Luis García (footballer, born 1978)
García playing for Puebla
|Full name||Luis Javier García Sanz|
|Date of birth||24 June 1978|
|Place of birth||Badalona, Spain|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Winger / Attacking midfielder|
|1999–2000||→ Valladolid (loan)||6||(0)|
|2000||→ Toledo (loan)||17||(4)|
|2000–2001||→ Tenerife (loan)||40||(16)|
|2001–2002||→ Valladolid (loan)||25||(7)|
|2009–2010||Racing de Santander||15||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:38, 7 July 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Although naturally left-footed, he has ability to kick with both feet and has a good aerial game, despite a small frame. He played professionally for Barcelona and Atlético Madrid in his homeland, amongst others – being brought up in the former's youth ranks – appearing abroad for Liverpool, with which he won one UEFA Champions League amongst other major titles.
Born in Badalona, Barcelona, Catalonia, García was a product of local FC Barcelona's prolific youth ranks but, after two successful seasons with its B-team, he left on loan for Real Valladolid, where he made his La Liga debut on 22 August 1999 in a 0–1 loss at CD Numancia. He finished the campaign at Segunda División's CD Toledo also on loan, his four goals not being enough to prevent relegation for the Castile-La Mancha side.
Subsequently, García played another year in the second level, being instrumental in CD Tenerife's promotion by scoring 16 league goals under the guidance of manager Rafael Benítez. Loaned for the fourth time by Barcelona, he returned to Valladolid for 2001–02, netting seven top division goals in 25 contests, including two in a 5–1 success at Tenerife.
In the 2002–03 season, García was sold to Atlético Madrid for €3.6 million but, after a highly successful individual campaign (nine league goals), Barcelona activated a clause which allowed the player's return for an additional €1.4 million.
García was signed by former Tenerife coach Benítez for Liverpool in August 2004, for a fee of £6 million. He was bought essentially as a replacement for El Hadji Diouf, but proved much more than a stand-in, and became a key component of Liverpool's attacking unit. He made his Premier League debut on 29 August in 0–1 away loss against Bolton Wanderers, where he had an apparently legitimate goal ruled out for offside; his first goal with his new club came against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield in September, and he went on to net seven more league goals that season, including the winner in the Merseyside derby against Everton on 20 March 2005.
García was also a key player in Liverpool's successful campaign in the UEFA Champions League, scoring winning goals against Juventus and Chelsea (a controversial goal in the fourth minute, dubbed a "ghost goal" by Chelsea manager José Mourinho), in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively. Having appeared in the final against A.C. Milan, he finished his first season in English football with 13 goals in all competitions.
García did not make so much of an impact in the 2005–06 campaign, although he weighed in with some vital goals, including a lofted finish against Chelsea to put them out of the FA Cup in the semi-finals. He was suspended for the final victory against West Ham United, having been sent off in a league game just days after his semi-final winner, incidentally against West Ham; early into the season, he also scored the third goal in the Reds' 2005 UEFA Super Cup final win.
On 10 January 2007, following the 3–6 loss to Arsenal in the League Cup which was his final game for Liverpool, it was confirmed by the club that García had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee during the game; he would be out for at least six months.
His positive relationship with club fans was in great measure due to the fact of his decisive goals against Chelsea. It was further underlined by the song frequently sung in his honour, to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine": "Luis García, he drinks Sangria/he came from Barça to bring us joy!/He's five-foot seven, he's football heaven/So please don't take our Luis away!"
García ranked 43rd in the 100 Players Who Shook the Kop online poll, with Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard being the only current squad players ranked higher. On 21 August 2007, Liverpoolfc.tv published a letter from the player to the fans in which he expressed his appreciation, and he later revealed he wanted to return to Spain at some point and play for Atlético Madrid – previously, on 2 July, his agent revealed that a deal was being put in place for a permanent transfer. All in all he scored 30 goals in 121 appearances for Liverpool, with ten coming in the Champions League, five in the knockout stages of the 2005 triumph.
Return to Spain / Later years
In early July 2007, García signed with former team Atlético Madrid for around £4 million, with his transfer being negotiated between the two clubs around the same time that they were arranging a deal for Fernando Torres in the opposite direction. Nonetheless, these deals were conducted separately.
After a first season, where he played mainly as backup to Portugal's Simão Sabrosa, though still managing 30 league appearances, with García playing both matches against former side Liverpool in the following campaign's Champions League group stage. On 4 November 2008, he came on as a late substitute at Anfield, to appreciative applause. During 2008–09's league, however, he fell out of favour, appearing mainly as a late substitute and sometimes not even making the list of 18.
