Ranko Popovic, the head coach of Indian Super League side Pune City, has stepped down with immediate effect, the club announced in a release on Wednesday.
Popovic, who led the club to the semi-finals of the ISL for the first time in four years, had also been sanctioned by match officials for his outbursts on the touchline. Taking over from Antonio Habas just a few weeks prior to the start of the season, the Serbian led the Rajesh Wadhawan group-owned club to the fourth spot in the table, before they were knocked out by Bengaluru FC in the semi-finals, losing 3-1 on aggregate.
The release stated, “The Serbian manager, who led the historic run for the club taking them to semifinals in 2017-18 season, opted to call it a day on his time with Stallions seeking fresh challenges.”
In his short stint at the club, the ex-Real Zaragoza and Buriram United coach developed a reputation for being fiery and fiercely outspoken. The likes of Ashique Kuruniyan developed under him, leading to game-time in the league and a national team call-up.
In his parting statement, Popovic said, “FC Pune City was, is and will remain very close to my heart. The players, the support staff and the management ensured my transition was smooth and every one played their role to perfection for us to have a great season. But the decision to part ways is one of the most toughest I have had to made for a while. The professionalism of the management and the fans support made my job here a memorable one and I wish the club all the best for the future.”