FORMER Barnsley midfielder Hugo Colace has started his coaching career after retiring in 2021 - and he’s hopeful that one day he’ll return ‘home’ to Oakwell as the Reds manager.

Argentinian Colace, 40, played 108 games for the Reds between 2008 and 2011.

He signed at Oakwell from Newell’s Old Boys on a three-year deal and scored eight goals in all competitions during his second season.

He was awarded the Reds player of the season and he says the accolade was one of his career highlights.

He told the Chronicle: “My agent in that moment was David Hodgson (former Sheffield Wednesday player) and he brought me here because he offered me to Simon Davey.

“Simon said yes.

“I really adapted myself and my style of playing football to go the English game and then I loved it.

“English football is the most beautiful in the world.

“When I received the player of the year award that was such a wonderful time.”

Colace had a great connection with the fans during his time at Oakwell and he says he felt the bond instantly.

“I still connect with the fans now,” he added.

“I’m really thankful to them because they have supported me forever.

“Of course I feel that Barnsley is like a second home to me.

“I made the mistake to leave that home but I’m sure that I will be back.”

He played with some of Barnsley’s best players since the turn of the century - including current England internationals John Stones and Kieron Trippier.

But he says the best players he played with were Bobby Hassell and Anderson de Silva.

Anderson, a Brazilian midfielder who the Reds signed from Everton, built up a strong partnership with Colace at the heart of Barnsley’s midfield.

“Anderson de Silva was a magical player,” he added.

“Bobby was a good player as well because he’s such a great leader.”

After leaving the Reds for Mexico in 2011, he went on to play his football in France, Argentina and Paraguay.

In 2016, it was reported that Colace was on trial at Oakwell alongside another fan favourite, Adam Hammill, but was not offered a deal by then head coach Lee Johnson.

How was that period for him?

“To be honest it was a bad time for me,” he said.

“I came to help the club in that moment but Lee didn’t want me.

“I was ready to give the club my heart.”

Despite the heartbreak, Colace continued his footballing career in Gilbratar, Italy and Portugal before signing for Bangor City in Wales as a player/coach.

He said: “I came to Bangor because I wanted to come back to the UK and then get myself a UEFA licence.

“I was ready to become a manager.

“I prepared myself to be a manager after my long career in football.”

After leaving Bangor in 2021, Colace became the assistant manager at Mexican side Santos Laguna and then Club Necaxa where he currently plies his trade.

But he pulls no punches about where he wants to go with his career.

“I really enjoy Mexico as an assistant manager,” he said.

“Then in the future I will come back to the UK for sure.

“Of course it is my dream to become the Barnsley manager.

“That’s what I’m working towards.”