Hugo Mallo 22 Defender Celta de Vigo Spain
2013 has been…
Three seasons ago, Hugo Mallo broke into the Celta de Vigo at the most desirable time. Having spent four years in the Segunda, Mallo broke in as the right-back as they put together a wonderful promotion run as inspired by now Liverpool forward Iago Aspas. It was a perfect testing ground for Mallo to earn his stripes in the team, currently comfortable as a teenager playing against grown men and grow in confidence.
Things started pretty well last season as the team found their fit in the league. Aspas continued to inspire the team with Mallo showing signs as to the potential footballer he could become. An exciting player, he is always looking to get forward from the back and add to the attacks for his team. However, 2012/13 was cut short in January by a horrible knee injury.
He suffered an anterior cruciate ligament to his left knee; missing the last five months of the season. Without Hugo, Celta survived relegation by such a single point in the end and missed his influence on the right flank. As well as being able to deliver crosses well, Mallo is a strong, disciplined defender. When he plays at the right-back, his team-mates don’t have to worry about the opposition winger having an easy game.
Thankfully though, he returned in time for the this season to begin and has looked in decent nick so far. He has played more often this season than any other Celta defender and is getting closer to his form of old; bombing forward as often as possible.
The injury has seemingly not had a lasting effect on the full-back and that has meant a string of scouts have already been to watch him play this season. He will be a key cog for Celta if they are to retain their Liga BBVA status for another season; and that’ll further the interest in him.
We’d like to think young Hugo would be a perfect fit for Spain. He can attack. He can defend. He can remain disciplined. He can make quick, smart decisions. However, his injury and the time on the sideline has meant that others are currently ahead of him in the pecking order. He’ll need to go some to usurp them; especially when playing for Celta Vigo who are battling at the wrong end of the table.
Mallo is as complete a full-back as you are likely to find at just 22; ignoring David Alaba who is the exception to the rule. Hugo could play for any time across Europe’s big five leagues and do a very good job. He’s been so impressive since recovering from his injury that some Premier League clubs are said to be plotting a January swoop for him.
"A season ending injury stole away an important chapter in his progression, but the strapping full-back has returned in some style. Disciplined and strong in defence, plus a threat with his crossing and attitude on the ball, he ticks all the correct boxes. Let's make up for some lost time..." - David Cartlidge, Spanish football expert
"Hugo Mallo (84) has made more clearances this season in La Liga than any other Celta de Vigo player." - Opta
C Has got the hang of things quickly after a long lay-off