Hero ISL Coach profile: Cuadrat targets second trophy with Bengaluru FC
Entering into his third season with Bengaluru FC, Carles Cuadrat will be aiming at winning another Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) trophy. As of now, only Antonio Lopez Habas has won two trophies in Hero ISL. Under Cuadrat, Bengaluru have always looked like title contenders. In the 2018-19 season, not only they topped the points table at the end of the league stage but also went on to win the coveted Hero ISL trophy.
Cuadrat’s association with the club goes back to the time of their former head coach Albert Roca. The 52-year-old was part of his predecessor’s coaching staff till 2017 but once Roca left, Cuadrat took over the reins and orchestrated the Blues’ title-winning performance in 2018-19.
As a player, Cuadrat was part of the famed FC Barcelona academy – La Masia, and turned out for all of age-group teams. He was also part of the U-19 sides that won the Spanish Cup in 1986 and 1987. Having made his first-team debut in a couple of friendlies in 1988, Cuadrat went on to feature for CF Gava and CE Sabadell. However, an injury cut short his time as a player at the age of 30.
Cuadrat joined Dutch legend Frank Rijkaard’s coaching staff in 2009, joining him first at Turkish club Galatasaray as Conditioning Coach, and then as his assistant with the Saudi Arabia national team where he got his first taste of international football coaching. Rijkaard was replaced by Albert Roca later but Cuadrat kept his place in the set-up. After Saudi Arabia, Cuadrat moved to El Salvador as assistant to Roca, who again brought him along to India when he joined Bengaluru FC in 2016.
Cuadrat’s time with the club has been fruitful so far with a Hero ISL trophy and a top-four berth last season. However, one shortcoming that bothered fans was their inability to hit the back of the net on a regular basis.
“The club has made an effort to strengthen our strike force, which was something that cost us last year. Even so, with few goals from our forwards, the work of the players and their tactical awareness allowed the team to reach the semifinal, only to miss out on the final by a single goal,” he told bridge.in earlier this month.
Bengaluru FC had the maximum number of clean sheets last season but it also lacked teeth in the opponent’s final third. However ahead of Hero ISL 2020-21, Cuadrat seems to have addressed that issue adequately with several reinforcements up front, and looks all ready to set the league ablaze.