The Real Madrid of the Garcias

Perez Garcia man-marked Keegan to perfection in 1980
Perez Garcia man-marked Keegan to perfection in 1980

Without becoming a star, you always behaved like one. From all Real Madrid players, we will miss you Rubio,” was how Michel said goodbye to Angel Perez Garcia.

Before the Galacticos came along, it was the Real Madrid of the Garcias. During the 1970s and 1980s, you had Mariano Garcia Remon, Antonio Garcia Navajas, Francisco Garcia Hernandez, Rafael Garcia Cortes and, of course, the late Angel Perez Garcia.

Garcia Remon was known as the ‘Cat of Odessa’ for his performances for his country against the USSR. Garcia Navajas, who came from Burgos, was a sweeper that was expected to emulate Pirri. Garcia Cortes was a left-back and fierce dead-ball specialist, he used to take free-kicks like a rugby kicker. Garcia Hernandez was a midfielder who was always accused of running as if he were tired.

Then there was Perez Garcia, who was especially remembered for his fine defensive work against Hamburg and Ballon d’Or holder Kevin Keegan in 1980.

In front of a packed Estadio Santiago Bernabeu crowd of 120,000 fans, Perez Garcia followed Keegan everywhere and kept the Englishman out of the game. Los Blancos won 2-0 and Perez Garcia was hailed as a hero the following day.

The German team ran out 5-1 winners in the return leg and Keegan was back to his best and Perez Garcia was back to normal. The Spaniard never became a hero again and the Real Madrid of the Garcias never lifted the European Cup. Perez Garcia will always be remembered for marking Keegan. Rest in peace, Angel Perez Garcia.

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