He drinks sangria, He came from Barca, To bring us joy, He’s five foot seven, He’s football heaven, So please don’t take our Luis away
Alas, it’s time to bid farewell to a player who has served the club well over the past few seasons; one who both frustrated and thrilled Liverpool fans, often within the space of a few minutes. He was one of Rafa’s first buys and has gone on to endear himself well to the Anfield faithful.
Sadly, Lil’ Luis Garcia is indeed making the move to Atletico Madrid after the Spanish club announced they have reached an agreement with Liverpool. Garcia, pending a physical, will sign a three-year contract with his former club for a fee said to be in the neighborhood of around £4 million.
This was a move I wasn’t ready to see happen.
We all know the ‘knock’ on Luis: he gives up possession far too easily/often with his flair attempts. But just as often as he was supposed to turn the ball over (as every player does, especially the more creative types), he produced equal moments of stunning beauty and sheer bliss. He brought a bit of Spanish panache to Anfield and played each match with incredible heart and wonderful energy. His penchant for providing a much-needed spark of life during the big matches was especially delightful.
Quite frankly, whether the ball tricks went off or not, he was always enjoyable to watch. Which isn’t to suggest that I never yelled at him or groaned when possession was lost. This was part of package with Luis, though. Because just as quickly as you had swore at him for something seemingly stupid, he’d instantly redeem himself with a splendid pass, a cheeky turn or an audacious goal that nobody on the pitch even saw coming.
In his first season (04/05), Garcia shared the title of top scorer for the club with Milan Baros & Steven Gerrard, all notching 13 goals. Luis’ haul included eight in the league and five in Europe. The next season, he chipped in with 11 goals (seven league, one FA Cup, three in Europe).
It’s a shame that his last season was cruelly cut short with an ACL injury, especially during the travesty that was the Arsenal-Carling Cup match. With three goals in the league and five in European play, one can only imagine the possibilites if it had been Luis on the left wing in Athens instead of Bolo Zenden. With such a startling contrast in styles, I think I know who most fans would have preferred.
While I’m sorry to see him go, I’ve made my peace with it by applying simple economic law: In order to gain something, you must be willing to give something. Although the deals are supposedly not dependent on one another, the reality is that Luis’ move back to Madrid has helped facilitate the capture of Fernando Torres. There are those who will say we got the best years of the 29-year old, but to suggest that his well is even close to running dry because he’s approaching the Big Three-Oh is silly, short-sighted and the sort of ageism Arsenal is so often guilty of.
Luis leaves with Champions League and FA Cup medals and less importantly, my respect and admiration. Since 2001, Alaves has been my sentimental favorite in La Liga, but I’ll certainly dial up some Atletico Madrid games on LiveFooty this season just to watch Senor Garcia. But regardless of what else he may achieve in his career, I will always remember him for two things: the thumb-sucking goal celebrations and the Goal That Crossed the Line in the Chelsea-CL semi-final.
Good luck, Luis Javier García Sanz. Thank you for the memories and the sangria.
I leave you with a fantastic retrospective in the form of Luis’ entry in the ‘100 Players Who Shook The Kop’ series…