Sergio García (footballer, born 1983)
García playing for Espanyol in 2012
|Full name||Sergio García de la Fuente|
|Date of birth||9 June 1983|
|Place of birth||Barcelona, Spain|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Forward / Winger|
|1997–1999||→ Damm (loan)|
|2004–2005||→ Levante (loan)||31||(7)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 March 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 28 December 2016
After starting out at Barcelona, he went on to represent mainly Zaragoza and Espanyol, serving as captain of the latter. Over the course of 12 seasons, he amassed La Liga totals of 298 games and 71 goals.
Born in Barcelona, Catalonia, García rose through the ranks of FC Barcelona, finding however opportunities almost non-existent in the senior squad. A frequent goalscorer for the reserves in Segunda División B, he made his first-team debut on 29 October 2002, coming on as a substitute for Geovanni for the final 28 minutes of a 2–0 away win against Club Brugge KV in the season's UEFA Champions League; he made another cameo in that competition the following 19 March, in a 2–0 success at Newcastle United for the second group phase.
On 3 September 2003, García started in his La Liga debut in his first match at the Camp Nou, a 1–1 draw against Sevilla FC. On 1 March of the following year, he signed a three-year contract extension.
García was loaned to Levante UD on 21 July 2004, ahead of the upcoming top flight campaign. He scored his first goal in the category on 3 October to complete a 2–0 win over RCD Mallorca at the Estadi Ciutat de València, ranking team top scorer as the Valencians were relegated; his last goal came on 5 May 2004 in a 1–3 loss at Albacete Balompié, where he was sent off moments later for fighting with Santi.
Garcia played all 38 matches for Real Zaragoza in 2007–08, as they were eventually relegated from the top level. At the beginning of the following season, he was linked with a number of Premier League clubs including Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Stoke City, along with fellow team-mate Diego Milito. Rumours that he would leave Zaragoza had been further fuelled after the club's relegation, as he was thrown out of a side pre-season training session by manager Marcelino García Toral and was then left out of their opening day defeat against Levante.
On 1 September 2008, in the dying seconds of the transfer window, after continuous rumours, García signed for Real Betis, for a fee close to €10 million. He scored his first goal for his new club on 27 September in the team's home game against Real Madrid (1–2 loss), following up on his own saved penalty. On 16 November he netted a brace in at 3–1 home win over Racing de Santander and, on 18 January of the following year, added another in the 3–1 success at Real Valladolid, in which he also assisted the other goal.
García was sent off three times in the first half of the season. On 7 February 2009, he helped Betis achieve a landmark victory at neighbouring Sevilla, scoring in a 2–1 win. In form, he was struck with a knee injury after celebrating his opener against CD Numancia, a 3–3 home draw on 4 April, eventually missing a month of competition – with the team struggling during this time – and eventually dropping down a level at the end.
In August 2010, García signed a five-year contract with RCD Espanyol, moving to the club as a replacement to veteran Raúl Tamudo who left after nearly 20 years of service. He did not score in his first 15 games for Mauricio Pochettino's team, ending the drought on 9 January 2011 when as a substitute he concluded a 4–0 home win over former team Zaragoza, assisted by his namesake Luis.
On 24 November 2013, García scored his first hat-trick for the Pericos in a 4–1 win at Rayo Vallecano – two of his three goals came from the penalty spot. The following season, he netted a career-best (in Spain) 14 league goals.
García turned down an offer to join Qatar's Al Sadd SC, who had recently signed Barcelona's Xavi. On 29 June, however, he joined Al-Rayyan SC in the same country. He made his debut on 11 September, starting in a 4–0 Stars League home win against Al-Sailiya SC, and scored his first goal on 2 October when he confirmed a 2–0 success over Al-Mesaimeer Sports Club at the Thani bin Jassim Stadium; on 22 November, he scored twice and assisted one of Rodrigo Tabata's four goals in a league record 9–0 routing at Qatar SC.
García was part of the Spain under-19 team that won the 2002 UEFA European Championship in Norway, equalising in the 3–1 win over Slovakia in their final group game in Drammen. On 22 October 2003, against the same country but at under-20 level, he netted a hat-trick in a 4–0 win in preparation for the FIFA World Youth Championship. During the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, he scored against Mali in the group and netted the only goal against Paraguay in the last 16, as the nation finished as runners-up.
Without having been previously capped, García made the Spanish final squad-of-23 for UEFA Euro 2008 (which Spain went on to win) as a replacement for Barcelona's Bojan Krkić. He made his debut for the national side on 31 May 2008, coming on as an 83rd-minute substitute for David Silva in a 2–1 friendly win against Peru in Huelva.
