Bengaluru FC manager Albert Roca had arrived at the start of the 2016-17 season. (Source: Reuters file)
Spaniard Albert Roca will not be renewing his two-year deal with Indian Super League club Bengaluru FC owing to personal reasons. He will be leaving his position at the end of the 2017-18 season with the club involved in the AFC Cup. He has led the team to the knockouts of AFC Cup for a fourth straight season. Under him, Bengaluru FC became the first Indian club to reach the AFC Cup Final besides domestic success to lift the Federation Cup (2017) and Super Cup (2018) and finalists in maiden ISL appearance.
Roca said though his stint with Bengaluru FC short, it would always remain a special story in his career. “It was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make in my managerial career but it’s the right one. Bengaluru FC has been an experience I will always carry with me, no matter where I go. The owners, the management, my staff, players and most importantly, the fans walked with me every step of this journey and I can never forget the love and support I have received here. I will miss being on the touchline for this club, but will always follow its progress,” said the Spaniard.
In 2017, Roca could only take Bengaluru to a fourth place finish in the I-League but helped them to win the, now defunct, Federation Cup. A year later, he was at the touchline with the club winning the Super Cup and keeping its streak of winning a trophy at least since the formation of the team in 2013. Playing an attractive brand of football that earned the club plenty of supporters and praise, Bengaluru finished top of the table in the league stage but couldn’t go all the way losing 2-3 in the final to Chennaiyin FC.
When Roca was asked about his future with the Blues after the Super Cup, he had said, “I don’t want to talk about the future. I am going to talk about the present. In just five days we have a very important game in the AFC Cup. If we win that we will 90 percent into the quarterfinals. Just 2 years back we reached the finals of AFC Cup and we want to do it again.”
In a statement on the club website, CEO Parth Jindal said, “Bengaluru FC and more importantly Indian football will always be grateful for the path that Albert Roca has shown us. Even in difficult situations he stayed true to his philosophy and brand of football and that is a testament to the manager and person he is. His idea of how the game is to be played is what we need to be able to compete in Asia and on the world stage. He will always have a place at Bengaluru FC and we wish him the best for his future.”
Bengaluru FC progressed to the knockouts of the AFC Cup on Wednesday after beating Dhaka Abahani 4-0 with a brace from Nishu Kumar. By finishing top of the group standings, Bengaluru FC are through to the Inter-Zone Semi-finals.