SUPER EAGLES

Unmasking Ruben Garcia, the man who allegedly tormented Kelechi Nwakali for going to AFCON 2021

What do we know about Ruben Garcia Ruiz? This article gives more details about Nwakali's purported tormentor-in-chief at Huesca

Kelechi Nwakali-Ruben Garcia

Super Eagles midfielder, Kelechi Nwakali on Wednesday took to social media to give reasons why his contract with Spanish club, Huesca got terminated.

In a lengthy social media post that implicated Huesca's Sporting Director Ruben Garcia, the 23-year-old midfielder alleged that he was put under extreme pressure to not go for AFCON due to it, ‘not being an important tournament’.

He further claimed that he was subjected to inhumane treatments as a result of disobeying Garcia's demands, including unpaid wages, solitary training, and contract termination blackmail.

But who is this tormentor-in-chief, Ruben Garcia?

  • Better known as Ruben Martín or Ruben Garcia, Ruben Garcia Ruiz is a former Spanish football player and a current sports director who played as a goalkeeper.
  • He was born on May 12, 1980 (41-years old) in Talavera de la Reina, Toledo, Spain.
  • After training in Toledo's youth academy during the 1997/1998 and 1998/1999 seasons, he began his professional career in the 1999/2000 season. 
  • After an excellent 2001/2002 season, he was transferred to Deportivo Alaves in the La Liga in June 2002. At the time, Deportivo played in the UEFA Cup.
  • While in the Basque team, Garcia struggled for minutes forcing him to sign for Atletico Madrid in the 2003/2004 season. He played with them for three years and moved on from Atletico Madrid to Albacete, playing there for the next two seasons - 2005/2006 and 2006/2007.
  • In his last playing season, he was signed ​by Murcia Football Club but terminated his contract by June 30, 2007.
  • In 2013 he began his career as a goalkeeper coach with the United States national soccer team, directing the development of all goalkeepers under 23 years of age, while also playing a scouting role for the national team. 
  • From there he went to New York City where he served as director of the goalkeeping academy
  • In 2017, he joined New England where he was until 2019, as an assistant coach.
  • In June 2019, Garcia arrived at Huesca to become the club's Sports Director after the departure of Emilio Vega. Since then, he has remained an entity in the running of the club and has overseen important matters such as the appointment of Xisco Munoz - Watford's former manager.
  • On the deadline day of the January 2022 window, Garcia allegedly forcefully tried to send Nwakali out on loan for a fee of €80k (N36 million) without the player's knowledge. He said he wouldn’t pay the player if he didn’t find a new club. Eventually, no club was willing to pay the loan fee Huesca demanded, despite interest from second-tier clubs in both Spain and England.
  • Garcia was in 2021, heavily criticized by Huesca fans who believed that his sporting decisions were part of the reasons the club got relegated at the end of the season. Garcia admitted that mistakes, had been made and that things had not gone as expected. 
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