Former Liverpool outcast Iago Aspas has said his summer move to Celta Vigo has been vindicated following a stunning brace that saw his side beat Barcelona 4-1. Following unimpressive spells with both the Merseyside outfit and Sevilla, the 28-year-old hitman has rediscovered his best form, scoring three and providing two in the first five games of the season.
Aspas moved to Anfield in 2013 for a fee of around £7.7m ($11.7m) following an impressive season at Celta where he scored 12 times. But with both Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge ahead of him in Brendan Rodgers' plans he made only five starts in the campaign, scoring just once.
Liverpool then agreed to send him on loan to Sevilla with a mandatory clause requiring him to make the move permanent at the end of the season. He also struggled for time with the Europa League winners, and during the summer they announced the signing of the Spaniard from Liverpool before instantly selling him on to Celta.
Aspas has wasted little time settling at his old stomping grounds. The Spaniard has been a big part of their impressive start to the season, with them currently sitting second in the table behind Real Madrid.
Last weekend he helped Celta beat his former side Sevilla, while he was arguably man of the match in a shocking victory over Barcelona, scoring two goals with two fantastic finishes, both one-on-one encounters with Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Aspas overshadowed not just Lionel Messi but also the missing Suarez – a close friend of the player despite keeping him out of the side during their Premier League days.
Aspas is ready to put his England experience behind him and now feels like he's back to his best. Speaking after the match, he said his decision to return home has already paid off.
"The two goals will give me confidence because I haven't been able to score at [Celta's home stadium] Balaidos. I feel very loved here with my fans, which is what I was looking for when I decided to come back to Celta," he said as quoted by AS.
"We leapt over Barcelona. We played an incredible game, we were better in every situation and we totally deserve the win. The team is coming off a great performance at the Sanchez Pizjuan and today, against the champions of Europe, we came out and played a great game yet again.
"You can never relax against Barcelona until the game is over because you never know what'll happen. But we put in a tremendous effort. We put a lot of pressure on them in defence, which forced them to give up the ball and let us fly down the wings on the counter-attack."