In the Maresme, where he resides away from the crowds that accompanied his fruitful career, he quotes us Sergio garcia. “It is increasingly difficult for me to go to the center of Barcelona,” he acknowledges. He arrives on time and calm, like a neighbor, chatting with the owner of a bar, saying hello to the hairdresser in the adjoining place and, back on the terrace, he orders a sandwich. It is eleven o’clock in the morning and it might seem that – three months after his retirement – the Former Espanyol, Barcelona, Betis, Levante, Real Zaragoza and Al Sadd Qatari footballer your day begins.
Nothing is further from reality. “I’ve already taken the kids to school, done my personal training and a couple of errands.” And in the afternoon awaits you Damm, the club where it all began, where he is Juvenil B’s second coach. The sandwich is brought to him, he tastes it and the conversation begins. Now, yes, he is carried away by the pause of the environment and talks in a relaxed way about the derby, the National Team, the World Cup in Qatar and, of course, on his friend Xavi Hernández.
What is Sergio García’s life like three months after hanging up his boots?
I am with the Damm and taking the last level of coach. I am learning, because the technical aspect is new for me, but at the same time I am giving advice to the boys, so that what they have taught me can help them grow as footballers.
Is the responsibility of a coach assimilated more quickly when one has been captain?
In recent years I saw it coming, I was already clear that I wanted to be on a bench. Being a leader, a captain, can make things easier for you, but being a coach in the end has nothing to do with it: you realize the number of players who depend on you, the accumulation of circumstances that you must control in a club … But my The idea is to do it and hopefully my character will help me.
In five days he went from retiring to signing as assistant coach of Juvenil B de la Damm, where you had trained. Did they already talk about it?
I did not know whether to continue playing and training at the same time, but I decided to focus only on the latter because of all the factors that must be controlled. They have been many years playing soccer and it is difficult to change your life to another in which you have to sit down and order. You have to mentalize that it will not come back. But I’m satisfied with how things are going.
“I did not know whether to continue playing and training at the same time, it is difficult to change my life, but I decided to throw myself on the bench”
His last dance was in La Montañesa: the return to neighborhood football …
I had a friend who suggested it to me. And to me, who at that time did not know what to do professionally, it seemed like a good idea to play in a neighborhood team, to convey to people that nothing happens because of the military in these categories. There were good moments, I have a lot of affection for the Montañesa.
What about the coach of Juvenil A de la Damm, the also experienced Luis García?
Very well. He is hardworking. It transmits a lot to the kids. We see each other almost every day because we train on the same field. I like his leadership skills on the team.
Would you consider doing a tandem with him on a bench?
You never know, but my idea is to be the first coach. And yours, too. You can not close any door, and less to create a good team. We are good friends. I know that the Espanyol fans love us very much, that is mutual; That bond that has been created over the years is appreciated and hopefully we can return to the club at some point.
That parakeet feeling, I imagine, is exalted when a derby arrives against a Barcelona of which you were a youth squad. Do you see it especially even?
It is obvious that they do not arrive at a good time, because they have had many problems and have changed their coach. Espanyol have started the season well. You have to take advantage of it, do everything possible because in these games the minimum failure is paid. You have to make it perfect. It’s three points, okay, but it’s always important to beat the other city team.
“Barça does not arrive at a good time, Espanyol has started well: you have to take advantage of it”
The new coach, he said, is Xavi Hernández, his teammate in the Barcelona quarry and during his adventure in Qatar. Something knows him, right?
(Smiles) Yes, we are good friends. He is going to convey another idea to the players, what he has been on the field, someone who has wanted the ball. And it will create other habits to the team to achieve the objectives. For me, he is a great coach. It has been showing it in Qatar. I just hope that this first game does not go very well.
Can there be someone who has more internalized Barça DNA than Xavi?
Since he was very young, he already had the Barça DNA in his head. Now he transfers it to his players. It is not easy at all what he has done in Qatar, many kilometers from home, with other players and a different culture and mentality. And he has succeeded. Now he will have much more pressure, because he is Barça and they always have the obligation to win titles, but I am convinced that they will do well.
