ISL: Albert Roca parts ways with Hyderabad FC to join FC Barcelona as fitness coach
Roca, who took charge of Hyderabad FC in June, had put in a request to be relieved of his duties after the newly-appointed FC Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman expressed his desire to have him in his support staff.
Hyderabad: Indian Super League side Hyderabad FC on Saturday announced they were parting ways with head coach Albert Roca, who will join struggling Spanish giants FC Barcelona as their fitness coach.
The 57-year-old Roca, who took charge of Hyderabad FC in June, had put in a request to be relieved of his duties after the newly-appointed FC Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman expressed his desire to have him in his support staff.
"After lengthy deliberations, Hyderabad FC has taken the decision to allow Albert Roca, who hails from Catalonia, to rejoin the club where he was part of the first team staff from 2003 to 2008" the Hyderabad FC said in a media release.
Earlier in the day, FC Barcelona tweeted: "Albert Roca will be the new fitness coach working alongside @RonaldKoeman."
Roca, who was with Bengaluru FC as head coach from 2016-18, will link up with Koeman at FC Barcelona, which has won five UEFA Champions League trophies apart from 26 Spanish League titles. He had earlier served as FC Barcelona assistant coach for five years (2003-2008).
"For me, it's been a tough decision to make. I am thankful to everyone at HFC for showing immense faith in me since I joined back in January. I am aware that all our fans will be disheartened but believe me, it's not an easy goodbye for me either," Roca said.
"I wish HFC the very best for the upcoming season and the future and I am extremely positive that Hyderabad FC will be one of the top sides this season. I will be assisting the management during the transition phase. Trust me, the club is in great hands and I will be following the club this season and in the future," he added.
Roca is a well-known coach in Indian football fraternity. He guided Bengaluru FC to the first ever final of the AFC Cup by an Indian side in 2016, eventually losing the summit clash against Iraqi Air Force FC.
Hyderabad FC will announce a new head coach in the coming days.
"I congratulate Albert as he is set for his new role at FC Barcelona. While parting ways with him has been tough to come to terms with, Albert has shown utmost professionalism in his approach and working ways with us right from the start in January, to date," Hyderabad FC co-owner, Varun Tripuraneni said.
"While the going was tough at the club initially, Albert gave the entire club — players, support staff, and fans enormous faith and confidence. Albert leaves us, putting the club in a good position from where we can build upon. I wish him all the success with his new role," he added.
No fee has been disclosed but British media reported value the deal at £34 million ($47 million) rising to £48 million with add-ons.
He scored two goals in 21 games in Madrid before joining Milan last season on loan, scoring seven goals in 39 appearances for the northern Italian outfit.
The 25-year-old, who most recently represented Ligue 2 side Chateauroux on loan from Belgian First Division A side Beerschot, joins on a two-year deal with an optional one-year extension.