John Guidetti has won over the Celta Vigo supporters in his short time at the club and the Swedish striker wants to repay them by giving them a tour of his hometown of Stockholm in May.
Guidetti fired in the third goal as Celta triumphed 3-2 at home against Genk last week, establishing a narrow advantage in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final. And although he knows a long 90 minutes now awaits in Belgium, he cannot stop relishing the prospect of reaching the final at the Friends Arena.
“To play in any Europa League final would be motivation enough, even if it was on the moon, but of course for it to be played in Stockholm is a big thing for me,” Guidetti told UEFA.com. “It’s where I was born, where I grew up – it’s in my heart.”
The 25-year-old left the Swedish capital aged ten to move to Kenya with his family, returning four years later and turning professional at local team Brommapojkarna, but he was soon off on his travels again, moving to Manchester City, Burnley, Feyenoord, Stoke City and Celtic.
He has been at Celta for the last two seasons, and has settled in well with the Galician outfit. Not only has he developed into a key figure for Eduardo Berizzo’s side, registering four times in the UEFA Europa League this term, he has also become something of a cult figure among supporters.
When Guidetti scored the third goal against Genk, playing a one-two with Iago Aspas before slamming in at the near post, the home fans bounced along to Johnny G (The Guidetti Song), a tune recorded by Swedish DJ Fredrik Andersson of Badpojken in tribute to the striker.
“The Celta fans are fantastic,” said Guidetti, having also been given a raucous reception when substituted off in the second half. “Before the game with Genk they were here two hours ahead of kick-off and showed us so much love. We want to give it back to them by getting to the semi-finals.”
That will be no straightforward task, after Thomas Buffel’s header allowed Genk to reduce the deficit in the one-sided opening leg. The tie is now finely poised ahead of Thursday’s decider, but Guidetti believes his side have what it takes – and ought to fear no one if they reach the last four.
“We’re playing really well, we have a great squad and we just work hard together; we’re like a big family,” he said. “We’ve beaten Barcelona and Real Madrid and won away at Shakhtar Donetsk, so we can beat any team if we play the way we can.”