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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

How Alejandro convinced Real Madrid mate Manolo Diaz to take up East Bengal job

Kolkata giants are also likely to acquire the services of Croatian-Australian centre back Tomislav Mrcela who played for A-League side Perth Glory, according to sources.

Written by Subhasish Hazra | Kolkata |
Updated: September 11, 2021 1:31:23 pm
Manuel Manolo DiazManuel Manolo Diaz (L) and Alejandro Menendez Garcia. (FILE)

Kolkata did not bring any sunny days to him. He came like a king but left with unfulfilled dreams and an unfinished task. Alejandro Menendez Garcia stepped down as head coach of East Bengal after being humbled in a derby. Once a heartthrob is now living a life filled with agony and despair coaching in lower division Spanish side Albacete Balompie. Still, he looks back fondly at his Kolkata days and keeps telling everyone around how it was an experience of a lifetime. Bruised, betrayed and yet most loved – how can he forget the Kolkata chapter?

That is how he has convinced Manuel Manolo Diaz to come to Kolkata and take the charge of the red and gold brigade. East Bengal announced Manolo as their head coach, a couple of days ago after Englishman Robbie Fowler left.

East Bengal East Bengal agreed with Robbie Fowler to a mutual termination of the head coach’s contract. (Twitter/EB)

Manolo and Alejandro were quite known to each other since their Real Madrid days. Manolo was coach of various age groups of Real Madrid. On the other hand, Alejandro was in charge of Real Madrid Castilla (reserve team) back in 2009. During Manolo’s tenure as Real Madrid C team coach, the two Spaniards came to know each other and got along really well.

Alejandro gets very nostalgic to, “I was coach of Real Madrid Castilla from 2009 to 2011. Manolo was coach of Real Madrid C. Since then we have been good friends.”

In an exclusive chat with, Alejandro revealed the dilemma Manolo was going through after receiving the offer to become the new East Bengal boss. He had several offers around the world including one from China. But Alejandro pushed him for the East Bengal job by telling him that Kolkata has an unparalleled football tradition and the football crazy atmosphere would make him feel alive every moment. That is when Manolo decided to say yes to East Bengal’s offer.

“Manolo is going to make headlines, for sure. Speak to him. People might not like to hear much from me,” said Alejandro.

Does he still possess that heart break, who knows!

East Bengal are likely to acquire the services of Croatian-Australian centre back Tomislav Mrcela who played for A-League side Perth Glory, according to sources. The 30-year-old Aussie star will be included in the Asian quota. If sources are to be believed, five foreigners have already been selected by the red and gold management for the coming season. Among them two are Croatian (Tomislav Mrcela, having Australian passport), one each from the Netherlands, Slovenia and Nigeria. Official announcement is yet to be made.

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