Hero Indian Super League (ISL) side East Bengal FC have appointed former Bengaluru FC and Hero ISL title-winning head coach Carles Cuadrat on a two-year contract, the club announced on Tuesday.

Cuadrat, 54, began his coaching stint in India as the assistant coach of Bengaluru FC in 2016. During his first spell in India between 2016 and 2018, BFC won the erstwhile Federation Cup followed by the inaugural edition of the Hero Super Cup and became the first Indian team to reach the AFC Cup final.

In 2018, the Spaniard took over the reins as BFC’s head coach, guiding them to their first Hero ISL title in the 2018-19 season. Under his stewardship, BFC became the first team in Hero ISL history to top the league and win the trophy in the same year.

The following season, Cuadrat led the Blues to the playoffs again. Under Cuadrat, BFC set many club records. In the 2018-19 season, the Blues had an 11-match unbeaten run (including six consecutive wins), the then record for the longest unbeaten streak in the Hero ISL.

His tenure as BFC’s head coach also coincided with the Club’s 17-match unbeaten streak at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, the longest such run recorded by an Hero ISL club at home. BFC also registered their biggest-ever win under Cuadrat when they beat Paro FC 9-1 in the AFC Cup Qualifiers in February 2020.

A product of Barcelona’s La Masia, Mr Cuadrat played for all the FC Barcelona youth teams as a defender between 1978 and 1988. He was also part of the FC Barcelona team that won the U-19 Spanish Cup in 1986 and 1987. Besides playing for FCB’s first team in two friendlies in 1988, Mr Cuadrat also featured in the Spanish team that finished third in the 1985 UEFA European U-16 Championship.

After leaving India in the Hero ISL 2020-21 season, Cuadrat joined Cypriot Club Aris Limassol as an assistant coach and helped them reach the playoffs after being promoted to Cyprus’ first division. He was most recently working as an assistant coach at the Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland.

Speaking about Mr Cuadrat’s appointment as Head Coach, Debabrata Mukherjee of Emami said, “We are pleased to bring Mr Cuadrat on board. We are confident that his vast wealth of experience and impressive track record in Indian football will help us build a strong team to achieve greater heights in Indian football.”

He added, “We would also like to thank Mr Stephen Constantine for his services to the Club during the past season. We wish him the very best for all his future endeavours.

Expressing his delight at joining Emami East Bengal FC, Mr Carles Cuadrat said, "I am very proud to have been appointed as the head coach of Emami East Bengal for the next two years. It’s very exciting that a Club with so much history that has won so many trophies in Indian football has given me the opportunity to drive the Club’s vision forward.

“I am delighted to return to India, a country that I love dearly and where I have had many happy moments. I will work with all my might to create new moments of happiness with the huge fan base of the Club across the globe and hope to witness the stands at the stadiums filled with Red & Gold.”