Javi Garcia says helping City win the Premier League title in 2014 stands out as one of the most defining moments of his career.
Garcia, who currently plays for Real Betis, spent two seasons at City between 2012 and 2014 and helped us to win both the league and League Cup in 2014 during Manuel Pellegrini’s first season in charge.
A wide-ranging career has taken the 33-year-old to various ports of call across Europe, including Portugal and Russia as well as his native Spain, where he currently plays for Real Betis.
But Garcia admits those two years at the Etihad were amongst the most memorable of his career.
And reflecting on his time at City, Garcia has no doubts as to the highlight of his time in Manchester.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is the Premier League we managed to win (in 2013/14),” the Spaniard recalls.
“To win a league title in England is not easy.
“In my opinion, the Premier League is the most competitive league (in the world). There are many teams that fight to be up there every season and every year a new one that nobody was taking into consideration comes out.
“In the end, every season there’s a couple of new teams in addition to the five or six usual contenders and it makes the Premier League very hard.
“So, if I have to pick a moment of my time at City, it would definitely be when we won that title.
“(Securing the Carling Cup in 2014) was also a nice title, because you don’t play a final at Wembley every day, but that season we all had in our minds winning that Premier League.”
Garcia’s spell in Manchester saw him work under both Roberto Mancini – the man who signed him from Benfica – and Manuel Pellegrini.
And in retrospect, he believes those two seasons helped serve as key touchstones in the evolution and development of the Club’s entire footballing philosophy which has reached rarefied heights under the leadership of Pep Guardiola
“I spent two years at City and it’s true that we noticed the difference in the transition from Mancini to Pellegrini,” Garcia added.
“I will always be grateful to Mancini, who was the one who signed me (but) their ideas about football were a bit different.
“With Pellegrini, City began to forge an identity, which was to have much more of the ball, to attack more, to have the ball a lot of time in the opponents’ half of the pitch and, yes, it is true that the current City began there.
“Lately, City started to sign practically the best players in the world, players to whom you have to give the ball to because they are happy with it and they can show their full potential.”
Moving on from City, Garcia went on to enjoy three successful seasons in Russia playing with Zenit St Petersburg with whom he won the Russian league and Cup, before returning to his home country and joining Real Betis where he has spent the past two seasons.
But though his subsequent career has taken him across Europe, Garcia reveals he still keeps a watchful eye out on City’s progress.
And he says the achievement of winning back-to-back titles in the past two seasons was a feat worthy of the highest accolades.
“I never expected that. What City have achieved is outstanding,” Javi continued.
“As I mentioned before, the English league is the most difficult one.
“Being able to win it two times (in successive years) like City did is incredible. Maybe people out there do not give it the credit it deserves, but, in my opinion, City have to be very proud of what they have achieved.
“Winning is never easy, to keep winning is even more difficult and demanding.”
Source: Manchester City FC