We have takeoff
At the end of the 2009 -2010 season a new manager was hired, Paco Herrera, who came from Villareal B. In addition, players De Lucas, Joan Tomas, Murillo and David Rodriguez (in his second stage as a sky-blue). Celta started to give continuity to one same project, with a limited number of signings which could contribute to increase the quality of the squad and a strong bet for homegrown players. Yoel, Hugo Mallo, Roberto Lago, Tuñez, Jonathan Vila, Oubiña, Alex Lopez, Michu, Abalo, Toni, Iago Aspas… the A Madroa Factory was beginning to pay off once again after a long time.
Celta would go on to have a good season, in the top of the standings during the first leg of the season, but a slump during the second leg of the season ousted the Vigo team from promoting automatically, having to play the newly established promotion play-off. In the first qualifying match the rival was Granada FC, one of the surprise teams during that season. The first leg match, at Balaidos, sparked the hope of the skyblue supporters. 1-0, with a goal scored by Michu and good team play. The pass to the final and return to First Division was just one step away.
However, in the second leg match RC Celta faced a nightmare at Los Carmenes Stadium. The week prior to the match had been controversial, with accusations towards Iago Aspas because of an accidental clash against goalkeeper Roberto during the first leg match. Celta earned merits to win the match, but Orellana scored a goal for Granada. 1-0 which evened the playoffs and took the match into overtime and eventually to a penalty shootout. Michu, the first leg hero at Balaidos, took on the responsibility of shooting the penalty that could have guaranteed the pass to the final. The Asturian took a poor shot, and, after Granada scoring its next penalty, Catala missed the next shot as well for the olive squad. Granada went on to play the play-off finals, which they won, earning their promotion to Spanish First Division.
The knockout loss shocked the team, the club and the fans. In the memory of all the Celtismo remains the home welcoming that the skyblue supporters gave the players and managers at Peinador airport after coming back from Granada. The defeat served as extra motivation for the team to face the following season.
Celta goes back home: First Division
In the 2011/2012 season Paco Herrera continues to lead the team. The project remains unchanged for a second year, with very few but selective signings. Mario Bermejo, Bellvis, Natxo Insa, Oier and Orellana (a familiar face to Celta, since he scored the equalizer for Granada in the second leg promotion playoff match) were those summer’s signings.
It took some time for team to take off, but once all the pieces were in the right place its road to promotion was unstoppable, although it wasn’t always an easy ride. The fight against Valladolid for second place, which guaranteed promotion to First Division, was an exciting, hard-fought battle until the end of the season. Celtsimo lived unforgettable matches in which the unity and connection between the supporters and the team was strong, in a way it hadn’t been in a long time, like the 4-1 match against Xerez, or the incredible comeback against Almeria, also at Balaidos, in which the Vigo squad won by 4-3 thanks to the roaring fans in the stands. The 23 goals scored by Iago Aspas, who was the highest scoring striker in Second Division, proved decisive for reaching the objective of promoting to First Division.
Celta celebrated its achievement in front of the home crowd, against Cordoba, in a match where both teams needed a draw to reach their objectives, and which ended up 0-0 on the scoreboard. The celebration party following the match at Balaidos will go into the club’s history book as one of its greatest moments. Music, fire crackers, and a fully devoted crowd was just the beginning of a night of great celebration for Vigo, including a dive in the fountain at Plaza America.
That season also saw the return of the Galician derby, one of the biggest rivalries in Spanish football. Celta and Deportivo met again, this time in Second Division, an even though the Vigo team played better in both league matches against its biggest rival, the team from Coruña won both times.
Objective: grow stronger in First Division
Season 2012-2013. Celta is back where it deserves to be at last, First Division, backed by 22.500 season-ticket holders, the club’s record. The project started two years ago is in full effect, keeping the most important players from the previous seasons. Javi Varas, Cabral, Samuel, Augusto Fernandez, Krohn-Deli and Ju Yong Park are the signings for the 2012/2013 league tournament.
After starting out strong early in the season in which Celta displayed a fun to watch playing style, concern grew among Celtismo since the team was not able to win league points. After a hard stretch in which the fans pushed for the team in an unprecedented fashion, Celta reached the end of the season with its place in First Division at stake and depending on other teams. Celta supporter’s attitude was key in the 1-0 victory earned against Espanyol, enough to allow Celta to be another year in First Division. Moreover, Celta B promoted to Second Division B, the junior team finished in second place in Spain, the veterans were Indoor Football champions and the rest of the age categories won their respective tournaments. A year of effort, work and grind that finally provided endless joy.
