The twenty year old midfielder is one of the best of a steady stream of players to emerge from Osasuna’s youth system ‘las Promesas’ in recent years. The Pamplona based club has traditionally relied upon local talent to fill its ranks and this current Osasuna side is no exception, Raul Garcia follows in the footsteps of former ‘promesas’ Cesar Cruchaga and captain Patxi Punal.
The player's home town of Pamplona is perhaps more famous for the annual running of the bulls during the San Fermin festival, but more recently the football club, Osasuna, has been in the spotlight and has received a number of visitors from outside of Spain, with scouts from both Chelsea and Manchester united reported to be amongst them. With the team finishing a very respectable fourth place last season, Raul Garcia’s performances made him the target for a number of Europe’s top clubs in only his second season in the first team.
Garcia, brought in to the side to replace the Real Madrid bound Pablo Garcia has been magnificent and a firm favourite of La Liga Review. He is best described as the complete midfield player and is comfortable in either attack or defence. Physically strong and tall, he is composed on the ball and capable of providing the ‘killer’ pass; Guillem Balague has even likened him to Zidane. The player also attracted the joint attentions of Guti and Beckham who tried to provoke him by telling him ‘You’re ugly you are’ and although its true that Garcia may not be joining the pair of them on the catwalk, he is proving to be more than capable of sharing the football field with them.
Perhaps the only mystery surrounding the player is that, in spite of his appearances for the Spanish under 21’s, he is yet to receive his full international call up.
Known locally as ‘The pearl of the Tajonar’, Garcia recently turned down the opportunity to join his former coach Javier Aguirre at Atletico Madrid and as a sign of his commitment has signed a new contract that will tie him to Osasuna until 2009; unless of course someone is prepared to meet the 25 million euros buy-out clause. If the player continues to put in the kind of performances that caught the eye last season, starting tonight at Barcelona where he made his club debut in 2004, then it won’t be long before some of those bigger clubs return, cheque books at the ready.>