Leaving Real Madrid was my best career move – Ezequiel Garay

Ezequiel Garay, who currently plays for Valencia admits that his decision to leave Real Madrid a few years ago, has been the best career move ever.

Image shows Ezequiel Garay in action for Real Madrid.

The veteran defender spent two years with Los Blancos before making a switch to Benfica in 2011.

Garay, 30, started his football career at Newell’s Old Boys before moving to Spain at the age of 19.

The Argentine defender said lack of playing time forced him out of Madrid. In his words, as reported by El Desmarque: “I respect Real Madrid a lot as an institution, but the best decision of my career was to leave the club, as what a player wants to do is play games and I was not playing.

“I am not sorry about it – you just have to see the three-and-a-half years I experienced after Madrid at Benfica, which were spectacular.”

Madrid have since taken a case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport claiming that the Portuguese giants rejected higher offers for the central defender before he eventually moved to Zenit, as Los Blancos would have received half of the transfer fee involved but he has no regrets about his move to Russia, Football Espana wrote.

On 5 July 2011, Garay moved to S.L. Benfica for a fee of €5.5 million plus Fabio Coentrao, on 5 July 2011. His initial contract was for a period of four years, though the player later signed a different agreement.

Real Madrid also remained eligible for 50% of any transfer fee Benfica would receive, and the latter also sold part of his rights to Benfica Stars Fund for €1.175 million, reducing the club’s share at 40%.

“That choice also went very well for me. I believe every step I have taken in my career, they have all gone well,” he continued.

“There was talk of teams like United, Chelsea and Bayern, but I had been three-and-a-half years at Benfica and I wanted everyone at the club to be as happy with the transfer as I was.

“So it was my decision to go to Russia. The first year spectacular — we won the league for the first time in many years and the following year the league title and the Supercup, so I won trophies there too.”