MTA's Spanish defender Carlos Garcia will be flying home on Tuesday for an operation that will keep him out of action for the rest of the season: "I want to be ready for next season"

Yesterday afternoon Maccabi Tel Aviv held a press conference in the run up to tonight's encounter with Maccabi Haifa at the Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in round 33 of the Israel Premier ("Winner") League. MTA head coach Carlos Garcia is expected to make a number of changes in the starting line-up in order to give some of this season's regular starters a well-deserved rest. "We have to maintain our momentum because it's only natural that after winning the title there's a drop in motivation but I don't believe that will happen. Tomorrow a number of players will be rested and some others will get the opportunity to prove that their place on the squad for next season is justified".

Garcia discussed the atmosphere at the club this past week: "I'm very happy and proud of what we have achieved this season. I'm happy for the fans who have waited so long for this championship and in a week or two we'll begin to plan for next season. In Spain it's customary after the title match to go to dinner with all the families and the staff and the following day to hold the open top bus tour throughout the city to all the important places". Garcia refused to speculate about his place at the club next season: "Right now I'm only thinking about Maccabi Tel Aviv playing in the European competitions. But rest assured, if I'm there at the start of the season I'll be staying put".

Defender Carlos Garcia, whose presence in the starting eleven was almost a constant throughout the season, is expected tonight to make his last appearance for the club this season and to fly home tomorrow to Spain for an operation that will ensure his fitness for start of next season.: "Tomorrow will be my last game this season in Israel. I need to have an operation and it will take me six weeks at least to recuperate and be fit for next season. It's not a big deal, I've been managing with this problem so far, I just don't want it to return in future". The defender added: "This is my first title and this is the time to celebrate. I can't say for certain if the other players are as happy as I am but as for me, well, I'm overjoyed. Now it's time to get started with our preparations for the best possible start in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League, and I certainly hope we'll make it to the group stage".