Founded: July 20, 2013
Ground: Sree Kanteerava Stadium
Owner: JSW Group
Chairman: Sajjan Jindal
Head Coach: Carles Cuadrat
League: Indian Super League
2017–18: ISL League: Finished 1st (10 teams)
2017–18: ISL Finals: Runners-up
Two I-League titles (2013–14, 2015–16), two Federation Cups (2014–15, 2016–17) and a Super Cup in 2018 – That’s five trophies in five years! For a club that was only established in 2013, that’s very, very good.
Last season was Bengaluru FC’s first season in the Indian Super League and they finished top of the league. They were dominant throughout the league season and finished with 13 wins out of 18 games played. In the playoffs held after the league season, Bengaluru reached the final and narrowly lost to Chennaiyin FC in the final (2-3).
This season could prove to be challenging for Bengaluru. A managerial change – Carles Cuadrat takes over from Albert Roca. And there have been a whole lot of roster changes. As many as 15 players have left Bengaluru FC this season. The most prominent among them is John Johnson who joined ATK this season after five years at Bengaluru FC.
Aside from John Johnson, midfielders Malsawmzuala, Alwyn George (to FC Pune City), Lenny Rodrigues (to FC Goa), defender Subhashish Bose (to Mumbai City FC), striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia (to Delhi Dynamos), goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte (to FC Goa) have left the club.
Bengaluru FC also released the Spanish trio of Toni, Víctor Pérez Alonso, and Daniel Lucas Segovia.
The Indian players signed this season include winger Kean Lewis, goalkeeper Soram Poirei, defenders Rino Anto, Gursimrat Singh Gill and Sairuat Kima. Bengaluru FC also signed Spanish winger Xisco Hernández, Bhutanese forward Chencho Gyeltshen and Spanish center-back Albert Serrán.
Carles Cuadrat was part of the famed La Masia (FC Barcelona Youth Academy) and played for the Barcelona youth teams between ’78 and ’88. He also coached and worked as a physical trainer for FC Barcelona youth teams.
In the year 2009, Cuadrat was part of Frank Rijkaard’s technical staff at Turkish club Galatasaray and Saudi Arabia. In 2014, he assisted Albert Roca who was managing El Salvador. When Roca moved to Bengaluru FC in 2016, he joined him as an assistant coach.
Following Roca’s departure at the end of last season, Cuadrat was appointed head coach for the 2018-19 Indian Super League season.
Carlos Cuadrat maintains that Bengaluru FC will continue playing possession football – the blueprint laid out by him and Albert Roca.
A raft of departures this season could mean it can take time for Bengaluru to play cohesively. But a good pre-season which included a two-week tour of Spain where they played against ‘B’ teams of Villarreal and Barcelona should hold them in good stead.
The manager has a lot to live up to. Ashley Westwood set a high precedent as to what is expected at the club. Albert Roca took Bengaluru deep into AFC tournaments and finished top of the league last season.
Bengaluru should easily qualify for the playoffs. After that, it’s the two or three-game playoff run that is going to be the challenge.