Indian Football

Rewind to the time when Man City's assistant coach was a candidate to become India's technical director

Arjun Singh Devgan
Juanma Lillo is the assistant coach under Pep Guardiola at Man City
Juanma Lillo is the assistant coach under Pep Guardiola at Man City / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Manchester City assistant coach, Juanma Lillo has established himself as a key part of Pep Guardiola's managerial ever since he joined his team in June 2020 as seen by his contributions in the Cityzens success in recent times.

Lillo who replaced Mikel Arteta following his decision to take over the managerial reigns at Arsenal has vast experience as a coach considering that he started his career back in 1981 and has so far coached a number of clubs in Spain - while also having a stint as an assistant for the Chile national squad for a period of one between 2015 to 2016.

The 56-year-old for his part has an Indian connection as in 2011 he was interviewed for the post of the technical director of the Indian national squad, with the Spaniard giving an interview to officials from the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

Lillo had also watched over the national team practising at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi and reportedly was not awarded the job due to certain internal reasons. It was understood that the major problem was his lack of English speaking skills, which would hinder his effectiveness when it came to communication.

Guardiola for his part played under Lillo during his time with Mexican club, Dorados and was influenced by his fellow countryman, so much that he was keen for him to become his assistant once Arteta left the post.

"He's is a friend of mine from a long time ago and finally we can work together. It was a dream and now it is a dream come true,". His knowledge of the game is overwhelming, he sees things that few people in the world - me included - can see. He helped me to be more calm," Guardiola said at the time of Lillo's appointment.

It would have been interesting to see how Lillo would have shaped Indian football had he got the post, as his influence is clearly seen at City, who are arguably the best club in the world at the moment.