Player profile

Luis Garcia

Birthdate: 24 June 1978
Birthplace: Badalona, Spain
Other clubs: Barcelona (1994-99), Real Valladolid (1999-2002), Toledo (loan 2000-01), Tenerife (loan 2001-02), Atletico Madrid (2002-03), Barcelona (2 / 2003-04), Atletico Madrid (2 / 2007-09), Racing Santander (2009-10), Panathinaikos (2010-11), Puebla (2011-12), Pumas de la UNAM (2012-13), Atlético Kolkata (2014-)
Bought from: Barcelona
Signed for LFC: £6m, 20.08.2004
International debut: 26.03.2005 vs. China
International caps: 18/4 - 11.10.2006
Liverpool debut: 29.08.2004
Last appearance: 09.01.2007
Debut goal: 11.09.2004
Last goal: 30.12.2006
Contract expiry: 03.07.2007
Win ratio: 60.33% W: 73 D: 18 L: 30
Games/goals ratio: 4.03
Honours: Champions League 2005
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 2 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 77 / 18
Total LFC games/goals: 121 / 30

Player profile

Benítez was in charge of Tenerife in 2000/01 when Garcia starred for the club who got promoted to La Liga, scoring 16 league goals in 40 matches. However, Garcia was only on loan from Valladolid and returned there in 2001/02, playing 29 games, scoring ten goals. He moved to Atletico Madrid in a €3.6 million deal in 2002/03 where he was in sensational form, making 32 appearances and scoring nine. Barcelona activated an option in the player's contract allowing them to re-sign him at a cost of €5 million before the 2003/04 season. He had been raised in Barca's B-side from the age of 16 until he was 21. He played 38 games and scored eight goals in his only season in his second spell at Barcelona, coming into his own in the second half of the season. Garcia couldn't resist joining his former boss, Benítez, at Liverpool, along with his compatriot Xabi Alonso. Both became quite a hit in their first year in English football. Five vital goals by Garcia in the knock-out stages of the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea helped to ensure Liverpool's passage to the glorious final in Istanbul. "Was it or wasn't it?" is the eternal question about the Chelsea goal in the Champions League semi-final at Anfield, but the scoreboard said 1-0 in Liverpool's favour. Garcia was rather inconsistent in his second season, making 28 starts and coming on as a substitute in 22 games. He was brilliant one game and then wasteful in possession and seemingly careless in the next, frustrating his admirers. Garcia still added 11 goals to his tally of 13 from his debut season, the most important one being Liverpool's second in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Chelsea. Unfortunately for Garcia he was sent off only two minutes after coming on a substitute in the eightieth minute in a League game at Upton Park and he missed the last three games of the season through suspension including the FA Cup final victory against West Ham.

Garcia missed the second half of his third and last season at Liverpool after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the 6-3 loss to Arsenal on 9 January 2007. He returned to Spain in the summer of 2007 after rumours that his family was unsettled in Liverpool. Garcia failed to hold down a regular place with Atletico Madrid in his second season in the Spanish capital and lost his place in the national side. In August 2009 Garcia agreed a deal with Racing de Santander at the age of 31 after making close to half a century of league appearances for Atletico. He only featured in 15 games scoring no goals as Santander battled relegation. On deadline day, 31 August 2010, Garcia moved to Panathinaikos on a free transfer. His career was not revitalised in Greece as much as he probably hoped as he played in less than half of the defending champions' Süper Lig matches. The popular Spaniard flew back to England so that he could appear in Jamie Carragher's testimonial match in September where he scored a cracking goal to remind everyone of his mercurial talent. Garcia has been playing in Mexico for the last couple of years with Puebla and Pumas de la UNAM. 

In the middle of January 2014 the Spaniard announced his retirement as a player at the age of thirty-five having played in fifteen matches (scoring twice) in the first part (the apertura, July to December 2013) of Mexico's Liga MX tournament. The little Spaniard's planned retirement as a player did not last long. In July 2014 Garcia announced that he would be joining Atlético de Kolkata to play in the newly-formed Indian Super League.

Benítez summed up Luis Garcia perfectly: "You have to accept Luis for what he is. When he played for me at Tenerife, I tried to change him, but you have to say OK, he does what he does and provides different things. I have kept trying to remind him - many times - that when he takes the risks he does, he should do it closer to the opposition box. He can give possession away and that can anger the fans. But he also does different things that excite them and he scores goals. I tried to change him in Spain, and he scored 16 goals for me, so you have to accept what he does." Garcia is still immensely popular on Merseyside as his song that so many Liverpool supporters have sung at the top of their voices.

Luis Garcia
He drinks Sangria
He came from Barca to Liverpool!

He's five foot seven
He's football heaven
So please don't take our Luis away!