On 11 August 2009, it was confirmed García had reached an agreement with Racing de Santander. His season was quite unassuming, as he appeared in only 15 league matches without scoring and the Cantabrian side narrowly avoided relegation.
On 28 August 2010, García signed a one-year contract with Greek team Panathinaikos FC. On 4 September he flew back to Anfield to take part in Carragher's testimonial match, scoring a goal in the second minute; ten days later, he returned to the Camp Nou, playing the last 20 minutes in a 1–5 loss for the Champions League group stage.
In early June 2012, García signed for another club in the country's top division, Pumas UNAM, joining alongside Argentine Martín Romagnoli for an undisclosed fee. He made his official debut against Club Tijuana, playing 76 minutes.
On 14 January 2014, aged 35, García announced his retirement from football. He made the announcement on his official website, saying, "Today I've decided to retire as a professional footballer, thanks for the interest from the teams that spoke with me in recent weeks, but I think the time has come to end this important chapter in my life and move to the next page."
After a productive first season with Liverpool, García made his debut for the Spanish national team on 26 March 2005, appearing in a 3–0 friendly win with China in Salamanca. On 12 November of that year, he scored a hat-trick in a 5–1 home success against Slovakia for the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification play-offs.
García was then chosen as part of the nation's squad-of-23 for the finals in Germany. He started in wins against Ukraine and Tunisia, and was used as a substitute in the round-of-16 1–3 loss to France.
|1.||12 November 2005||Vicente Calderón, Madrid, Spain||Slovakia||1–0||5–1||2006 World Cup qualification|
|2.||12 November 2005||Vicente Calderón, Madrid, Spain||Slovakia||2–0||5–1||2006 World Cup qualification|
|3.||12 November 2005||Vicente Calderón, Madrid, Spain||Slovakia||4–1||5–1||2006 World Cup qualification|
|4.||2 September 2006||Nuevo Vivero, Badajoz, Spain||Liechtenstein||4–0||4–0||Euro 2008 qualifying|
- UEFA Champions League: 2004–05; Runner-up 2006–07
- UEFA Super Cup: 2005
- FA Cup: 2005–06
- FA Community Shield: 2006
- Atlético Madrid
- As of 10 November 2013
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Supercopa de España||Europe||Total|
|1997–98||Barcelona B||Segunda División B||42||17||0||0||-||0||0||42||17|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Supercopa de España||Europe||Total|
|2007–08||Atlético Madrid||La Liga||30||2||6||0||-||5||1||41||3|
|Greece||League||Greek Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Mexico||League||Cup||League Cup||North America||Total|
|2012–13||Pumas UNAM||Liga MX||22||2||7||4||29||6|
- Barça buy back Luis García; UEFA.com, 1 July 2003
- "Motion expert says Garcia's shot did cross the line". The Independent. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
- "Red-card duo face anxious wait". ESPN Soccernet. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- "Liverpool 3–1 CSKA Moscow". ESPN Soccernet. 26 August 2005. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- "Luis García returns to Atlético". UEFA.com. 3 July 2007. Archived from the original on 5 July 2007.
- El Racing llega a un principio de acuerdo con el internacional Luis García (Racing reaches early agreement with international Luís García) (Spanish)
- Luis Garcia set to complete Panathinaikos switch; Yahoo!, 28 August 2010
- El internacional jugador español Luis García llega al Puebla de la Franja (Spanish international player Luis García Saenz arrives at Puebla de la Franja); Medio Tiempo, 1 July 2011 (Spanish)
- Pumas entrenó completo (Pumas trained in full); Central Deportiva, 4 June 2012 (Spanish)
- "Former Liverpool star and hero of Istanbul Luis Garcia retires". Irish Independent. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Luis Garcia embarks on an Indian adventure". Goal.com. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- "Aperitivo oriental" [Oriental hors d'oeuvre] (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 27 March 2005. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "Spain 5–1 Slovakia". BBC Sport. 12 November 2005. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- Garcia missed the 2006 FA Cup final due to suspension. However, additional medals are awarded by the FA.
- "Luis García". Soccerway. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- BDFutbol profile
- National team data
- Luis García career stats at Soccerbase
- Liverpool historic profile
- Luis García Liga MX stats at Medio Tiempo.com (Spanish)
- Luis García at National-Football-Teams.com
- Luis García – FIFA competition record