Bielsa Pep TalkIntense Atmospheric Pressure
Marcelo Alberto Bielsa Caldera was born in Rosario, Argentina on July 21, 1955. Nicknamed El Loco, Bielsa has managed domestic football clubs in Argentina, Mexico and Spain and also the national teams of both Argentina and Chile.
Considered an eccentric with idiosyncratic ideas, he has developed a very clear and precise vision of how football should be played; sporting a library of tens of thousands of football videos and books serving as aids to his compulsively meticulous and careful statistical analysis. Most recently, El Loco masterminded Athletic Bilbao's journey to two finals in the 2012-2013 season, losing out as runners-up to Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in the Europa League and Copa Del Rey respectively.
Cited by many (in the know) as the pioneer of football’s current ball-retention obsession, other signature hallmarks of Bielsa are high-line pressing and constant suffocating pressure on opposition teams. He is hailed as a tactical genius by his fans and followers, also known Bielsista Disciples.
Josep 'Pep' Guardiola i Sala was born 18 January ,1971 in Santpedor, Catalonia, Spain, and spent the majority of his illustrious playing career with Barcelona. Pep was an early prodigy of the infamous Barca cantera ‘La Masia’ youth academy, becoming part of Johan Cruyff's European Cup-winning 'dream team'. However, it was on retiring from playing that he really made his mark on the Catalan club, transforming Barcelona into arguably the greatest club side of all time.
After travelling the world, he became a coach of the Barcelona reserve team, and a year later, in 2008, he was appointed the first-team manager. The club went on to win an unprecedented 13 of the 16 competitions they entered under his leadership, and he became the youngest ever manager to win the Champions League. Then, at the end of the 2012 season, after having been awarded the FIFA World Coach of the Year, he resigned following four years of unprecedented achievement. He immediately became the most sought-after free-agent in football.
Before Pep Guardiola took his first steps as a football coach, one of the men from whom he sought advice and inspiration was Marcelo Bielsa. In 2005, Guardiola flew to Rosario, Argentina, for what turned out to be a football pilgrimage; seeking the wisdom of the man they called El Loco. Two of football's most intriguing football minds spoke late into the night and truly connected - for over 11 hours - discussing football, tactics and related philosophies. A mutual respect and admiration was forever forged.
'Under him, Barcelona are an innovative artistic expression that's generated a culture – a counterculture'.
Bielsa on Guardiola.
'Athletic is recognisably Bielsa's team now.... up and down, up and down. They deny you space and time so well, and they take you on, one on one, all over the pitch. They're beasts. I have never played against a team so intense.'
Guardiola on Bielsa
'A man with new ideas is mad until he succeeds.'