Orbelín Pineda became a free agent after Apertura 2021 ended and he’s set to leave Cruz Azul and Liga MX to pursue his European dream, as he already had a deal with Celta de Vigo to join them this January.
He was facing only one problem that kept him from being officially introduced as Celta’s new player: he doesn’t have a European passport and all the non-European spots Celta de Vigo had were taken.
But on the last few hours, news about the opening of one of this spots on the roster have come to life, as Brazilian forward Thiago Gallardo just received his Italian passport, which will open Celta de Vigo’s doors to officially welcome Pineda to the team.
Orbelín is set to travel to Spain on January 5 to join Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet’s squad, who personally requested Pineda’s addition to the team, as he knows him from his time coaching in Mexico’s Liga MX.
Prior to Apertura 2021, Cruz Azul tried to renew Orbelín Pineda’s contract to prevent him from leaving the team that had just won Liga MX’s championship after a 23-year streak without a title, but the 25-year-old was persistent on his wish to continue his career playing in Europe.
Orbelín will be joining fellow Mexican Néstor Araujo, who joined Celta de Vigo out of Santos Laguna after the FIFA World Cup in 2018. They both been regulars in the Mexican National Team under Tata Martino’s coaching staff.
Orbelín Pineda’s 2021 on review
Born in Guerrero in 1995, “El Maguito” joined Cruz Azul out from Chivas in 2019 for $12 million. He played 113 games for La Máquina, where he scored 13 goals and had 16 assistances.
On Apertura 2021, the left winger played on 12 of 17 possible games during the regular season. During his last season with Los Cementeros, Pineda saw a minor setback on his performance, as he only was able to score two goals and assist on one occasion.
He was called with regularity by Tata Martino to El Tri, as he played both CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup, losing both of the tournament finals against USMNT in overtime. He was also called to play the FIFA Qualifiers, scoring a goal and assisting one time.
Now, as he joins the Spanish side, he will try to gain regularity to secure a spot in Mexico’s squad having in mind CONCACAF Qualifiers and FIFA World Cup and hoping to jump to a bigger club in the future.
How is Celta de Vigo doing in La Liga?
Celta de Vigo started 2022 with the right foot, as they defeated Betis on a visit to Benito Villamarín Stadium by a 2-0 score.
So far, the Celtistas are standing 12 on La Liga, with 23 points as a result of six wins, five draws and eight losses, but the team seems to be on a winning streak, as they’ve won three of their last five games.
They’re seven points away from Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad, both with 30 points, who are standing 5 and 6, respectively, on the spots that give access to Europa League and Conference League.