In 2013-2014 Luis Enrique Martinez was named manager of the skyblue team. In only one season he was able to leave his trademark on the club. The squad was reinforced with exciting players like Rafinha, Charles, Fontas and Nolitos and improved significantly in a year in which RC Celta’s attractive playing style began to consolidate. This season, the club’s 90th anniversary, concluded guaranteeing continuity in First Division with solvency and finishing 9th in the league with 49 points.
The summer of 2014 brought new changes to Celta’s bench. Luis Enrique was hired as FC Barcelona’s manager and Celta decided to bring back a player who was a fan favorite: Eduardo Berizzo. The Argentinian managed to keep the team’s general playing scheme and added his own style to take Celta’s football proposal even higher. For the 2014-2015 season the club signed players such as Larrivey or Pablo Hernandez and young promises like Sergi Gomez, Planas or Bongonda. The team lived great moments, like the win at Camp Nou, and not so great ones, like the 10-game streak without a victory. In the last third of the season Celta played outstandingly, finishing in 8th place, one position higher than the previous season, with 51 points.
In 2015, Borja Oubiña, team captain and role model for the sky blue homegrown players, decided to hang up his boots. This season the club began to make progress in important projects such as the makeover of Balaidos Stadium, the acquisition of its own headquarters, the payoff of all debts…
The 2015/2016 season couldn’t have begun in a better fashion. Besides a great streak of points, RC Celta defeated Barcelona 4-1 in an amazing match, gaining unanimous worldwide recognition for their playing style. This year marked the club’s 50th season in First Division, and it became one of the most exciting season of the club’s recent history. The union of the club, the team and the fans would carry Celta on to new heights.
Celta dreams again: 50 seasons in First Division and again in Europe
In the 2015/2016 Celta reached its 50th season in First Division, a great milestone which was celebrated in the best possible way by returning to a European competition after 15 years. In his second season as manager, Eduardo Berizzo took the team a step further, consolidating a playing style which marveled the football world. The season highlights include de 4-1 victory over Barcelona or Copa del Rey semifinals against Sevilla in which Celta played their hardest until the final whistle in the second leg match where the affinity between the players and the fans became as obvious as ever. The disappointment in the Copa competition was forgotten after qualifying for the UEFA Europa League. With one match to go for the completion of the season, Celta clinched a spot in the continental tournament by defeating Malaga in Balaidos thanks to a solitary goal scored by Nolito.
After the festivities and well-deserved vacations, Celta returned in the 2016/2017 season full of hope to face with ambition three competitions: Liga, Copa del Rey and Europe League. Being part of Group G alongside Ajax, Standard Liege and Panathinaikos, the sky blues advanced past the Group Phase in second position, behind Ajax.
The name of Real Club Celta de Vigo resonated again all over Europe. The playing style and class of the Vigo team did not go unnoticed, neither for rivals Shaktar Donestk, Krasnodar nor Genk. The three were eliminated by Berizzo’s team in the round of 16, round of 8 and quarterfinal round respectively. Those were dream nights that will forever remain in Celta’s history book.
Celta reached the Europe League semifinals full of ambition. Facing the Manchester United of famous Jose Mourinho, a 0-1 score in the first leg game left the qualifying round pending on the outcome of the away match at Old Trafford. Celta supporters flocked to Manchester, where they displayed great sportsmanship before, throughout and after the match. Celta gave their best effort to qualify and deserved it, but a draw left the sky-blue family just one step away from making its dream come true.
The bittersweet taste was relived in Copa del Rey. For the second straight season, Celta managed to reach the semifinals of the tournament after defeating teams such as Valencia or Real Madrid. A goalless draw at Balaidos left everything up for grabs at Alaves’ stadium, the last obstacle before the final. The Basques were better in the second leg match, and with a lonely goal, took away the win and headed on to the finals.
Despite the result, the 2016-2017 season was a memorable one for RC Celta. It will be remembered for a long time.
Juan Carlos Unzue takes charge
After three seasons with Eduardo Berizzo leading the team, Celta’s bench received a new tenant: Juan Carlos Unzue. His knowledge of the sky-blue club due to his previous stage in the house as assistant manager of Luis Enrique, Unzue landed in Vigo after being part of one of FC Barcelona’s best phases in their history.
New signings like Maxi Gomez, Lobotka and Emre Mor or Jozabed’s continuity are a good backing for Celta’s team project. 2017-2018 presents itself as season to dream again.