In an interview with L’Esportieu, Manchester City defender Eric Garcia has talked on a range of topics, including City, his future, and comparisons with Gerard Piqué. Last season, the 20-year-old had his breakout campaign but has suffered a rather difficult 2020/21.
Finding it impossible to compete with the likes of Ruben Dias, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, and even Nathan Ake, Garcia has barely made an impact all season. However, given his potential, Barcelona have decided to sign him regardless, on a free and with rather minimal wages.
Garcia was asked whether he feels comfortable about coming back to the Camp Nou or whether he feels that it is a ‘brave’ decision. He said, “I have thought about my future, what I think is the best now. I think it’s a brave decision. I am very convinced of the step I have taken.” The 20-year-old’s transfer back to Barça is essentially guaranteed, and he will be hoping to make an impact in a defence that requires much-needed reinforcement.
The former Barça defender was asked about the various comparisons between him and legendary defender Gerard Pique, who followed a similar route early on in his career. He said, “Nothing, I don’t care because I think we’re different footballers, right?”
When pushed about the comparison again, Garcia gave in and replied, “To be honest, I play down the issue. Gerard has achieved everything, he is one of the best centre-backs in the world, is more than recognised and I am only 20, and I am just starting my career. So the only possible comparison is this, that we both are from the academy and we lived in Manchester, but he played for the not so good team. I was luckier and could play at the better team of Manchester. A shame for him.”
Garcia, while obviously Barça-bound, continues to show full faith and support in Manchester City. His confidence to back his team is admirable. In fact, even given the difficult campaign he has suffered, the Spaniard feels no regrets, as all that matters for him is the success of his team: “I haven’t played much, but I always put the team ahead and the team has been spectacular, so for me this season has been amazing. I am very happy with the year, really. I am very proud to be able to say that I played for City in 2020/21 despite a hard year. Also, I made my debut with the national team and I was called up for the European Championship.”
The young starlet was asked his feelings on Barça signing Aguero, especially given that the Argentine is on the wrong side of 30. Garcia and him are teammates at City, meaning that he expectedly backed Aguero’s signing for the Catalan outfit. “Kun is a phenomenon and a goal-scoring machine. His age? Forget it! Kun will score goals until the age of 100, he is a legend, a myth. And a fabulous companion.”
Garcia expressed great happiness on being called up for the Spanish National Team as part of the upcoming European Championship. Speaking about it, he said, “The truth is, yes, I’m very happy. I was already surprised by the call I received in September, so you can already imagine how happy I am to be going to the European Championships. I will try to live up to the confidence of Luis Enrique.”
The youngster has been said to enjoy a special relationship with Guardiola, who once wished he could have “15 Eric Garcias” in his team. Speaking on whether the Catalan tactician’s achievements are valued enough, Garcia said, “No, I think they make it look like they don’t see it; they don’t want to see it. Since he arrived, implanting his philosophy, achieving this success. But till today he continues to teach lessons, in the team we continue to learn every day. Every training session is a class. Well, it’s hard to explain.”
On his relationship with Guardiola, he said, “I have a very good relationship with him. I am so grateful for everything he has given me. He gave me my debut, he gave me chances after the break, he has been worried about teaching me things from day one. I have tried to reciprocate the affection and confidence by always being prepared. Pep has given me everything and I have tried to live up to it.”
Finally, the discussion moved to the Champions League final against Chelsea, set to take place in Porto tonight. Manchester City have suffered a largely difficult competition with Chelsea this season, having lost their last two games against Thomas Tuchel’s side. Speaking on these games, and the team’s mentality going into the Champions League final against Chelsea, he said, “We know it’s a very tricky team, obviously. But we can have no doubts, we just have to be ourselves and play as we know. We know each other well, because we play in the same league. I think if we are at our best we can beat them, even though Chelsea have won the last two games.”