Leaving Real Madrid 'best decision' of Garay's career

It seems Real Madrid is not the perfect destination for every footballer - Ezquiel Garay looks back joyously at sealing a move away.

Ezequiel Garay has claimed leaving that Real Madrid for Benfica in 2011 was the best decision of his career.

Garay was tipped for big things when Madrid plucked the centre-back from Racing Santander in 2008, but under Jose Mourinho he fell out of favour and eventually left for Estadio da Luz.

At Benfica he established himself as a first-team regular to help his chances on the international stage with Argentina, before moving on to Zenit three years later.

Now at Valencia following a close-season move, Garay has been reflecting on his last spell in Spain and is adamant leaving Madrid was crucial.

"I respect Real Madrid as an institution," he told El Desmarque. "But I still say that the best decision of my career was getting out of the club, because a footballer likes to play and I did not. 

"I do not regret leaving there as the three years I spent at Benfica after leaving Real were spectacular.

"At Benfica I had my best years as a player. I was very happy, I won important things.

"We played two finals followed by the Europa League [final] and got places that the club had never been."