Palma scored his first goal for Celtic against Kilmarnock after his previous chance against Lazio was cut short by VAR.
Luis Palma has the potential to become a trailblazer for young Honduran players, thanks to his burgeoning talent. Former Celtic striker Simon Donnelly is convinced that the 23-year-old winger can be a valuable addition to the Scottish champions, providing a level of skill that can complement the pace of his teammates.
Palma has started his career at Parkhead promisingly, making his debut off the bench against Dundee after the season’s first international break. Impressively, he was then given his first start for the club in the Champions League encounter against Feyenoord in Rotterdam three days later.
Palma notched his first goal for the Hoops in a win against Motherwell at Fir Park, before heading off to join the Honduras national team. He returned to Scotland and is expected to feature in the starting lineup against Hearts at Tynecastle.
Palma’s early performances since his £3.5 million transfer from Greek side Aris have caught the attention of the Celtic faithful and Donnelly sees him as a player who can offer variety in a key area.
Despite having speedsters like Daizen Maeda, Liel Abada, and Yang Hyun-jun as options on the flanks for manager Brendan Rodgers, Palma can provide a different dimension with his ability to come inside and link up the play, rather than relying solely on pace. Donnelly praised Palma’s footballing intelligence and ability to create opportunities for his teammates in attacking areas.
Luis Palma has impressed at Parkhead with his technique, as highlighted in his strike against Kilmarnock and his goal against Lazio in the Champions League match, despite it being ruled out. His sudden impact has captured the imagination of the public in his homeland of Honduras, with his Lazio moment a hot topic.
The country has previously produced top players such as Wilson Palacios, Maynor Figueroa, and Hendry Thomas, who have all competed in England’s top flight.
Emilio Izaguirre was also a valuable contributor at Celtic after being signed by Neil Lennon in 2010, with his two spells at the club covering almost a decade.
Paulo Hernandez, the agent responsible for Izaguirre’s move to Scotland, also played a key role in Palma’s arrival and believes that the winger’s work in Glasgow, along with his success in Greece, will encourage more clubs to look at Honduran players and open up a pathway for them.
Hernandez thinks Palma’s success will help Honduran players gain more recognition and respect. He said, “Luis’ good performance is going to make the Honduran player loved a little more. The Honduran player is a worker and wants to progress…It makes me happy to see him debut in the Champions League as a starter. What Luis has achieved has a lot of merit but not only for him, I imagine that it is also a source of pride for the country.”
Hernandez believes that Palma’s success story will encourage more players from Honduras to make it big in Europe. He said, “He [Palma] is a boy I have known since he was 17.
I have made a journey with him very close to his family and the credit goes to the player…It is a special market in which you have to trust, push the players, and overcome some resistance because of the passport when you are in Honduras still weighs. But I have absolute confidence in the national team, which is the greatest reflection of Honduran football. I think we are going to enter a beautiful stage and this will push us so that we can see more.”
Hernandez is confident that Palma will continue to perform well and make a name for himself in the world of football. He said, “He [Palma] is going to go as far as he wants…He is a very professional boy, he believes in his abilities, so he will go as far as he wants.” Speaking to media outlet Diez, Hernandez continued, “It is the ability, we cannot forget that 18 months ago he was playing for Vida and now he has made his debut in the Champions League. For Hondurans, it is one of the most important [transfers] in recent times. Luis’ transfer will be among the top four or five in the history of Honduran football.”