In a career spanning 17 years that has seen him play for Barcelona, ‘ghost goal’ past Chelsea on way to winning the Champions League with Liverpool, Luis Garcia has never been part of a tournament where matches come this frequently at the start.
“This is a short-term league and, of course, the intensity is massive. We trained quite hard in Spain but even that doesn’t give you the rhythm to play five games in 14 days. In England, you do have games on Saturday, Wednesday and during Christmas time, you do play a lot but always at the beginning of a season, there is space between games,” Garcia, 36, told HT during an interview.
The Atletico de Kolkata skipper was speaking after Thursday evening’s training session. Recovering from a hamstring injury, Garcia has been out since October 19 when he left the pitch at half-time against Delhi Dynamos. “I have come here to play football and not to be outside. You don’t enjoy those games, definitely not when you are on top and things are looking nice for us,” he said.
Garcia has missed two of the five games the Indian Super League leaders have played and isn’t performance-ready yet. Asked whether he could return in Tuesday’s game against Chennaiyin FC, he said: “You have to be clever not to rush the injury. Yes, I feel better but there are plenty of games left and you don’t want another injury.”
What makes a hamstring injury particularly difficult to deal with is that, in Garcia’s words, “you start feeling better very quickly. In three-four days you feel no pain and you think you are ready. But the muscle’s probably not, so you have to give it time.”
The other problem is that the hamstring prevents the leg from overextending and damaging the knee and the quadriceps when a player kicks the ball. “If the hamstring is weak, it won’t be able to stop the force rippling through your other joints and muscles, increasing your risk of further injury,” strength and conditioning expert Karl Halabi, who has worked with Chelsea and Reading, was quoted as saying in the football magazine FourFourTwo.
So would Garcia blame it on the artificial turf at the Salt Lake stadium? During an interaction where he spoke as rapidly as Ricky Ponting, this was a poser that prompted a slight pause. “It’s not helping and it’s definitely not a favourite but I am not the only one playing. Don’t think the pitch is the main reason,” he said.
habas ban halved
The four-match ban on Atletico de Kolkata coach Antonio Lopez Habas was halved with a rider by the ISL on Friday. Habas can be back on the touchline on November 7 against FC Pune City ay home with the rest of his sentence remaining suspended till the end of the ISL. The suspension shall, however, be revoked if Habas commits