Pep Guardiola’s assistant Juan Manuel Lillohas left Manchester City to take over as head coach at Al Sadd, the Qatari giants announced Friday. Al Sadd in a tweet said the 56-year-old Spaniard will reach Qatar tomorrow before being presented at a press conference later.
Lillo replaces his countryman Javi Gracia, who parted ways with QNB Stars League side after just five months in charge. According to reports, South African coach Pitso Mosimane was also in contention to take charge at Sadd but Lillo landed the job eventually.
Lillo, 56, joined City in June 2020 to fill the gap left by Mikel Arteta’s departure to Arsenal.
He played an important role behind the scenes as City lifted two Premier League titles and a League Cup and also reached Champions League final.
Lillo told City website: “My time at Manchester City has been one of the most enjoyable periods of my career. To work alongside Pep, his backroom staff and this group of players has been a pleasure and I hope to have contributed in a small way to the fantastic success we have enjoyed on the pitch. I wish the club the very best and hope they can achieve all of their ambitions moving forwards.”
Lillo has vast experience in a coaching career spanning 40 years that has also taken him to clubs in Spain, Mexico and China. “His knowledge of the game is overwhelming. He sees things that few people in the world, me included, are able to,” Guardiola said of Lillo in 2021.
Having started coaching before his 20s, he was the youngest manager in charge of a La Liga club, having taken over Salamanca at not yet 30 years of age. He has enjoyed a long and well-travelled coaching career that has seen him take charge of Amaroz KE, Tolosa, Mirandes, Cultural Leonesa, Salamanca, Oviedo, Tenerife, Zaragoza, Ciudad Murcia, Terrassa, Dorados Sinaloa, Real Sociedad, Almeria, Millonarios,
Atletico Nacional, Vissel Kobe and Qingdao Huanghai. He has also held assistant roles with Chile and Sevilla as well as City.