The image it gives is of someone who spends 25 hours a day thinking about football. It’s true?
Yes, you go to eat with him or wherever and he is always talking about football, all day. It is true that it happens to all of us who dedicate ourselves, it is our passion, but he is obsessed with football. He has already shown it playing and as a coach.
Do you think Xavi can match Guardiola, as is desired at Barcelona?
You never know. Time will tell how far it can go. At the level of mentality and game it will be similar. Cruyff changed the world of football, Guardiola did too and why Xavi is not going to achieve it. If as a coach he is the same as what he was as a player, football will surely change. Maybe he’s doing something we haven’t seen yet. Maybe Xavi has something in mind that will revolutionize the world of football.
Can you imagine one day a Xavi-Sergio García on the Barça and Espanyol benches?
Yes, I admit that I have imagined it sometime. But it still remains. I would love to be there and I assume it is very complicated. I have to get tough as a coach, fall down and get back up. Hopefully I can get to the level he is now and be able to face us.
At Espanyol, in view of the derby, the great asset is Raúl de Tomás. Do you see it still with room for improvement?
I think so. Luis Enrique himself said the other day that he sees it in other facets, not only in the attack. At Espanyol he has shown that he has a goal. He is a great striker, I hope he can spend a long time at Espanyol and with the National Team.
“Raúl de Tomás is a great striker and he still has room for improvement”
Even if it takes away the record of goals in Cornellà …
With that no problem! One always likes to be the first in something, but I would be very happy for him. If a colleague overtakes you, it is because things are going well for him.
Of the current Espanyol, however, do you see more similarities by demarcation with Puado?
There was a time, with Aguirre, when I played as ‘nine’, but it is true that I have been playing more on the wing and as a midfielder. If he thinks he can give his best level, he will triumph in the First Division, because he has shown it in the Second Division, with the National Team, he left Espanyol to improve and on the return he had a great season. He can be a great player.
“If Puado believes that he can give his best level, he will triumph in the First Division”
From the parakeet’s return to Primera, what has caught your attention the most?
You don’t have to fall asleep, because LaLiga is very long, but I see that the team has managed to stabilize a bit. The Second Division is not easy, if you do not go up the first year it costs much more. And this year has started very well. The club deserves to be in the middle of the table and hopefully it can return to Europe at some point.
Is it your thorn to have qualified for Europe, two years ago, and have to leave Espanyol that summer?
The truth is that I would have liked to be one more year, having played in Europe I would have loved it. It was a dream, but it couldn’t be due to circumstances. It was a shame because it was also relegation season and I would have liked to be helping the club, the team and the players. They had a bad time, in the field and with the families. I tried to support friends from outside.
And the Selection. Without being stunning as in the 2008 Euro Cup in which you participated, you have qualified directly with Luis Enrique for the World Cup.
I think Luis Enrique is doing a very good job, because whoever calls in the end, things are going well. You have to trust him. At first no one believed in his work, but he has progressed and has gotten into the World Cup. He had no doubt that it was going to happen.
Although there is much left, and it will not be a favorite, do you see Spain with options in the World Cup?
Sometimes it is better that they do not consider you a favorite, that’s when you can put the claw in. But in my opinion it is one of the favorites. We have enormous players, those who have been in this call and all those who have been absent, to achieve something great for Spain again.
“The World Cup? Sometimes it is better not to be considered a favorite. We have huge players to get something great for Spain again.”
In 2008 they weren’t favorites either. Do you see similarities?
Exactly, we were never talked about as candidates for the title. Nobody gave a penny for us and we managed to win the Eurocup. The same thing that happened in 2004 with Greece, for example.
The headquarters of the World Cup, Qatar, and the season in which it will be played, winter, generate many doubts. You who know that country well, what do you think?
I was there a couple of weeks ago, in the final of the Emir’s Cup. And I am convinced that people will enjoy it. It is all new, with impressive roads to access the stadiums, which are amazing. The weather will be good, because it will not be cold or unbearable heat, it will be about twenty degrees. It is a country prepared to organize a World Cup. Hopefully we can do a good job.