Aspas with Celta in 2018
|Full name||Iago Aspas Juncal|
|Date of birth||1 August 1987|
|Place of birth||Moaña, Spain|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|2004–2005||→ Rápido Bouzas (loan)|
|2014–2015||→ Sevilla (loan)||16||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 7 April 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 November 2018
He has spent most of his career with Celta, appearing in 279 official games over nine seasons and scoring 117 goals. He made his La Liga debut with the club in 2012 and moved to Liverpool the following year, returning to Celta in 2015.
Aspas was born in Moaña, Province of Pontevedra, Galicia. Brought through the youth ranks of local club RC Celta de Vigo, he made his first-team debuts in the 2007–08 season with the side in Segunda División, then played his second game on 6 June 2009: brought on as a 59th-minute substitute against Deportivo Alavés, he scored both of his team's goals in a 2–1 home win, being essential as it eventually escaped relegation. When he was 17, he was loaned to neighbouring Rápido de Bouzas, where he spent his penultimate year as a junior.
Aspas was definitely promoted from the reserves for 2009–10, going on to appear in several more campaigns in the second tier with the Galicians. In the 2011–12 season, he netted a career-best 23 league goals, second-best in the competition behind UD Almería's Leonardo Ulloa as Celta returned to La Liga after a five-year absence. As a result of his performances, he was voted the best forward and Zarra Trophy winner for the category.
Aspas made his top flight debut on 18 August 2012, starting in a 0–1 home loss against Málaga CF. He scored his first goal in the competition the following month, contributing to a 2–0 win over CA Osasuna also at Balaídos, and added a further 11 during the campaign to help the side escape relegation in the final matchday.
In May 2013, it was widely rumoured that a fee estimated between £7–9 million had been agreed for Aspas to join Liverpool, pending personal terms and a medical. On 13 June, both clubs agreed to a deal in principle to sign the player subject to completion of documentation, but this was delayed when his former agent requested the Royal Spanish Football Federation withhold international clearance because of a dispute over his representation; the deal was finally completed on 23 June, and he was given the number 9 shirt.
Aspas made his Liverpool debut on 13 July 2013, scoring his first goal as well as assisting Raheem Sterling in a 4–0 pre-season friendly win against Preston North End. He made his Premier League debut on 17 August, providing an assist for Daniel Sturridge in a 1–0 victory over Stoke City at Anfield.
Aspas scored his first competitive goal for the Reds on 5 January 2014, in a 2–0 win over Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup. During his spell, he played second-fiddle to Philippe Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge and Luis Suárez as the Reds went on to finish second; he also struggled with his limited knowledge of the English language.
On 14 July 2014, Aspas returned to his homeland, being loaned to Sevilla FC in a season-long move and with a permanent three-year deal as an subsequent obligatory option. He made his competitive debut on 12 August in the 2014 UEFA Super Cup at the Cardiff City Stadium, replacing fellow debutant Aleix Vidal after 66 minutes of an eventual 0–2 defeat to Real Madrid.
On 14 September 2014, Aspas appeared in the league for the first time, coming on for Carlos Bacca for the final seven minutes of a 2–0 home win against Getafe CF. His first goal for his new club came on 2 October, as he opened the score in a 2–2 draw at HNK Rijeka for the UEFA Europa League group stage; late in that month he played the full 90 minutes and grabbed a hat-trick against CE Sabadell FC, helping to a 6–1 away routing for the season's Copa del Rey, adding another treble within a four-minute spell in the second leg for a 5–1 win. He and FC Barcelona's Neymar were the tournament's top scorers, with seven goals each.
Aspas' first league goal for Sevilla came on 1 February 2015, the winner in a 3–2 victory over RCD Espanyol. Earlier in the game, he had taken a shot which was handled by Kiko Casilla outside of the penalty area, resulting in the goalkeeper's dismissal.
