Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is one of the most revered and enigmatic coaches in world football.
He has coached in seven countries and enjoyed success at club and international level during his 30-year managerial career.
Nicknamed ‘El Loco’, Tim Rich chronicles his life in his new biography entitled ‘The Quality of Madness. A Life of Marcelo Bielsa’, published by Quercus, which is out on Friday.
Pep Guardiola has always looked up to Marcelo Bielsa because he loves his style of football.
He was stunned when Bielsa presented him with his tactical analysis of Barcelona after they beat the Argentinian’s Athletic Bilbao in the 2012 Copa del Rey Final and said: “You know more about Barcelona than me!”
The Manchester City boss sought Bielsa out at his home in Argentina in 2006 before he began his trophied coaching career to learn from him.
As the 'El Loco' book explains: “In October 2006 a visitor came to Máximo Paz searching for Bielsa: Pep Guardiola. He, too, was in a lull in his career. He had finished playing for Barcelona in 2001 at the age of thirty.
“There had been two frustrating seasons in Italy, at Brescia and Roma, and a lucrative one in Qatar.
“Now he found himself in the north-west of Mexico, playing for a newly promoted club, Dorados de Sinaloa, in a city on the Pan-American Highway called Culiacán.
“It was obvious Guardiola would want to talk to Bielsa. When he and Gabriel Batistuta were playing together in Rome, Batistuta advised him to look him up: ‘If you want to be a coach, you have to get together with this man.’
“On 10 October 2006, over an asado, Guardiola, accompanied by the Spanish film director and novelist David Trueba, got together with Marcelo Bielsa.
“The first hour was taken up with Bielsa questioning Trueba, who had just finished his second film Bienvenido a Casa (Welcome Home), about the cinema.
“He only stopped when Trueba said: ‘You haven’t come all this way to talk about films, have you?’ The talk switched to football. ‘They started and they could not stop.’ Trueba recalled frantic conversations about teams, tactical planning, anecdotes about the game. Bielsa’s computer was used to check facts and settle arguments. Then Bielsa positioned Trueba between two chairs to act out a move in a game.
“They turned to the practicalities of management such as dealing with the press. Bielsa explained why he never now gave exclusive interviews. ‘Why am I going to give an interview to a journalist at a powerful paper and deny one to a little reporter from the provinces? What’s the criterion?’
“When he became manager of Barcelona two years later, this was a policy Guardiola would follow.
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