ormer Liverpool midfielder and legend Luis Garcia made his second trip to Lebanon in less than 10 days, saying that two trips to the same country in that timespan sent a clear message to the world.
“The fact that I was here less than 10 days ago and that I am back is the most important thing. … If I was scared or didn’t enjoy my time in Lebanon last week, I would not be here today,” Garcia told reporters and fans at a news conference at the Radisson Hotel.
Reporters and fans, mainly of the Official Liverpool FC Fan Club of Lebanon, had a dream come true when they were able to ask Garcia questions and take photographs with the Champions League winner.
When asked who the best player he had ever played with was, Garcia responded: “I played with a number of great players from [Steven] Gerrard, Xabi Alonso … but Ronaldinho always had that magic where he could break down defenses and was the best player in the world at one point and one of the best to ever play the game.” Garcia then said with a laugh, “Messi, now, is [on another planet] so we can’t bring him into this conversation.”
The former Spanish national team player added that despite the number of exceptional players on the current Liverpool squad, he most wished he could play with Brazilian magician Philippe Coutinho.
When asked what his most memorable moment was with the Reds, other than winning the Champions League, Garcia said the first-leg quarterfinal game that year was unforgettable. “Playing against Juventus in the quarterfinals when they had players such as Ibrahimovic, Pirlo, Cannavaro, Thuram, Nedved, Del Piero and to say I scored a pretty amazing goal against Buffon was fantastic,” Garcia said referring to his stunning volley which sailed into the back of Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon’s net.
Following the news conference, Lebanese Sports Media Association President Rashid Nassar voiced his excitement for Garcia’s visit.
“The importance of his visit and other world-class stars coming to Lebanon helps portray the correct, civilized picture of the country in contrast to how the outside world portrays us via various media outlets,” Nassar told The Daily Star.
“Stars of this caliber coming to Lebanon should push those in charge of Lebanese football to further develop the game here, especially after some of the scenes we witnessed in the domestic football league, because the Lebanese people love the game.”
The Official LFC Fan Club of Lebanon will take Garcia on a day filled with sightseeing around the country Saturday. Fans will have the chance to take in the Liverpool vs. Southampton Premier League game Sunday at Pros Cafe in Dekwaneh.