Benito Floro linked to vacant Singapore national team head coach post

The former Real Madrid and Villarreal coach is the latest name rumoured to be associated with the four-time ASEAN champions
By Khalis Rifhan

As the race for Singapore’s next national coach reaches its final stages, sources close to Singapore have revealed that former Real Madrid and Villarreal coach Benito Floro is also in the running to succeed Serbian Radojko ‘Raddy’ Avramovic. 

Floro's illustrious career has seen him win the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) with Real Madrid in 1993 and the UEFA Intertoto Cup with Villarreal in 2004, with the maestro also having had various coaching stints in Japan and Mexico.

Referred to as “The Philosopher” because of his studious vision of the game, the Spaniard is one of the most highly-respected coaches in Spain and commands the respect of his fellow colleagues thanks to his various achievements.

In an exclusive interview with Singapore, Floro remained mum regarding the rumours linking him to the Singapore job but did not rule out the possibility of it becoming a reality.

“I do not know anything official about this," he asserted. "However I imagine, as per so many other coaches, when a position becomes available, agents will offer their clients for the job.

“I am an international professional and I am always open to any interesting options available, like all my colleagues, and even more so if it is a national team job, as this represents the feeling of a whole nation.

"However, I would never like to nominate myself for anything.”

Although Floro has achieved success with various clubs in the past decade, he feels that it is a different ball game altogether in a national set-up.

“In clubs, it depends on what kind of first team you want; [it can be] made up of [new] signings, or made up of players from the youth system, or perhaps even 50-50," the 60-year-old explained.

“With a national team, it must be a job that starts from the bottom, grassroots, so that players from a young age know what they are playing at and they must feel it. A national team must be strong from the very bottom.” 

But should Floro find himself in the hot seat, he is confident he is able to leverage on his past experience in Asia to assist him in his duties.

“From my own international experience, football is based pretty much on the same principles everywhere,"he said.

"While I was coaching in Japan, I followed international teams from Asia and Australasia, and realised that there was a very good level of football, although with a possibility of improvement by making it more attacking.

“Other than that, to assess a team or a national side, it only takes a couple of days watching their last few games. The most important thing is having methodology; everything else will fall in place.”

As the search for Raddy’s replacement continues, Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin recently indicated that while they hope to finalise the appointment soon, they "will not rush into making any decision as they are determined to appoint the right person for the job".