Even Lionel Messi wanted Marcelo Bielsa as a coach

The search for a new manager by Leeds United has entered the realm of fantasy for hipster football. It looks like former Athletic Bilbao and Chile boss Marcelo Bielsa is the favorite for the role. Paul Heckingbottom was sacked earlier this month as Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani continues to try to define his philosophy at the club.

Bielsa is, of course, a good choice and one of the great managerial minds of a generation. If you want a better example of Bielsa’s reputation, come back to summer 2012.

Bielsa had just led Bilbao to the Europa League final in a swashbuckling fashion. The way they had knocked out Manchester United earlier in the competition left English football fans in dismay at their relentless playing style. Meanwhile, in Barcelona, ​​Pep Guardiola was retiring. In a shocking move, the club legend decided he needed a break and left the Nou camp.

(Photo credit to read DENIS CHARLET / AFP / Getty Images)

The immediate favorite for the job? It was Marcelo Bielsa.

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His incredible football philosophy would have been brilliantly respected in Catalonia and he was undoubtedly the man for the job. As reported by Goal At the time, Barca’s star man Lionel Messi was an advocate for Bielsa to get the top job.

But the Argentinian had launched a project in Bilbao that he had no desire to leave and in the end, Barcelona went internal with the appointment of Tito Vilanova, now sadly deceased.

Of course, this is by no means a suggestion that Messi might one day appear at Elland Road. However, what is clear is that Leeds will play some of England’s purest football if they can convince Bielsa to come to West Yorkshire.

Even football neutrals should want this to happen.

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