Bengaluru, April 18: Indian Super League (ISL) outfit FC Goa have named Carlos Pena as the club's new head coach.
The 38-year-old returns to the Goan shores two years after finishing a trophy-laden spell as a player with the Gaurs.
"I'm delighted to be back at FC Goa as the head coach. It was a very easy decision. And whilst there were offers for me to choose a bigger role in Albacete and in other clubs in Spain, the offer to take charge of FC Goa was too good to pass on," Pena told FC Goa Media.
"Having served as an assistant coach and head coach of youth teams over the past two seasons, I believe this is the perfect opportunity for me.
"Everyone knows my love for this club and the history that we share. My only focus now is to get FC Goa back to the top. I'm here to work hard and bring more success to the club and I can't wait to get started," Pena added.
FC Goa President Akshay Tandon welcomed Pena on board, "We're very pleased to welcome Carlos Pena to FC Goa as our head coach. Carlos is a leader and a real student of the game. He has a wealth of knowledge and a great understanding of the club and our philosophy of football."
A UEFA pro-license holder, the last two seasons saw Pena get into coaching following his retirement at the end of the 2019-20 season. He started off his coaching career with the youth team of Lorca before moving on to UCAM Murcia.
Pena's credentials grew stronger with each passing day as the former Goa mainstay finished the 2020-21 season as the assistant coach of Lleida Esportiu's senior team.
The former Barcelona man took over the reins of the Albacete Balompie youth team at the beginning of last season, plotting their campaign in the Juvenil League.
Under Pena's guidance the club scored more goals in the Juvenil League this season than any other in the past 20 years. They also recorded a double over the formidable Villarreal side whilst holding Atletico Madrid to a draw.
Pena came through the ranks at Barcelona, representing their C and B teams before moving to play for Albacete. After spending four years at the club, he spent one season at Recreativo de Huelva before moving to Real Valladolid in 2010.
Pena spent five years at the club helping them return to La Liga during his second season at the club. He has also gone on to represent Oviedo, Getafe, and finally Lorca FC before being roped in by the Gaurs in 2018
The Spaniard's list of accolades includes the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, which he won with his native country in 2002. Apart from that, he was also a part of the side that finished runners-up at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2003.
In his first season with FC Goa, Pena helped the club reach the ISL final before leading the Gaurs to their first silverware in the 2019 Super Cup. The Spaniard helped Goa script history in his last season as a player in 2019-20 when they became the first Indian team to qualify for the group stages of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.
Pena has made 43 senior appearances for the Gaurs as a player, helping the club establish themselves as a real powerhouse due to his presence at the back.