, in the form of their €10 million man Pablo Sarabia. Daniel Wass first passed the ball to Hugo Mallo from a free kick in Athletic's half, who crossed the ball into the box. Freeing himself from his marker, Sarabia sprinted forward and calmly sidefooted the ball past Iraizoz, gathering the ball from the net and placing it in the middle of the pitch after, eager to work to bring the game level for Celta. Unfortunately, this was not to be. A corner in Athletic favour was played to the feet of Iturraspe, who smashed it on the volley towards Celta's goal. A terrific save from Sergio Alvarez was not enough to prevent a goal however, as his parry was met by the charging run of full back Balenziaga, who hammered the ball into the net to give Athletic a comfortable two goal lead and ultimately all three points.

Player of the Month

Celta youth product Hugo Mallo is December's player of the month, following an impressive month both defensively and offensively. The Vigo-born full back has the most assists of any of Celta's defenders, and has consistently achieved ratings of over 7.0 in every game this month. Makélélé will be hoping that he can inspire greater defensive solidity in his team, who have looked vulnerable defensively on several occasions.

In Other News

Ball playing defender Andreu Fontas has suffered a broken leg during the Copa del Rey match against Alaves at Balaidos, in what is a huge blow to Celta's back line. The recent Spain international, who made his debut in September, has been ruled out for six months. Celta will undoubtedly look to compatriot and fellow La Masia graduate Sergi Gomez to fill his shoes, as well as River Plate loanee Emmanuel Mammana.

Fabian Orellana signs for SL Benfica from Celta Vigo

- The Portuguese club paid an approximate fee of €14,500,000 to land the Chilean winger.

- Orellana has been in good form for Celta so far this season, scoring 5 goals and laying on 6 assists for his team mates in 17 games.
Orellana (center) signed for Celta in 2012, having spent the 2011/12 season with the club on loan from Udinese.

In one of the biggest deals of the January transfer window, Fabian Orellana has parted company with Galician club Celta de Vigo, instead choosing to ply his trade with Portuguese heavyweights Benfica. It is reported that the Lisbon based team had a bid accepted as far back as November, with Orellana keen to play in a team that can challenge for league titles and compete regularly in the Champions League. "It's a huge honour to play for Benfica" Orellana, 29, told Marca. "They are a huge and very reputable club, not just in Portugal but across the world. I've really enjoyed my time with Celta, and I really hope the team can continue to play the great football they've been demonstrating so far this season."

The right winger, who can also play as an attacking midfielder, began his career with Colo-Colo in his native Chile, a club known for producing homegrown talents such as Alexis Sanchez and Matias Fernandez, before moving Audax Italiano. He made his debut in Chile's Primera Division aged only 18, and scored 12 goals in his first season. These performances earned him a transfer to Serie A team Udinese for €3.2 million. However, he failed to make an appearance for the Italian team, being loaned out to Xerez and Granada, contributing to the latter's return to the Liga BBVA after a 35 year absence. In 2011, the Andalusian side bought him permanently, loaning him out shortly after to Celta Vigo, then in the Liga Adelante. His impressive performances, which saw him score 13 times in 37 games, earned him a permanent transfer for €1.2 million. He has since become a mainstay of the team, and has featured in every game for Celta in the 2015/16 season.
Orellana is a full international with Chile, making his senior debut in 2007.

Celta manager Claude Makélélé also had his say on the deal. "We are very sad to see Fabian go. During his time here he has become one of our best players, and he will be sorely missed by both his team mates and the fans. His performances so far this season have been absolutely phenomenal as well, even after he knew he would be leaving us. We can only wish him the best of luck with his new club and hope that it is everything he hopes." The Galician side are understood to be already looking for a replacement for Orellana, with AZ Alkmaar's Guus Hupperts and Ricardo Horta of Malaga reported to be favorites for Makélélé.

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