Nestor Araujo moves to Celta Vigo from Santos Laguna

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Alfredo Estrella
The Mexico national team defender is off to Spain after a decorated career with Los Guerreros

Mexico national team center back Nestor Araujo is joining La Liga club Celta de Vigo, his Liga MX side Santos Laguna announced Thursday.

Araujo has been in Liga MX since making his professional debut in 2010. He joined Santos from Cruz Azul in 2013 and helped the team to title victories in the 2015 Clausura and the 2018 Clausura in addition to a Copa MX crown in 2014. He also was named Best Defender at the end of the 2017 Clausura.

The 25-year-old also had a quick rise wearing the green of El Tri. Araujo became a regular for Juan Carlos Osorio's national team after strong performances in the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Complications from a knee injury suffered with Mexico in a March friendly forced him to pull out of the 2018 World Cup squad, however.

Were he healthy, Araujo likely would've started at least one group match, if not more throughout the tournament. 

While right-footed, Araujo played in the left center back spot for Santos, with his crisp passing out of the back and physical defending standing out and earning the attention of clubs from abroad.

"It's an opportunity, a new stage to continue growing and to fulfill my dream and the end of a great cycle at Santos Laguna," he said in a Santos statement. "My family and I are very happy to come to Europe, arrive to a team like Celta Vigo, and to have the opportunity to demonstrate what I can do and put Mexico's name on high.

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"I'm very grateful and I don't get tired of saying it. The best decision I've made in my career was to play for Santos Laguna."

Araujo had been linked with a European move in the last several transfer windows, but ultimately it's a familiar face who brings him across the Atlantic. Former Monterrey manager Antonio Mohamed is Celta's new coach, with reports emerging that he's been chatting with a number of players who caught his eye in Mexico about joining him in Spain.

The Mexico national team also congratulated him on the move, tweeting encouragement for Araujo to "put the name of Mexico on high in Spain." Once the defender recovers, he is likely to figure in the plans for the next World Cup cycle.

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