Appearances per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals7745323121
2004-2005 290312044
2005-2006 313113250
2006-2007 17117127

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

TotalOpponent
11Chelsea
6Blackburn Rovers
6Bolton Wanderers
5Arsenal
5Manchester United
5Newcastle United
5Fulham
4Tottenham
4Middlesbrough
4Birmingham City
4WBA
4Manchester City
4Everton
3West Ham United
3Portsmouth
3Charlton Athletic
3Watford
2Crystal Palace
2Benfica
2CSKA Sofia
2Wigan Athletic
2Monaco
2Galatasaray
2Leverkusen
2Anderlecht
2Juventus
2FBK Kaunas
2Southampton
2Norwich City
2Sunderland
2Aston Villa
2Maccabi Haifa
2Deportivo
2Bordeaux
1TNS
1CSKA Moscow
1Deportivo Sap.
1Sao Paolo
1Olympiacos
1AC Milan
1PSV Eindhoven
1Real Betis
Total Started/substitutions
85 Started
1 On the bench
36 Substitute
30 Substituted

Goals per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals181011030
2004-2005 8005013
2005-2006 7103011
2006-2007 300306

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

TotalStarted/substitutions
26Started
4Substitute
TotalGoal minute period
41-15 minutes
516-30 minutes
631-45 minutes
446-60 minutes
661-75 minutes
476-90 minutes
191-120 minutes
TotalOpen play/Penalty
30Open play
0Penalty

Wartime Appearances / Goals

SeasonAppearancesGoals
No records to display.

Stats note

Milestone Appearances

#DateAgainstStadiumCompetition
129.08.2004Bolton WanderersReebok StadiumLeague
5020.08.2005SunderlandAnfieldLeague
10020.09.2006Newcastle UnitedAnfieldLeague

Milestone Goals

#MinuteDateAgainstStadiumCompetition
16011.09.2004WBAAnfieldLeague

Related Articles

A letter from Luis Garcia

Having now settled into a new career and a new challenge with Atletico Madrid, Luis Garcia sent a letter to Reds' fans all over the world.More

Mersey maverick

An interview by Jonathon Northcroft in The Sunday Times on the 17th of December 2006.More

García arrival undoes Lehmann's heroics and Arsenal hopes

Match report from Liverpool - Arsenal on 14.02.2006 from the Guardian.More

Garcia won't shut his box of tricks

Article published on Nov 1 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post. More

Garcia leaves it late

BBC report on Tottenham 0-1 Liverpool on 30 December 2006.More

Spanish Red interviews Luis Garcia

In the latter part of the 2004-2005 season Spanish Red interviewed Luis Garcia on several occasions and posted on RAWK.More

Related Quotes

"Luis has learned English pretty quickly and is a bit of a joker himself now. He's also taken to card games at the back of the coach every week. I'm not sure what's going on with his hair though, there's usually half a tub of gel on his head every day."

Neil Mellor on Luis Garcia in February 2005

"I admit at first I was scared to come to England. I was afraid of learning a new language, getting to know new players of so many nationalities. Benitez asked me if I was willing to change my surroundings, that he had thought of a special role in the side for me, that the adventure was going to interesting, attractive and that he needed competitive people like me. He knows me very well from our time together at Tenerife and I just had to come.

In an early game away at Man United, Rio Ferdinand kicked me with all of his power. I flew one metre high and when I landed he muttered: 'Welcome to the Premiership'. In midfield it is like a wrestling match. Football is very different here to Spain."

Garcia in March 2005

"When Rafa took over at Valencia people were saying they weren't really a good team. They were always a compact side under Hector Cuper, drawing 0-0 and 1-1 all the time. But after Christmas in that first season they started winning games 1-0 and 2-1, winning all the time, and went on to win the title when nobody expected them to. I think we are getting closer to that and are more consistent.

I think the manager has had to change some of his methods to suit the game here. He has maintained the main things that he finds important to the team, such as the workrate in training and out on the pitch, but I think he is more adaptable now depending on the opposition. His tactics have developed to the point where he will change his formation much more. He didn't used to do it as much but now he might go from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 or 5-2-3. We change sometimes but more often than not it depends on the other team. He learns with experience all the time."

Luis Garcia on Liverpool’s progress in the 2005-2006 season

"We found out we had drawn them in the knockout round after training, and you should have seen the faces of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher – it was an immense 'Bring them on' look'.

Luis Garcia on the Scousers' reaction after Liverpool drew Barcelona in the 2006-2007 Champions League

"After the game, Sheila, who was sitting right in line in the main stand, said to me that the ball had crossed the line. She was a very honest person so that was good enough for me. It was a goal."

Rafa Benítez on Luis Garcia's goal vs Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final. Sheila Walsh his private secretary, left no doubt in his mind on the validity of the goal!

The player was in the squad the following season

SeasonShirt #Position
2004-2005 10 Midfielder
2005-2006 10 Midfielder
2006-2007 10 Midfielder
* Note, Since the 1993-94 season players have been allocated a fixed number.

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