FC Barcelona have announced the signing of Eric Garcia from Manchester City, effective from June 1st. The 20-year-old Catalan centre-back has signed a long-term contract until 2026, with a release clause of €400 million.
His arrival will remind Barça fans of Gerard Pique’s return to the Camp Nou in 2008, who also returned to his boyhood club after a spell in the northwest of England with City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United. “I like to be compared to Piqué, but there is no comparison. I am starting my career and he has been the best for 10 years. Being his partner today is a great challenge for me,” said Garcia at his presentation.
He wants to make a name for himself, obviously. And for those who aren’t too aware of Garcia, his story and talents, here are five things you need to know about Barça latest signing.
1. Eric joined the Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy when he was just 7 years old in 2008. He went on to captain all the Barça youth teams he played for. From his time in the youth team set-up, he’s very close friends with Ansu Fati; they played together for five seasons and will now team up again in the Barça first team.
2. As a central defender, Eric has always said that his footballing references are two legendary FC Barcelona centre-backs: Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol.
3. Eric wore the number ‘3’ through his time at the academy, the same number as Gerard Piqué. And just like the 34-year-old club icon, he has traveled the same path before returning to the Barça first team: jumping from the Blaugrana academy to the city of Manchester. Piqué played for Manchester United, Eric for Manchester City. Piqué moved to the Premier League at the age of 17; Eric did so at the age of 16. Both spent four seasons in England before returning to the Camp Nou. Everyone knows how the return turned out for Gerard Pique… will history repeat itself with Eric Garcia?
4. Eric made his debut for Manchester City’s first team in an official match on 18 December 2018, at the age of 17, against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup. In 2017/18, his first season in England, he crossed paths with Barcelona’s U-19 side in the Final Four of the UEFA Youth League, with his Manchester City side running out 5-4 losers. That elimination did not prevent Eric from putting together an enviable record across his four years with the club led by Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola: a Premier League title (2020/21), three consecutive Carabao Cups (2018/21) and a Community Shield (2019).
5. Eric has already shone for the Spanish national team. He played for each of his country’s youth sides, winning the 2017 U-17 European Championships by beating England – featuring the likes of Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi – in the final, and the 2019 U-19 Euros, playing every minute of the tournament. Still just 20 years old, he made his senior debut for La Roja in September 2020 and was named in Luis Enrique’s squad for the Euro 2020 finals this summer.