After 18 seasons and 514 matches, midfielder Javi Garcia announced his retirement last night.
Most recently of Boavista in Portugal, Garcia brought his career to an end with an announcement on Instagram.
Now aged 35, Garcia came through the Real Madrid academy and made 31 appearances for the senior team mostly under Manuel Pellegrini.
He also spent a season at Osasuna on loan and was at Real Betis from 2017-20, although his most successful spells were at Benfica, Manchester City and Zenit St. Petersburg.
At City he was reunited with Pellegrini and was part of their 2014 English Premier League victory. He also made two appearances for the Spanish national team at a time when competition was at its highest in midfield.
In an emotional and lengthy post, Garcia gave thanks to all of his managers and all of the fans he crossed paths with for ‘making the dream of a boy from Murcia come true.’
The last 18 months were spent in Portugal with Boavista and according to Estadio Deportivo, he may be on the verge of becoming part of the coaching team at Benfica.
View this post on Instagram
18 seasons and 514 games later I have to say goodbye to you and your playing fields. It has been a very nice and above all very long journey since I took my first steps at my father’s football school in Murcia.
This has been a race that I would never have imagined and that has been full of good moments, which I have enjoyed a lot, and others not so good, which have made me learn and grow at all levels in order to overcome them.
I will always be grateful to all the coaches and teammates who have crossed my path and who have left their mark on me.
Without a doubt, one of the greatest satisfactions that my time in the world of professional football gives me is the number of friends and good people that I have met during all these years and that are for life.
I also want to remember all the clubs that I had the honor of representing: Real Madrid, Osasuna, Benfica, Manchester City, Zenit, Betis and Boavista, as well as the Spanish National Team, which I had the opportunity to defend. Thanks to all of them for making the dream of a child from Murcia come true.
And finally, I want to remember two fundamental parts for me. First of all, I address all the fans who have followed me in my career.
To those who have encouraged me in good times and to those who have demanded of me when I could give more of myself. But the most important thing in this journey has been being able to count on the support of my family in all the stages that I have lived.
They have been the first to trust me, to celebrate when things were going well and to be with me when I was not going through the best moments. Without them it would not have been possible.
I end by thanking everyone again for accompanying me throughout this journey and we will see you soon.
He played for Zenit from 2014 to 2017. Together with the St. Petersburg club, the Spaniard became the champion of Russia, the owner of the Russian Cup and two-time winner of the Russian Super Cup.
Garcia won the English title with Manchester City and the Portuguese title with Benfica. As a Real Madrid player, the midfielder won the Spanish Super Cup.