Happy Birthday Luis Garcia!
Garcia was a part of the Barcelona Youth system before signing for Real Valladolid in 1999. He went out on loan to Toledo and then to Tenerife. Rafa Benitez was in charge at Tenerife when Garcia starred for the club who got promoted to La Liga scoring 16 goals in 40 matches. He returned to Valladolid after his loan spell and played 129 games and scored 10 goals. He signed for Atletico Madrid in a â?¬3.6 million deal in 2002/03 and was in great form appearing in 32 matches and scoring nine goals.
Barcelona activated the option in his contract to re-sign him for a fee of â?¬5 million before the 2003/04 season. He played in 38 games scoring 8 goals in his only season of his second spell at the Catalan side. Garcia could not resist linking up with former manager Rafa Benitez at Anfield, Xabi Alonso had just signed for the Reds too and both of them became a hit in their first season on Merseyside. He scored five vital goals in the knock-out stages against Bayern Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea helped ensure Liverpool’s passage to the final in Istanbul.
He was quite inconsistent in his second season at Anfield, he still added 11 goals to his tally of 13 from his first season with his most important being against Chelsea in the semi-final of the FA Cup. Unfortunately for Garcia he was sent off only two minutes after coming on as a substitute in the 80th minute in a League game at Upton Park meaning he missed the last three games of the season, one of them being the FA Cup final victory against west Ham.
He missed a large portion of his third season at Anfield after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He returned to Spain in the summer of 2007 and signed for former side Atletico Madrid but he couldn’t hold down a place in the starting eleven. He agreed a deal with Racing De Santander but only featured in 15 games and didn’t manage to score any goals and on deadline day of 2010 he moved to Panathinaikos on a free transfer.
He announced his retirement as a player in Janaury 2014 at the age of 35 but his retirement didn’t last long before signing for Atletico de Kolkata in the newly formed Indian Super League. After winning a trophy over there he then announced his retirement again and has since then become a part of the Liverpool legends set up.
Garcia finished his Liverpool career with 121 appearances scoring 30 goals. His most famous goal being against Chelsea in the semi-final of the Champions League and is still talked about to this day by fans around the world.
Article by Lauren Black [email protected]_Black9
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