Guillermo Abascal became the head coach of Spartak. RBC Sport has collected a profile of a coach who, by the age of 33, has already managed to train clubs from three championships, but has not yet achieved noticeable success anywhere
Photo: Guillermo Abascal (Urs Lindt, global look press)
How did the career develop
Guillermo Abascal’s career as a professional footballer did not work out. As a child and youth, he was in the academies of Barcelona, and then Sevilla. At Barcelona, he played in the same team with Jordi Alba and Giovanni dos Santos. However, at the age of 18, he decided to end his playing career.
Abascal focused on coaching education and completed his master’s thesis on the topic of physical training and rehabilitation of football players after injuries.
From 2016 to 2017, he coached the Sevilla youth team. At the age of 27, he became the head coach of the Chiasso club from the second most powerful Swiss league. However, he did not achieve success there – eight wins, six draws, 14 losses. When the team went on a six-game losing streak, he was fired. This happened on April 4, 2018.
Abascal did not remain unemployed for long. A week later, he was assigned to Lugano, who played in the top division of the Swiss championship. This period of a career can be called successful. The coach took the team, which at that time was at the tail of the standings, and managed to keep it in the big leagues.
In the summer of 2019, Abascal moved to Italy, where he began coaching the Ascoli youth team. On January 27, 2020, he even played one match as interim head coach. The team under his leadership beat Livorno 3-0. Soon, Ascoli appointed Roberto Stallone as the new head coach, and Abascal returned to the youth team. Two months later, Stallone was fired, Abascal was put in his place, but not for long. After the first two defeats, the Spaniard was fired.
In 2021, he moved to Greece, where he managed the Greek Super League club Volos. The result was quite average – four wins, one draw and six losses.
On February 21, 2022, the coach took charge of Basel, one of the most titled clubs in Switzerland. With the team, he managed to finish in second place in the championship – five wins, seven draws and two losses. Under the leadership of Abaskal, Russian forward Fedor Chalov played, who in February moved to Basel on loan from CSKA. The striker scored three goals and provided one assist.
What Abascal says about himself and his game
He recognizedthat one of the main reasons for his departure from football as a player was a lack of understanding of what the coaches want from him. “I admit that I understand the game better because I trained at Barcelona. But at Sevilla, I noticed a huge lack of communication with coaches. The only one I had good contact with was Mariano Pulido, may he rest in peace. But in general, I did not understand what we want on the field. My teammates also suffered from this. We didn’t have a plan. At 17 and 18, I wanted to study, but ran into a barrier. I did not enjoy football,” says Abascal.
In an interview with Marca, he toldthat, in addition to football, he was also involved in karate and water sports – kayaking and windsurfing. These hobbies appeared in Portugal, where he studied at the university as a specialist in rehabilitation after football injuries, and also went to coaching courses.
It was there that Abascal decided to organize a university team from the Spaniards “Erasmus”. “There I realized that I communicate well with people and bring my thoughts to light,” said Abascal, noting that at first he acted as a playing coach.
“I would rather lose than change myself or my philosophy of the game.” He speaks Abascal.
The media compare him with another young coach – the German Julian Nagelsmann, known for his work with Bayern and other clubs from Germany. Abascal’s playing style is classic Barcelona – the desire to play ball control, through a short pass and attack.
What do Spartak managers say?
Luca Cattani, sports director of Spartak
“I am convinced that we have chosen one of the most promising coaches in Europe. Despite his young age, Guillermo already has a lot of experience. Our new head coach is not yet in Russia, but from today he is already fully involved in the preparation of Spartak for the new season,” leads words Cattani official website of “Spartacus”.
Franco Camozzi, advisor to Spartak owner Leonid Fedun
“Of course, I don’t know how Guillermo manages the team in the dressing room when discussing tactics and building a game, but on the field his teams looked good. I remember Abascal from his work at Ascoli and Chiasso, – said Camozzi in an interview with the correspondent of the “Championship”.
What the experts say
Valery Nepomniachtchi, Russian and Soviet coach
“This is in the style of Spartak – not a very clear choice. Spartak is Spartak. Good luck to him and success in the new experiment. I don’t quite understand what the club was guided by in this case, ”- told Nepomniachtchi RT.
Sergey Zhukov, Honorary President of the Russian Olympic Committee
“I am surprised! I don’t know where they find these coaches. Why not take yours?! So many excellent Spartak coaches. I think the resignation was not unexpected. But the fact that they again took an unknown person, I don’t understand! What for? Where?” — transmits Zhukov’s words TASS.
Alexander Mirzoyan, former Spartak footballer and chairman of the Union of Russian Football Veterans
Spartak needs a good coach for the team to achieve results. If a young coach was appointed, then the management considered that he was a good specialist. To be honest, I haven’t heard of him. I can’t say anything about him. “Spartak” must set itself the highest goals. For the club, there has always been only the first place, if this young comrade can, then good. We are opening coaches. I can’t say if he will succeed, ”Mirzoyan told RBC Sport.
Marco Padalino, former Lugano footballer and club scout
“In the Lugano dressing room there were a lot of players with solid, a bit complex characters. Therefore, Abascal found it a little difficult at first. But he has grown as a coach! And he managed to do it. I repeat that his level of preparation is very cool! Now Guillermo is in a very important team for the whole of Russia. Spartak is an international club, a very strong team. I think he should be able to. This is a coach with a lot of great ideas. If the players follow him, then they will succeed! The only problem was when I was young. It was difficult to interact with the players, but now he has grown a lot, ”- noted Padalino in a conversation with the “Championship”.
Dmitry Cheryshev, father of football player Denis Cheryshev and coach who worked with Abascal at Sevilla
“With Abaskal, Spartak will make every effort and try to be at the top of the standings. I am sure that they will fight for the highest places. There were a lot of foreigners in Spartak who worked in an extremely nervous situation. Any situation around the club instantly affects their work. This does not negate the fact that any coach who came to Spartak is a significant person and a qualified specialist, ”Cheryshev told RBC Sport.