PROFILE | Who is Borja Iglesias?

Over the last couple of days, as reported by several Spanish media outlets, including Mundo Deportivo and Estadio Deportivo, Borja Iglesias has been linked with a move to Atlético Madrid. However, football fans outside of the world of La Liga and Spanish football know very little about the Spaniard whose career really only started kicking off five years ago in the Spanish Second Division.

Nicknamed El Panda, Iglesias came through Celta Vigo’s youth academy, but he was never able to establish himself in Os Celestes’ senior team in La Liga.

The Galician’s striker’s career only started to hit the ground running at the age of 24, when he joined Real Zaragoza on loan in the Segunda División in the summer of 2017. That season he managed to score 22 goals in the league. Even though the Aragonese side didn’t quite manage to achieve promotion to La Liga, Iglesias was able to secure a permanent move to Espanyol.

In his first stint in the Primera División, Iglesias scored 17 La Liga goals in the 2018-19 season. His performances caught the attention of Real Betis, who decided to activate his buyout clause worth €28m in order to bring him to Andalucía.

Iglesias and Real Betis

Despite a poor start to his career in a green-and-white shirt, over the years Iglesias has played a key role in helping to establish Los Verdiblancos’ regular presence in Europe.

The 29-year-old scored in both the semi-final and final of Real Betis’ successful Copa del Rey campaign, which saw the Andaluz club win their first silverware since 2005.

El Panda’s exploits did not go unnoticed by Luis Enrique in 2022, who called him up to the Spanish national team for the first time in his career.

While he only really started to make his mark on Spanish football in his late 20s, Iglesias is showing no signs of stopping and only time will tell what other successes and achievements await him in the future.

GSFN | Tom Cserép

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