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Top five Spanish managers in ISL history

Published at :June 24, 2024 at 4:47 PM
Modified at :June 24, 2024 at 4:47 PM
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Atawaris Warsi

Spanish managers have dominated ISL with their attacking philosophy.

The Indian Super League (ISL), since its inception in 2014, has been a breeding ground for talented managers. Among them, Spanish managers have carved a unique niche, bringing their tactical prowess and experience from European leagues. Their influence extends beyond just trophies, shaping the way football is played and understood in India. 

This article dives deep into the top five Spanish managers who have left an indelible mark on the Indian Super League. We’ll explore their journeys, tactical philosophies, and the lasting impact they’ve had on the league and Indian football as a whole.

From the architect of Bengaluru FC’s rise to the mastermind behind Hyderabad FC’s recent success story, prepare to be introduced to the Spanish tacticians who have redefined the ISL’s playing style and inspired a generation:

5. Albert Roca

Albert Roca, though having just one season in India (2016), deserves a place on this list for his monumental achievements. Under his guidance, Bengaluru FC became the first Indian club to reach the AFC Cup final in 2016. 

He established his dominance immediately, leading Bengaluru to a league stage finish eight points clear of the runners-up. Roca’s impact extended beyond tactics, bringing in influential players like Dimas Delgado, Miku, and Erik Paartalu who flourished at the club.

4. Carles Cuadrat

Carles Cuadrat, currently managing East Bengal FC, is synonymous with Bengaluru FC’s success story in the ISL. He inherited a strong foundation laid by Roca and led the Blues to their first ISL title in the 2018-19 season. Cuadrat’s philosophy revolved around possession-based play and midfield control, mirroring the successful tiki-taka style. 

However, his later years saw challenges due to aging players, leading to his dismissal in 2021. Despite this, his contribution to Bengaluru and his current stint with East Bengal solidified his place among the top Spanish managers in the league history.

ALSO READ: Top 10 Spanish players in ISL history

3. Manolo Marquez

Manolo Marquez has been instrumental in Hyderabad FC’s meteoric rise. Since his arrival, Hyderabad has seen consistent improvement, culminating in their maiden ISL trophy win in the 2021-22 season, defeating Kerala Blasters on penalties. 

Marquez’s tactical nous and player development skills are evident. His success with Hyderabad continued for two seasons, with the team narrowly missing out on a consecutive final appearances. Currently managing FC Goa, his ability to get results is undeniable, with FC Goa finishing third in the recently concluded season.

2. Antonio Lopez Habas

Antonio Lopez Habas is a household name in Indian football, having managed Atletico de Kolkata, ATK Mohun Bagan, Pune City, and currently back at Mohun Bagan Super Giant. His trophy cabinet boasts two ISL titles, one with ATK in the inaugural season and another with ATK Mohun Bagan in 2020. 

Habas’ experience in La Liga with Valencia and Celta Vigo is evident in his structured defensive approach and focus on counter-attacks. His recent success includes guiding Mohun Bagan to the 2023-24 ISL Shield title, showcasing his tactical adaptability.

1. Sergio Lobera

Currently, the head coach of Odisha FC, Sergio Lobera’s legacy is undeniably intertwined with FC Goa. He is one of the most decorated managers in ISL history, having led FC Goa to numerous successes and clinching the ISL title in the 2020/21 season with Mumbai City FC.

Lobera’s possession-based, attacking style, honed during his time as an assistant manager and youth team manager at FC Barcelona, has been a hallmark of his success. His tactical acumen and player development skills make him a force to be reckoned with in the ISL.

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