Bengaluru FC rope in Gerard Zaragoza as Head Coach
The former Blues’ assistant coach who was part of the ISL winning 2018-19 squad signs deal until the end of the 2024-25 season.
Bengaluru Football Club, on Thursday, named Spanish tactician Gerard Zaragoza as the club’s new Head Coach on a deal until the end of the 2024-25 season. The announcement comes on the back of the club’s decision to part ways with Englishman Simon Grayson, who left the club by mutual consent following the side’s 4-0 defeat to Mumbai City FC on Friday.
Forty-one-year-old Zaragoza, who was part of Bengaluru’s ISL-winning squad of 2018-19 as Assistant Coach to Carles Cuadrat, is due to arrive in Bengaluru upon the completion of VISA formalities and travel documentation.
“I would like to welcome Gerard back to Bengaluru FC. Over the last five years, Gerard has had stints as Head Coach in top leagues across Asia. Through his time away, he has been in touch with us, and expressed a deep desire to return and give back to the club that gave him his first silverware in a coaching role. I am confident that he will bring back the brand of football that we have been used to in the past. He possesses good tactical nous, and has also been instrumental in improving young players. Bengaluru FC teams – from the youth academy through to the first team – will have a common identity in terms of style that Gerard and his team will work to implement. I wish him the best and am looking forward to the rest of this season,” said club owner and Director, Parth Jindal.
Zaragoza had stints at Greek side Panserraikos and, most recently, Emirati UAE Pro League side Khor Fakkan Club, where he was named Manager of the Week on two occasions. Argentinian Sebastian Vega, who was part of Zaragoza’s backroom staff at Khor Fakkan, Al-Ahli and Panserraikos, has been named Assistant Coach.
“This is a football club that I hold close to my heart, and the decision to return to this family has been the easiest one to make. I know the circumstances in which I am arriving at the club are extremely difficult, but also very challenging. I am sure that with the right direction, this club can get back to where it belongs. I can’t wait to arrive in India and begin work with the players and the staff. Most of all, I am looking forward to a reunion with the wonderful fans of this club. Together, we will make this right,” said Zaragoza, after putting pen to paper on the deal.
Vamos, Jefe! 🇪🇸— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) December 14, 2023
Bengaluru FC have appointed Spanish tactician Gerard Zaragoza, part of the Blues' ISL-winning squad, as Head Coach on a deal that runs through till the end of the 2024-25 campaign. ✍️#WelcomeGerard #WeAreBFC #Santhoshakke 🔵 pic.twitter.com/DJrIZAta7U
A former youth footballer himself, Zaragoza managed the Catalonia U14s and U16s and was also part of the Aspire Academy’s Qatari branch in 2010. In 2011, he was named Head Coach of RCD Espanyol’s Cadete squad. The Spaniard moved to Erovnuli Liga 2 side Locomotive Tbilisi in 2012, achieving promotion to Liga 1 the following year.
“Bringing Gerard back is a decision taken with a lot of thought and we believe he is the right fit for what this club needs to return to the very top. Gerard understands what Bengaluru FC is all about, is structured in his approach, and we are positive that his appointment is a step in the right direction,” said Blues’ Director of Football, Darren Caldeira.
Following multiple stints in Georgia and Qatar, Zaragoza was named Assistant Coach to Carles Cuadrat in Bengaluru FC’s title-winning squad of 2018-19. At the end of the season, he took the position of Head Coach at Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai FC’s U21s, eventually going on to manage the First Team. Zaragoza managed Al-Ahli to a quarterfinal finish in the AFC Champions League.
“Gerard is a coach with prior experience in Indian football, and understands the DNA of this football club. He was part of a very successful period in this club’s history, and we believe that having him back will bring a positive change in the dressing room. We look forward to working together and bringing this club back to the top,” said Blues’ Technical Consultant, Albert Roca.