In 2003, a six year old fan refused to stop cheering his beloved team, Osasuna, that kid became known as one of the most passionate young hooligans of his club after refusing to be bribed by potato chips to stop his fanatic act. 10 years later, he became the youngest Osasuna player at the age of 16 years and 299 days. That kid believed in his dreams and achieved it!
At the start of the season, Osasuna were criticized for the ‘des-Navarrization’ of their team. The club, based in Navarra, was in a dilemma during this summer between keeping their players from the Navarra region and between avoiding relegation. During their game against Malaga earlier this season, Osasuna played with a starting line-up that did not contain a single player from its own region, something that last occurred on the 31st of March 1963. Club directors justified this by stating that players from Navarra are either too good (Javi Martinerz, Bayern Munich; Nacho Monreal, Arsenal; Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea; Raul Garcia, Atletico Madrid) or do not have enough quality to player for the team. “Globalization of football affected us and so did the financial crisis. We sell because we have no other choice. We need the money to survive, we are an easy prey” Those were the words of one of the club’s directors and now even the reserve team has only 12 local players out of 24 as other South American and Spanish players make up the rest of the squad. Though, now they may have a player who could get the identity of the team back, he is Jose Garcia.
Jose rose to fame when cameras caught him cheering Osasuna in the stands at a very young age and he was doing it with a lot of passion, he took his shirt off and even threw it to get it back again to wave it in the air. Later in an interview, the kid claimed he wants to be an Osasuna player when he grows up and nothing else. Since that day, Jose joined Osasuna’s youth team. He quickly found himself as a striker in the youth team picking up the number ’12’ shirt because the fans are the team’s 12th man and he was Osasuna’s biggest fan. After every goal he scored, he kissed the badge on his shirt reflecting the amount of love he has for the club from Navarra. Last week Osasuna’s head coach Javi Garcia decided to finally call him to the senior team because of all the passion he puts when playing.
His team-mates compare him to Sergio Aguero as he has a strong lower body that allows him to protect the ball while his passing and shooting are his best features and he can play with both legs. He is a promising talent who will certainly stick around rather than leave like other stars. Garcia made his debut for Osasuna at age 16 and 299 days after coming on as a substitute in the 66th minute against Almeria although he ended up on the losing side, he has a lot to be proud of, he is the youngest player to have played in La Liga this season and he could have more chances as the season goes on.
Local fans cheered him as he came on and hung banners all around the stadium for him and congratulating him on achieving his dream. He is one of them, one of us fans who dream every single day about being part of our beloved football club. Could Garcia be the local hero for his club? Could he rise and become among the best players in the League and if he did will he stay loyal to the club who raised him even if Osasuna got relegated?