The 30 year-old has been among the top performers in the ISL since the past season.
Xisco Hernandez left Bengaluru FC in 2019 after having lifted the Indian Super League title in his very first season with them. The Spaniard featured in almost every game for the Blues during their run to the crown, thereby playing a very pivotal role.
Following the title victory, in the sixth season of the ISL, Xisco Hernandez joined the newly-formed Odisha FC. There again, the 30 year-old has appeared in all of the Juggernauts’ games. He has played a major role for the team in their hunt for a place in the playoffs by scoring five goals throughout the season.
The contributions from the midfielder are, however, more than just goals as the he along with the likes of Marcos Tebar have helped Odisha win the midfield battles. Moreover, Xisco Hernandez has the third-most tackles for the team and is the third-best creator when in front of goal!
Recently, Khel Now took the opportunity to have a chat with the Spaniard. Excerpts:
Q1. What is your assessment of the season so far?
A- I think the team has gone from less to more and has taken that confidence that it needed.
Q2. You spent a season at Bengaluru FC. Can you briefly tell us about your experience?
A- The year in Bengaluru was wonderful, we won the league and the playoffs were very nice. To be able to live in a city like Bengaluru was also good.
Q3. Tell us about some of the differences and similarities in the approaches of both Josep Gombau and Carles Cuadrat?
A- Two great coaches, like to treat the ball well and play good football. Enjoyed a lot with Carles last year and doing the same this year with Josep. He has given me confidence and with Josep, I am enjoying the year very much.
Q4. Who among the Indian players at the club has impressed you the most?
A- Vinit (Rai) is a player who has impressed me just like Shubham (Sarangi) and Jerry (Mawihmingthanga).
Q5. Indian football has seen a dramatic increase in the influx of Spanish influence in the domestic game. How do you think Indian football is benefitting from the same?
XH: I think that Spanish football has a high level and that we practice colourful football. You just have to see Goa and Bengaluru, the football they practice and are always on top. Also, in the rankings you will always see Spanish players and coaches.
Q6. This is your second season in the ISL. How do you think the league has improved since you have been here?
A- I think the league has evolved year after year and that football is not the same as it was four or five years ago here in India. Little by little, it will go further and I think the selection is improving, thanks to this evolution.
Q7. What lessons do you think India can learn from the Spanish system, especially when it comes to youth development?
A- I think soccer schools are very important. More importantly, players need to start training from a young age looking at the first-teams in India.
Q8. What are your expectations for the rest of the season? Can you still make the playoffs?
A- The playoffs are closer now, but I think you have to think game by game and not set goals beyond the next game.
Q9. Your all-time world football five-a-side team.
XH: Iker Casillas, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo.