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 By Sid Lowe

Celta Vigo, Alaves target Copa del Rey final to cap their climb from the depths

Iago Aspas, left, is Celta Vigo's top scorer this season with 15 goals.

It was June 2009 and things were desperate for Celta Vigo. The Second Division B -- the third tier in Spanish football -- awaited them; semi-professional football in a league that's actually four leagues, eight teams organised by region, and nicknamed el pozo or "the well" -- easy enough to fall into but mighty hard to climb out of again.

Celta and Alaves met in Week 40 of the season, each knowing that defeat would see them relegated from the second division. Hit by economic crisis and in administration,...

Argentine "school" -- Simeone, Berizzo, Pellegrino -- vie for Copa del Rey glory

With Atletico Madrid not at their best, the FC crew wonder if their Copa del Rey semi-final tie is Barcelona's to lose.
Diego Simeone is an underdog these days but has a strong shot at a trophy this season with Atletico.

You don't need to think too far back to a time when an Argentinian coach was able to wrap the sky blue and white of his national flag around the Copa del Rey or Primera Division trophies. Step forward Diego Simeone in each instance: the Copa in 2013, the league just 12 months later.

But the gold standard of that achievement can be measured by the fact that in title terms, his victory is one of only three Argentine-coached Primera Division triumphs since 1970: Alfredo Di Stefano in 1971-72 and...

 By Derek Bilton

Underdogs Southampton, Celta Vigo enter cup second legs with slight edge

Goals from Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini sealed up a comfortable win for Man United over Hull in their EFL Cup semifinal.

Wednesday's EFL Cup semifinal second leg between Liverpool and Southampton is deliciously poised. The Saints take a 1-0 first leg advantage to Anfield to face a Reds outfit who have looked out of sorts in recent weeks. Jurgen Klopp's men claimed a creditable 1-1 draw at Old Trafford a week last Sunday but have also suffered defeats to Southampton and Swansea in recent times. Their 3-2 reverse at home to struggling Swansea on Saturday was a shocker as they threw in yet another defensive horror...

Nolito flies to Manchester for City meetup; Higuain could leave Napoli

The ESPN FC guys share their thoughts on Gonzalo Higuain's future, with Atletico Madrid reportedly expressing their interest in signing the forward.

As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest gossip. See the latest deals here.

TOP STORY: Nolito flies to Manchester

Pep Guardiola appears close to confirming the signing of Celta Vigo star Nolito with the Telegraph reporting the Spain international will arrive in Manchester this week to complete a £13.8 million move.

Nolito endured a mixed tournament with La Roja. The 29-year-old shone as Spain thrashed Turkey, but was otherwise an awkward fit in a one-dimensional...

 By Lee Roden

Nolito misses Barcelona with Celta and may have missed Camp Nou chance

Meetings with Celta Vigo have turned into particularly special fixtures for Barcelona in recent years.

Eduardo Berizzo's unwavering dedication to attacking football means a spectacle is guaranteed when the two teams lock horns, while an abundance of side-stories only further add to the drama. Many of them stem from Luis Enrique's history with O Celtinha, the coach ultimately landing the Barca job in 2014 because he had reaffirmed his managerial credentials with a thrilling season in charge at Balaidos.


Barcelona should grant Luis Enrique's wish for Celta Vigo's Nolito

Despite having already added Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal to their treble-winning squad, Barcelona have not addressed their most obvious need during the current winter transfer window: the signing of a reliable, incisive and effective forward who could challenge either Lionel Messi, Neymar or Luis Suarez for their starting spot.

It is clear any player in world football would struggle to take playing time away from arguably the best front-line in the sport's history, especially if their invaluable...