It’s time to analyse the career of a newcomer to the managerial stage. That’s right, Bengaluru’s Carles Cuadrat, or Carles Cuadrat Xiqués as is his full name, is finally taking the step out on the big stage himself after being an assistant for most of his coaching career.
Born in Sabadell, just outside of Barcelona, young Carles found himself playing for the Catalan giants’ various youth setups. But despite making a few appearances in first-team friendlies and even some youth caps for Spain, never quite made it to the big time.
After leaving Barcelona Cuadrat stayed in Catalunya and played for Gava and Sabadell in the lower divisions of Spanish football, before an injury cut his career short a the age of 30 in 1998.
Luckily Cuadrat quickly found a new job as a coach. He was assistant and physical trainer at Barcelona’s U-15 team and bounced between various youth sides at La Masia in the next decade. In 2009 the Spaniard followed former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard to Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray where he was hired as a physical trainer.
When Rijkaard then got the gig as head coach of Saudi Arabia Cuadrat was once again part of the Dutchman’s backroom staff. There he staid between 2011 and 2013 before Rijkaard was axed. When Rijkaard’s assistant at Galatasaray and Saudi Arabia, Albert Roca, was hired as the head coach of the El Salvador national team he brought in Cuadrat as his assistant.
When Roca then got the Bengaluru job Cuadrat followed suit. However, his time as assistant at Bengaluru was cut short in a slightly odd way as a knee injury sustained while travelling to an away game against Pune City last season meant that he had to step down from his position just before the start of 2018 to recover from the injury.
However, when Roca and Bengaluru decided to part ways at the end of last season, they offered the vacant role to Cuadrat, and that is how the 49-year-old found himself back in India.
Now the questions becomes if Cuadrat can take the daunting step up from assistant to head coach? There are many examples of coaches who have both failed and succeeded at that throughout history and with his Barcelona background and close connection with the previous man in charge at Bengaluru, it shouldn’t be too hard to keep doing the same thing and being successful.
But does Cuadrat want to do it the same way? Or does he want to do it his own way? Pre-season certainly didn’t give any good answers as Bengaluru either won or lost heavily in most their matches against a very varying level of opposition.
Time will show and it’s no easy task awaiting them in the first match. That’s against their opponents from the final last year, Chennaiyin, a match Bengaluru lost.