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Marcelo Bielsa moves closer to management return with Athletic Bilbao - The Athletic

Marcelo Bielsa’s return to Athletic Bilbao may have moved a step closer after one of the club’s presidential candidates promised to hire the Argentine should...

  • Posted on 20th Jun, 2022 12:19 PM
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Marcelo Bielsa moves closer to management return with Athletic Bilbao - The Athletic Image

Marcelo Bielsa’s return to Athletic Bilbao may have moved a step closer after one of the club’s presidential candidates promised to hire the Argentine should he win this week’s elections.

Athletic will hold elections on June 24 and Inaki Arechabaleta, one of those running to replace Aitor Elizegi as the Spanish club’s president, has said he will bring Bielsa back to the club if successful.

Bielsa, 66, previously managed the Spanish side between 2011 and 2013.

At a press conference on Monday, Arechabaleta said: “(Bielsa) is the most respected coach in the world. He is also a coach for the future, although in the past he gave us the best season of this century.

“(Bielsa) has evolved since then and his ambition, quality and abilities are going to take us to the Athletic that we must become.”

Bielsa has meanwhile confirmed he will accept the job should Arechabaleta win, and has already said he has started preparing for the position.

Arechabaleta’s endorsement of Bielsa does not mean he is guaranteed the job, however.

Arechabaleta has been seen as the least likely of the three candidates to win Friday’s election, although it remains to be seen how his endorsement of Bielsa will play with voters.

Bielsa first took over Athletic in the summer of 2011, after he left his position as manager of the Chile national team.

The club flourished under his stewardship, reaching the finals of both the Copa del Rey and the Europa League in 2011-12. They also famously eliminated Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United from Europe with a shock 3-2 victory at Old Trafford.

Towards the end of his spell in Bilbao he had a difficult relationship with some staff and players, however, and he remains something of a polarising figure among supporters.

Bielsa has been out of work since he was sacked as the manager of Leeds United in February.

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