Return to Celta
On 12 June 2015, Sevilla signed Aspas from Liverpool as part of the agreement between the two clubs, then sold him straight back to Celta on the same day, with the player agreeing to a five-year contract six days later for a €5 million fee. On 23 September, he scored twice in a 4–1 home win over Barcelona.
Aspas was the La Liga Player of the Month for October 2016 after scoring five goals, including braces in a 4–1 win against Deportivo and a 3–3 draw with UD Las Palmas, in addition to a goal and assist in a 4–3 victory over reigning champions Barcelona. The following 23 February he scored a last-minute penalty in the Europa League last-32 second leg to force extra time at FC Shakhtar Donetsk, with the Spaniards emerging victorious.
On 21 May 2017, in the last matchday of the campaign, Aspas scored through a penalty in a 2–2 home draw against Real Sociedad, reaching a personal-best 19 goals and winning the Zarra Trophy in the process. The following season he was again the league's top-scoring Spaniard at 22, behind only Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suárez overall. He netted hat-tricks in a 5–2 win at UD Las Palmas on 16 October 2017 and a 4–0 defeat of former club Sevilla the following 7 April, in addition to a brace in a 3–1 derby win at eventually relegated Deportivo; on 5 November 2017, with another couple in a 3–1 home win over Athletic Bilbao, he reached 100 goals for his club, putting himself sixth in their all-time scorers.
In 2018–19, Aspas was absent with a calf injury for three months from the end of December, during which Celta slipped from 9th place to 18th in the table. He netted twice in a 3–2 win over Villarreal on his return on 30 March 2019, in what was also his 300th game for the club. He signed a new contract on 17 April to last until 2023, the club's centenary year.
In December 2012 Aspas, along with Michu, was poised to be called up by manager Vicente del Bosque for a debut with the Spanish national team on 6 February 2013, in an exhibition game with Uruguay in Doha, Qatar. However, neither made the final squad for that match.
Aspas finally earned his first cap on 15 November 2016, under new coach Julen Lopetegui, replacing Juan Mata for the second half of the 2–2 friendly draw against England, being booked and scoring his side's first goal. His competitive debut came on 24 March of the following year, as he played the last six minutes of the 4–1 home win over Israel for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Aspas was included in the 23-man squad for the World Cup finals in Russia. He made his debut in the competition on 15 June 2018, replacing Diego Costa, who had scored twice, for the final 14 minutes of the 3–3 group-stage draw against Portugal; ten days later, having come on for the same player, he scored a last-minute equaliser with a backheel to help his team draw 2–2 against Morocco and reach the knockout phase as group champions.
On 1 July 2018, again after having taken the place of Costa, Aspas was one of two Spanish players to miss his attempt in the round-of-16 penalty shootout against Russia, a 3–4 loss in Moscow. He also represented Galicia in the region's first match for eight years, scoring in a 1–1 friendly draw with Venezuela on 20 May 2016.
|Celta B||2006–07||Segunda División B||21||1||0||0||—||21||1|
- As of match played 15 November 2018
- As of 25 June 2018 (Spain score listed first, score column indicates score after each Aspas goal)
|1.||15 November 2016||Wembley Stadium, London, England||England||1–2||2–2||Friendly|
|2.||5 September 2017||Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz, Liechtenstein||Liechtenstein||5–0||8–0||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|4.||27 March 2018||Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain||Argentina||5–1||6–1||Friendly|
|5.||9 June 2018||Krasnodar Stadium, Krasnodar, Russia||Tunisia||1–0||1–0|
|6.||25 June 2018||Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia||Morocco||2–2||2–2||2018 FIFA World Cup|
- Zarra Trophy: 2016–17, 2017–18
- Zarra Trophy (Segunda División): 2011–12
- Best Forward (Segunda División): 2011–12
- La Liga Player of the Month: October 2016
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- "La saga moañesa del Celta" [Celta's Moaña saga]. Faro de Vigo (in Spanish). 11 June 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
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- Iago Aspas at ESPN FC
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