From scoring a brace after coming on as a substitute in his first match of the season against Hyderabad FC to scoring a crucial goal in the final against Chennaiyin FC, the Spanish midfielder has delivered for the club in every big game of the competition.
Garcia, who joined the Kolkata club in January 2019, blossomed under the tutelage of Antonio Lopez Habas and has now signed a two-year contract extension with the club.
The 30-year-old Spaniard was happy to finally win the coveted prize with the club and described last season as a memorable one.
“Last season was a very special season for me. When I joined ATK I had the goal to win the ISL trophy and when you reach your goals, you only can be happy,” Garcia told Goal.
The former Real Zaragoza player suggested that their coach Antonio Lopez Habas is a man who is very clear about his ideas and that makes it easier for the players to follow his instructions.
“I knew that Antonio (Habas) won once the ISL and he wanted to do it again. He is an experienced coach who knows what he wants. So it’s easier when your coach is clear and everybody in the team thinks the same.”
A ‘polyvalent’ player as labelled by Garcia himself, he was deployed in multiple positions in the attack by coach Habas last season and he was comfortable playing in each of those roles, be it as a number ‘10’, a winger or a second striker.
“I am a polyvalent player,” said Garcia while describing his role in the team. “I can play in every position in midfield and in the attack. I don’t care about the position. I can play today in the left, tomorrow as a midfielder and next day as a second striker.”
Garcia had made his debut in the ISL with Bengaluru FC in the 2017-18 season. He had signed a one-year deal with the South Indian club but midway into the season after Chinese League One side Zhejiang Lǜchéng showed interest in the player, he left Bengaluru FC.
The midfielder suggested that while he enjoyed playing in the Chinese second tier, he wanted to come back to India as soon as his contract expired with Zhejiang.
“When I joined BFC I didn’t know if I was going to be happy in ISL. I received a big offer from China, I was playing there one season and when It finished, I called my agent and I told him, I wanted to come back to India,” said Garcia.
Garcia revealed that the biggest problem he faced in China was the language barrier.
“China is a very big country and they are growing up in football. But the experience was more difficult than my Indian experience. The language is one of the most important things to be comfortable in a country. Football is similar, India is also growing up every year and Indian players are improving very fast,” Garcia opined.