The Life of a Coach – Marcelo Bielsa

Marcelo Bielsa is highly regarded as a manager and we have taken a look at the Argentine in greater depth!

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Some Leeds United fans are yet to recover from Marcelo Bielsa’s departure, but the club are already moving forward with two crucial home matches against Aston Villa and Norwich City.

Bielsa spent more time at Leeds United than any other club, just further proof of how much he loved his time at Elland Road.

The Argentinean and his crazy methods are often criticised, but he found the perfect club in Leeds, and the two were a match made in heaven.

But it is not just Leeds that have felt the love of Bielsa, and we take a look back at his career and what makes him so unique.

Loyal to the Core

Bielsa’s playing career was relatively short, lasting just five years before he turned to management to coach Newell’s Old Boys’ youth team.

He won the league title with Newell’s before helping them finish second in the Copa Libertadores in 1992. After a spell in Mexico, Bielsa returned to Argentina with Velez Sarsfield, winning the league title in 1998.

It is fair to say he never forgot his roots, with Newell’s training ground paid for by Bielsa, while they named their stadium after him.

International Success also on Bielsa’s CV

Club managers often find it hard to turn to international management, but Bielsa did well with both Argentina and Chile.

He won the Olympics with Argentina in 2004 while, as Chile coach, he helped them qualify for the World Cup before leaving in 2010.

Chile fans call themselves “Widows of Bielsa” due to their love affair with the 66-year-old, something Leeds fans have now finally started to understand.

Elland Road Stint the Best of the Rest

Bielsa’s tactics often baffle rival fans’, but his meticulous planning and training methods have helped numerous former clubs.

Athletic Bilbao and Marseille excelled under his management, but it was his time at Leeds that will take some beating.

Bielsa’s determination to improve players helped Leeds go from a mid-table Championship side to a Premier League team within three years.

He turned players accustomed to the Football League into top-flight stars, all while staying humble and committed to helping the city grow.

Of course, Bielsa does not come without his faults. He lasted a few days during his time at Lazio, and his refusal to speak English did not go down well during his time at Elland Road.

Many clubs did not understand Bielsa’s stubborness or methods, but that is perhaps what explains the brilliance of the man.

In a game where coaches are told how to play and what to do to succeed, Bielsa did it his way, and found a perfect dance partner in Leeds United.

For now, he is expected to return home to Argentina, but at 66, he could have one final challenge left in his locker.

Those wanting him to adjust his methods are sadly wasting their time and, with the game moving in a different direction, his time at Leeds may be his final job.

Any future employer would need to give him total control and back down to his demands, but it remains to be seen if someone has the same faith that Leeds did in this brutal business.

Tom is a fantasy football fanatic who brings years of experience to bear when it comes to picking the best FPL players every week. Back in the real world of sports, Tom offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.
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