On 18 June, García earned his first competitive cap, playing for the full 90 minutes against Greece in Spain's third and final group D game in Euro 2008: in the 88th minute, he delivered a pinpoint left-footed cross for Daniel Güiza to head home the 2–1 winner.
García also represented Spain at all youth levels, as well as appearing frequently for the unofficial Catalan national team. On 22 December 2009, he scored the side's first goal in a 4–2 victory against Argentina and, on 30 December 2013, he netted twice in a 4–1 triumph over Cape Verde.
- As of 20 March 2015
|Levante (loan)||2004–05||La Liga||31||7||1||0||—||32||7|
- Spain U19
- Spain U20
- "Debe ser el número 23" [Must be number 23] (in Spanish). ESPN Deportes. 18 November 2006. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- "Barcelona dent Brugge hopes". UEFA.com. 29 October 2002. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- Glendenning, Barry (19 March 2003). "Newcastle 0–2 Barcelona". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "Ronaldinho da sentido a la 'madrugá' catalana" [Ronaldinho gives meaning to the Catalan 'early getup'] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 3 September 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- Sergio García signs new deal; UEFA.com, 1 March 2004
- "Sergio Garcia jugará en el Levante UD esta temporada" [Sergio García will play for Levante UD this season] (in Spanish). Levante UD. 21 July 2004. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "El Levante cumple ante su afición tras vencer al Mallorca" [Levante get job done in front of their fans by beating Mallorca] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 3 October 2004. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "El Albacete condena al Levante a sufrir hasta el final" [Albacete condemn Levante to suffer until the end] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 8 May 2005. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- Marcelino echa del entrenamiento a Sergio García (Marcelino throws Sergio García out of training session); Periodista Digital, 4 August 2008 (Spanish)
- Betis build with Sergio García; UEFA.com, 2 September 2008
- Sergio García: "Poco a poco se puede estar más arriba" (García: "Little by little we can move up in the ranks"); Marca, 3 September 2008 (Spanish)
- Real Betis 1–2 Real Madrid; ESPN Soccernet, 27 September 2008
- Real Betis 3–1 Racing Santander; ESPN Soccernet, 16 November 2008
- Valladolid 1–3 Real Betis; ESPN Soccernet, 18 January 2009
- "Madrid sting Betis with late Ruud strike". Goal.com. 27 September 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "Depor shock Betis for first away win". Goal.com. 2 November 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- Sevilla FC 1–2 Real Betis; ESPN Soccernet, 7 February 2009
- Real Betis 3–3 Numancia; ESPN Soccernet, 4 April 2009
- Quixano, Jordi (10 January 2011). "El Espanyol baila al Zaragoza" [Espanyol dance against Zaragoza] (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "El Espanyol golea al Rayo con un triplete de Sergio García" [Espanyol thrash Rayo with a hat-trick from Sergio García] (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "Sergio García, de leyenda" [Sergio García, like a legend] (in Spanish). Marca. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- Juárez, María Carmen (27 May 2015). "Sergio García da marcha atrás y dice 'no' al fútbol qatarí" [Sergio García makes a U-turn and says 'no' to Qatari football] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Sergio García marxarà al Qatar" [Sergio García will go to Qatar] (in Catalan). RCD Espanyol. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- "Al Rayyan thrash Qatar SC 9–0 to register record win". Gulf Times. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "Al Rayyan crowned QSL champions, end 21 years wait". Qatar Football Association. 5 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "España se mete en la final de la mano de Fernando Torres" [Spain advances to the finals at the hand of Fernando Torres] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 26 July 2002. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "Sergio García da el triunfo" [Sergio García gives triumph] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 22 October 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "España se clasifica al vencer 1–0 a Paraguay" [Spain qualify by beating Paraguay 1–0] (in Spanish). El Universo. 9 December 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- Spain denied at final hurdle; UEFA.com, 19 December 2003
- "Raúl Out, Sergio García in Spain Euro 2008 Squad". Goal.com. 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
- "España-Perú (2–1): Un ensayo poco convincente" [Spain-Peru (2–1): A hardly convincing trial] (in Spanish). Huelva Información. 1 June 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Russia 2–0 Sweden & Greece 1–2 Spain". BBC Sport. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "Catalonia – Cape Verde: Catalonia claim victory with eight FC Barcelona players (4–1)". FC Barcelona. 30 December 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "Sergio García: Sergio García de la Fuente". BDFutbol. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Sergio García". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
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