Dirty Leeds to Flirty Leeds: Bielsa’s transformation continues apace

Argentinean manager is changing public persona of the club at the highest level

A mural is seen on the side of a building featuring an image of Leeds United’s Argentinian head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images

A mural is seen on the side of a building featuring an image of Leeds United’s Argentinian head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images

There is a section in Tim Rich’s engrossing recent biography of Marcelo Bielsa, The Quality of Madness, where the former Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino – also a former player under Bielsa in Argentina – addresses an idea in the book’s title that the current Leeds United manager/guru/saviour is, well, a bit mad. Hence Bielsa’s long-standing nickname, El Loco.

Martino obviously knows about the nickname and its implication. But he had seen not just Bielsa from the inside, Martino also knew professional football from there and he makes the valid point that Bielsa is known as El Loco – “because the thinkers in football are usually called ‘El Loco.’”

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