Ranko Popovic, the head coach of Indian Super League (ISL) side Pune City, chose to step down from his position after a mutual agreement with the club management. Under his guidance, the club reached the play-offs for the first time in four attempts.
The Serbian gaffer decided not to disclose the reason behind his departure even after a very successful season with the Stallions.
"I just want to say that we mutually agreed to part ways. It is not often that a coach leaves a club with so many sweet memories. I have a fantastic relationship with Pune City as the management there is wonderful to work with," clarified Popovic.
However, the 50-year old coach is keen to return to India in the future, if the right opportunity arises.
"Yes, I feel I will come back to India at some point of time in the future. I loved working there. I will return to work after a few months. I will start preparing for some other team. I need some more time to ponder and then decide. Right now, I am happy to spend some time with my family as I have always been on the move for some years," said Popovic.
He reiterated that he shares a healthy relationship with all the young players and said that Ashique Kuruniyan's inclusion in the national squad makes him 'proud'.
"I feel extremely proud. Ashique is great player and his national call-up was just a matter of time. I can say the same for my other players as well like Gurtej (Singh), Sahil (Panwar), Sarthak (Golui). My only advice to them is that they should take care of their body and be more professional. I hope they learnt some things from us which they will put to good use and help them be a better player," said Popovic.
Serbia has been drawn in Group E in the upcoming World Cup along with Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica. But the former Buriram United FC coach will not be boarding a flight to Russia as he wants to enjoy the footballing extravaganza with his family. He hopes that Serbia would qualify for the knock-out stage as the second team from the group.
"I really hope that Serbia goes on to put a good performance and we reach the knock-out stage. I will be rooting for Spain and Japan as well. I have some of my ex-players in the Japan squad. I hope that Japan can cause some upset at the world cup," stated Popovic.