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A True Blue – Carles Cuadrat leaves a lasting legacy in Bengaluru

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Carles Cuadrat dominated the league and won the ISL title in the 2018-19 season with Bengaluru…

Carles Cuadrat’s stint with Bengaluru looked like one that is set to last for many years when he won the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) trophy.

But less than two years later, the Spain coach was invited to leave by club management and agreed to mutually terminate his contract on January 5, 2021.

Most of the leadership changes within ISL took place between December and January, but Carles Cuadrat’s departure would have been a dumb opinion to make only a year ago. He was deeply involved with the club and their project, so the suit seemed unbreakable. But if there is a beginning, there is an end.

Bengaluru’s shortcomings on the ground were visible to all. And it hasn’t started this season. However, blaming Cuadrat would not be a good assessment of the situation.

After winning the ISL trophy, everyone expected the Blues to embark on bigger and better things, like a strong performance in Asia. This did not happen when Bengaluru lost in the semifinals of the inter-zone play-offs and then crashed out of the Super Cup with a loss to Chennai City.

Bengaluru star forward Miku, who had been prolific during the title-winning season, struggled with fitness and injury throughout the season and at the end of the season the club decided not to not renew his contract because it was considered too expensive.

After scoring 20 goals and recording four assists in 32 appearances, Miku has left the club and the Blues have yet to find a replacement in his place. Manuel Onwu, Kristian Opseth and even Cleiton Silva can’t be compared to the Venezuelan at this point and goals quickly dried up for a team that had once treated the final third as their favorite meeting place.

Ahead of the 2020-21 season, there were other hits when the defense was also affected by departures. Nishu Kumar, who had become a regular on the first team as a left-back under Cuadrat, left the club to join Kerala Blasters who produced a significant offer for the young full-back. Center-back Albert Serran left the club as well and what was left was a exhausted fullback that was once the best in the league.

Bengaluru’s defense was what helped them clinch the title in the 2018-19 season, as their contributions in the final third saw a steep decline. This continued into the pandemic-stricken ISL’s seventh season, and the Blues put on back-to-back displays that weren’t impressive. Losing three straight games for the first time in the history of the competition was the last straw.

It’s safe to say that the head coach was not backed by the club in the transfer market until the 2020-21 season, but officials will have their own explanations on this, especially since the period has been financially difficult for all football clubs.

Carles Cuadrat left a lasting legacy in Bengaluru. He handed over an important league trophy and dominated the league standings, which no one else has. Plus, he was and always will be a true rookie.