Marcelo Bielsa Biography
Nick Name: Madman Bielsa, Loco Bielsa, El Loco
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: Marcelo Alberto Bielsa Caldera
Born in: Rosario
Famous as: Football Coach
Spouse/Ex-: Laura Bracalenti (m. 1990)
father: Rafael Pedro Bielsa
mother: Lidia Caldera
siblings: María Eugenia Bielsa, Rafael Bielsa
children: Inés Bielsa
Marcelo Bielsa is a football manager from Argentina who is currently heading the English football club, Leeds United. Prior to embarking on a managerial career, Biesla tinkered with the game as a player himself, but did not find much success. However, his observations of the game and deep understanding of the strategies made him perfectly suitable for the role a coach. He started his career as the head coach of Newell's Old Boys School’s Youth Division. Since then, he has been in charge of several football clubs in Mexico, Argentina and England. His most famous stint was as the manager of the Argentinean national team, which won the Olympics gold medal in 2004. He then moved on to manage Chile’s national side and earned a hero-like status for drastically improving the team’s performance. After managing Chile, he obtained the head position at the Spanish club, Athletic Bilbao, and successfully lead them to the finals of the continental cup. Thereafter, he was appointed the manager of Leeds United in 2018. The team’s performance spiked sharply since Bielsa’s arrival and they managed to reach the top of their league. While Bielsa does not boast many trophies or championship awards, his unique methods have inspired many footballers, helping them train better and give their best performance. He is considered among the most respected managers and coaches in the world today.
- Marcelo Alberto Bielsa Caldera was born on July 21, 1955 in Rosario, Argentina to Lidia Caldera and Rafael Pedro Bielsa. He has two siblings. His brother Rafael Bielsa and sister María Eugenia Bielsa are politicians in Argentina who have served at important government positions in the past.
- Bielsa was born into a wealthy and reputed family. He was known for being a bookish child who diligently collected sports magazines. He was inspired by his mother’s fervor and hard-working nature.
- He started playing football when he was 15, and worked his way to the top of Newell's Old Boys School’s football team. He however could not make a name for himself as a remarkable player.
- Marcelo Bielsa switched careers, from playing football to managing a team, in the 1980s. He began as a coach for the youth division of Newell's Old Boys School and slowly progressed to become the manager of the team.
- In 1990, he was made the manager of Newell’s team during their many tours. Under him, the team won the 1990 Torneo Apertura and Torneo Integración. He was also the man behind the team that reached the finals of the Copa Libertadores in 1992, but eventually lost. However, they triumphed at the Torneo Clausura in the same month to lift the cup.
- Over the next few years, he rapidly switched teams. In Mexico, he managed Club Atlas from 1992 to 1994. Later, he headed Club America until 1996. He returned to Argentina in 1998 to manage Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield, helping them win the 1998 Clausura.
- In 1998, he was appointed the manager of the Argentinian national team, replacing Daniel Passarella. When Argentina lost against Colombia at Copa America in 1999, Bielsa’s furious reactions against the referee brought him at the center of attention.
- Under Bielsa, Argentina managed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup but were beaten during the knockout stage. However, the team managed to reach the finals of the 2004 Copa America and gloriously took home the gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
- Despite helping Argentina win its first Olympic gold medal in over 50 years, Bielsa decided to resign from his post on a high note. He was succeeded by Jose Pekerman.
- In 2007, Bielsa was announced as the manager of the Chile national team. Under him, the side flourished and defeated many of its old opponents for the first time. He helped the team qualify for the World Cup, which made him a popular figure in Chile.
- Impressed by Bielsa’s efforts in improving the Chilean squad’s strategy and performance, fans campaigned for him to extend his guidance to the team during the next World Cup. However, owing to political reasons, Bielsa resigned from his position in 2011.
- He moved to managing Athletic Bilbao, a Spanish football club in the Basque country, in July 2011. Under him, the team managed to top the UEFA Europa League and reached the finals of the Copa del Rey in 2012, eventually losing the trophy.
- Athletic’s 2013-14 season did not prove to be very successful. Consequently, Bielsa’s contract with the club was not renewed and he left his position in June 2013.
- In May 2014, it was announced that Marseille, a French football club, was bringing in Bielsa as its coach with a two-year-contract. They managed a fourth spot in Ligue 1 in 2014, but fared poorly in the next season. Bielsa resigned over his differences with the management in August 2015.
- He joined Lazio, an Italian club, in July 2016. However, within two days of joining, he decided to quit. The club filed a €50 million lawsuit against him for failing to honor the contract.
- In 2017, he joined the Ligue 1 club Lille as the new manager with a two-year-contract. He brought in rapid changes, which displeased many. After 13 matches, he was suspended as coach, and his termination was announced later.
- In June 2018, he was announced as the head coach of the English club, Leeds United, where he replaced Paul Heckingbottom. His two-year-contract made him one of the highest paid managers in Leeds’ history.
- He started working with Leeds in the beginning of the EFL Championship, helping them win the first three matches. This was a historical moment for Leeds as such a feat had not been achieved since 1974. Bielsa continued doing his magic, and Leeds was unbeaten in the first six rounds.
- Despite many Leeds players being injured during the EFL championship, the club continued to shine in top form and remained on top of the table. Bielsa was credited for working on players’ techniques and helping them give their best.
- Despite having only a moderately successful win record, Bielsa is considered among the most respected and influential football mangers today. His success with Argentina is cited as the best change he brought about in a team. Pep Guardiola called him the ‘best manager in the world’.
- Off the field, Bielsa is known for his obsessive attention to detail. His meticulousness about his play formations and methods are results of his observation of each individual player. He has been called a ‘genius’ and ‘coaching master’ by many.
- Marcelo Bielsa’s methods came into question in January 2019 when it was revealed that he had sent a spy to learn about his opponent’s training methods during the EFL Championship. While such actions are not uncommon in football, many veterans and journalists frowned upon it. It was announced later that the incident would be investigated.
- The media described the incident as ‘Spygate’ and continued to demand an explanation from Bielsa. He decided to hold a press conference, in which he gave an honest account of the events and his motivation behind his actions. By acknowledging this, Biesla only managed to earn more respect for himself in the end.
- Marcelo Bielsa was recognized by the football fraternity early in his coaching career. The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) awarded him the title of the World's Best National Coach in 2001 when he managed Argentina’s national side.
- Bielsa earned global fame when the Argentinian team, coached by him, won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in 2004. His intense strategies and mysterious training sessions in the run up to the games helped his team taste success.
- He was awarded the Championship Manager of the Month in August 2018 for assisting Leeds United to reach the top of their leagues, unbeaten, during the EFL Championship. This was a first in several decades for the team.
- Marcelo Bielsa is married to the academician and scholar Laura Bracalenti since 1990. The couple has one child: Inés Bielsa.
How To Cite
People Also Viewed