El Centrocampista

THE MAN BEHIND THE MAGIC – Luis García Plaza lands at Getafe.

By Olly Dawes

“Getafe have the same hunger and enthusiasm to develop as I do. The three-year contract is a commitment to me on their part, and to them from me.”

Luis Garcia Plaza was evidently ecstatic at his Getafe unveiling.

After a fairytale season at Levante, Garcia had earned his big move and was clearly keen to grasp it with both hands.

Garcia started managing in 2001 at the age of just 29 following a less than impressive playing career where he featured for Atletico Madrid ‘B’, Rayo Vallecano ‘B’ and Benidorm, before retiring at just 28 through injury.

His first managerial role was at Altea before he moved to Villajoyosa, based in Valencia.

He returned to Altea, then got his break as he became the Villarreal ‘B’ team manager in 2005.

Plaza led them to the league title but failed to gain promotion in the fourth tier play offs.

Another move followed, this time to Elche where he lasted one year before being sacked, and promptly returned to former club Benidorm.

It is in 2008 that the story really begins  after Garcia was appointed boss at struggling Levante UD , enjoying almost unbroken success which finally saw the club return to the top flight in 2010.

Levante had hit real financial trouble after relegation from La Liga in 2008.

Their players only received a fifth of their wages in the 2008/09 season and were struggling in mid-table of the segunda división.

The club ended up owing over €18m to players over the unpaid wages.

Felipe Caicedo was a great success for Luis García Plaza

Garcia had his hands tied behind his back, managing a club in dire straits at the age of just 35.

His second season at Levante however,  saw him perform miracles as the Valencia based side were promoted back to La Liga in third place.

They were inevitably favourites for the drop during their first season back in the big time, especially with the lowest budget in the whole of the league.

They relied on free transfers and loaness, enabling them to bring in winger Valdo and Manchester City’s Ecuadorian powerhouse Felipe Caicedo.

Caicedo proved to be a revelation, scoring 13 goals in 27 games to propel Levante up the league after a poor start saw them second bottom of La Liga at Christmas.

Caicedo had a purchase clause of €1m in his loan deal, which Levante exercised, before selling him to Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow for €9m.

Their form in the second half of the season was remarkable, losing just one game in 12 to have a record rivalling Barca and Real Madrid.

It even led to Sky Sports’ Revista de La Liga naming him their manager of the year. Not Pep. Not Jose. Luis Garcia Plaza.

It’s this minor miracle at Levante that has landed Garcia the keys to the Team Dubai castle.

He can now prove his worth with money to spend, and try to fulfil the potential that  has seen him become one of the most talented young managers in Spain.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: THE MAN BEHIND THE MAGIC – Luis García Plaza lands at Getafe. « Sublime Finish

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow us and get La Liga news right in your feed!

Already a fan?