Bengaluru FC's Roca 'N' Rolla
“Parth Jindal went to Spain, he had a Mocha. Brought us back a manager, his name is Albert Roca” – this chant has often reverberated across the Kanteerava over the past 2 years.
It was 6th July 2016 , when Albert Roca signed a 2-year contract as the manager of Bengaluru FC. He immediately had to contend with the continental AFC cup. After only 4 matches, BFC achieved what no Indian club had previously achieved – becoming the first Indian team to reach the AFC Cup finals. This was how immediate his success was. In the next 2 years, BFC won the Federation Cup, convincingly topped the ISL table with a lead of 8 points and the highest points tally ever, won the inaugural Super Cup, and have now again qualified for the AFC Cup knockout stages. This shows how Roca has made BFC the most consistent and the best domestic team in India.
But more than the trophies, Roca's most significant contribution to BFC and perhaps even Indian football, is the style of play that he introduced. Ashley Westwood had previously employed a pragmatic but effective approach during his tenure at BFC. But it was Roca's version of Tiki-Taka football, inspired from his Barcelona days, that made watching BFC play, such an absolute delight. The team was confident in its own ability to keep the ball, played out from the back, employed a high-tempo passing game and scored a whole lot of stunning and well-worked goals. It was this facet of BFC's game that truly impressed me – here was my home team playing such a fluid game that any European heavyweight could be proud of. My heart used to skip a beat every time there was a deft touch or an exquisite pass. As a fan, I could not be more proud.
So, thank you Roca for making our club play 'The Beautiful Game' the beautiful way, thank you Roca for being steadfast to your footballing ideals even in times of adversity, Thank You Roca for instilling in our team the tactical nous to be a continental contender, and finally Thank You Roca for solidifying our club's standing as the finest in the country.
For the final time, here is a virtual Viking Clap with the chant “Albeerrtttt Roccaaa... Albeerrtttt Roccaaa”. Wish it could have lasted longer. Gracias and Hasta Pronto Senor Roca. We will miss you.