As the Liverpool chant goes, ‘he came from Barca to bring us joy’. I don’t think there is any question that he achieved this with Liverpool. This week Luis García retired from football. He may not be one of Liverpool’s most memorable signings but the little attacker from Spain had a very successful spell in England.
Luis García was a product of the Barcelona youth program, but it was actually a loan spell at Tenerife with a certain Rafa Benitez that started the road to Liverpool. Luis García scored 16 goals in a promotion campaign for Tenerife. After this spell García bounced around many clubs on loan, until the most important move of his career.
The announcement of Rafa Benitez as Liverpool manager in 2004 saw an influx of players from Spain joining the reds. Luis García joined along with Xabi Alonso as two of Benitez’s best signings of the Rafa revolution. It was to be a season to capture the hearts of the Anfield faithful.
In his first season at Liverpool, García won the most notable of trophies in club football, the Champions League. In an unbelievable cup run Luis García installed himself as a favourite amongst supporters, with several important goals.
A challenging tie against Bayer Leverkusen was the first time Luis García exploded on to the European stage. Liverpool used home advantage to take control of the tie and García was the man to kick that off, the Spaniard then got a taste for goal and netted a further two in the second leg to destroy Leverkusen 6-2 on aggregate.
Next on García’s hit list was Juventus, an exquisite long-range finish put Liverpool 2-0 up in the game and as it turned out the winning goal. He then got the only goal of the following tie as Liverpool famously knocked Chelsea out in the semi finals from what has become known as the ghost goal. Whether or not it crossed the line will always be up for debate. García did play in the final, but could not continue the goal scoring form despite Liverpool winning the competition.
The following season saw the tricky Spaniard continue his goal scoring form in both the Premier League and cup competions. His goal of the season being the stunner against Chelsea once again, in the FA Cup semi final that sent Liverpool into the final and yet again winners.
These two amazing seasons on Anfield were enough to warrant a call to International football in a very good Spanish side. The cheeky attacking midfielder bagged 4 goals in 20 for his country.
After Liverpool came spells at Atlético Madrid and then Racing and Panathinaikos before finishing his professional career in Mexico. All these clubs could not return the success he achieved at Liverpool, but having won five trophies in his career including Europe’s finest, Luis García must be happy.
Still today Luis García’s name is chanted from the Anfield stands, he will forever be remembered for what he did in his three years at the club, and most certainly will go down as a Kop legend.