Football: Liverpool ambassador Luis Garcia picks Messi over Ronaldo for his dream XI

BANGKOK - It is time for Luis Garcia to stand up and be counted. But the former Spain and Liverpool star does not shirk the onerous task of choosing whether Ronaldo has the edge over Lionel Messi or vice versa. He opts for Messi, with no hesitation.

 And when asked why, he points to their shared Barcelona heritage.

 Facing the media in the Thai capital at a Standard Chartered event before Tuesday night's Asian Tour game between Liverpool and the Thai All Stars, Garcia said he was not thinking about his future prospects as a potential manager because "I still think like a player".

 He is happy with his dual role as an ambassador for the Reds, as well as his television commitments, but should he ever harbour managerial aspirations, he said he would have to stop thinking about the game from a player's perspective and instead view it from a different plane.

 Then, of course, there are the theoretical questions. If he ever found himself in the position of having to start a club, whom would he hire first?

"Didi" is his immediate response - a reference to former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann.

 And if he had to choose his ideal playing XI? He does not hesitate. "Cafu, Ronaldo, (the retired Brazilian player, he clarifies, not the Portuguese superstar), Steven Gerrard, Lionel Messi, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Carlos, Xavi Hernandez, Romario, Zinedine Zidane and Carles Puyol in the middle."

 Such is the pace of the press conference and the zest with which he answers a variety of questions, that he does not notice his failure to pick a goalkeeper. Or perhaps he is so supremely confident in the overall ability and collective power of his notional team that he does not even consider the need to have a 'keeper.

 He is proud of the Kop song penned in his honour ("Luis Garcia, he drinks sangria", sung to the tune of the old hit You Are My Sunshine) and is delighted that the club fans still sing it. Even when he is watching on television, while spending cherished time with his family, he still hears the song being belted out and says it brings a smile to his face.

 Then The Straits Times reminds him of the time a fan once stopped him to take a photograph and - referring to his famous "ghost goal" against Chelsea in 2005 - the fan simply asked him a four-word question: "Was it a goal?" Garcia grins and says he has been asked the question continuously, in many countries.

 And just for the record, he says yes, it was indeed a goal.

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