The Premier League season kicks off this weekend across England. Fans all over the world who follow the league are in an expectant mood. Three clubs that competed in the Premier League last season has dropped down to the Championship. Alternatively, three clubs have climbed back up to replace them.
Leeds United have waited for 16 years to come back to the Premier League. One man credited with making this happen is non-other than Marcelo Bielsa. Popularly called El Loco which means the crazy one, Bielsa manages his teams uniquely and pragmatically. In two years managing the club, he has been able to bring Leeds United back to the Premier League. He narrowly missed out in the playoff last season.
Stories and myths follow the Argentine wherever he goes. From one that he threatened his team supporters with a hand grenade to going to the world cup in 2002 armed with 2000 videotapes of opponents; the man is synonymous with myths. In the same fashion, he admitted sending his assistants to spy on an opposition team last season in what is now popularly known as the Spygate scandal
A list of players and coaches he has mentored in his long coaching career is inexhaustible. Notably in the list are, Man-City’s current coach, Pep Guardiola, and former Tottenham Boss, Pochetino. In the same vein, players like Gabriel Batistuta, Alexis Sanches, and a host of others got mentored by El Loco at a point in their career. Unarguably, he is one of the most influential coaches in the world.
Leeds United will play their first Premier League match this weekend against Liverpool. In a post-match interview, Marcelo Bielsa brands the encounter as “a special game”. When asked about his future, the 65-year-old Argentine insists: “I will be working the next season at Leeds United. Everything is in order and it’s definite I will be here next season.
Bielsa hails from Rosario, capital of the Argentine province of Santa Fe. He is a middle child in a high-achieving family of politicians, lawyers, and diplomats.
His brother and sister followed family tradition by pursuing careers in law and politics. On the other hand, Bielsa became a student of football. As a result, he briefly played for Newell’s Old boys before he followed a career in coaching.
His former charges have always described his methods as intense and detailed. In his 30 years coaching career, he has never left a team or a player the way he met them. For instance, Spain striker Aritz Aduriz, who spent a season under Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao, credits the Argentine’s coaching for the remarkable late-career blossoming that saw him score 104 of his 158 La Liga goals after the age of 30.
At Marseille, he was called “Le Professeur”, a testament to the high regard he was held in the club. His introduction to the Premier league marks the entrance of another veteran of the game. Before now, the coaching job has taken the Argentine to several countries across Europe and South America.
Meanwhile, we hope that his arrival in the Premier League will add more drama to the competition. El Loco is not always far away from drama and controversy and he will bring them along.