Antonio Lopez Habas is a legend in the 10 years of the Indian Super League (ISL). He won the inaugural edition with Atletico de Kolkata, reached four finals and won two, becoming the most successful head coach in the league.

After his return to his former club Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the middle of the 2023-24 season, the club has made winning a habit, clinching its maiden League Winners Shield last month. But Habas is not done yet.

In his trademark broken English, the Spaniard stressed one bit – ‘completing a circle.’

Mohun Bagan, then called ATK Mohun Bagan, had faced Mumbai City in the 2020-21 final – a game that saw Sergio Lobera’s side beat Mohun Bagan 2-1 to lift the trophy.

The coach of the losing team then was Habas, a dejected old man, shaking his head as he walked off the field that night. Three years later, his Mohun Bagan, Habas’ Mohun Bagan is set to face Mumbai City in the final, again.

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On being asked if he was looking for revenge, Habas laughed. “No! Things like revenge happen in mafia movies,” he scoffed. “That final loss now is past us. We are thinking only about tomorrow. We have to complete the circle.”

Though Habas did not specify what circle he meant, life did take a turn after the final loss for the Spaniard. Within six months, in December 2021, he was shown the door by Mohun Bagan.

He made his return to the Mariners, joining as a technical director but was appointed as head coach after Juan Ferrando was sacked in January after a string of poor results. Habas went on to win a silverware in four months.

Now, a record-extending third ISL trophy, is on the cards for the Spaniard, winning which might just complete his circle of life in Indian football.

“I am satisfied with my team’s performance (so far), but I have one more point (to prove) tomorrow. We need to win. With due respect to the opponent, we need to have the ambition necessary for winning another time,” Habas said.

“I told the players we know how to win the league and the trophy and the goal tomorrow will be the same.”