Marcelo Bielsa is one of the most respected coaches in the world. Accordingly, it is no surprise that fans of El Tri and the Mexican media have tipped him as one of the favorites to fill the current Mexican managerial void. But, it seems, the current Marseille manager has no intention of leaving his Ligue 1 side, and is quite excited about getting his French league season underway.
"I haven't spoken with anyone in the Mexico federation and that is sufficient to consider hypothetical and I never talk about hypothetical situations," Bielsa said at a news conference.
It seemed that there was a real possibility that Bielsa would be able to coach El Tri. His contract was up for renewal at Olympique Marseille, and in said contract there were clauses that would have allowed him to leave.
Now, contract talk have made headway, and he appears to be staying at Marseille.
"The terms have been agreed upon but we haven't signed the document," Bielsa said, while apologising for his struggles with French. "The negotiation has nuances in terms of the extension. I am eager for the season to start because we have a competitive side."
Bielsa’s eagerness is a sign that he does not want to leave Marseille, which is a true misfortune for El Tri. El Tri has often been criticized as arrogant and has been guilty of underperforming, the latter of which almost lead it to missing the 2014 World Cup and thoroughly underwhelming at this past summer’s Gold Cup, a competition it ended up winning regardless. Bielsa is ostensibly the perfect coach to fix these two unwanted qualities.
He is a manager that has no qualms with talking about the brutal realities of what success demands.
Read the transcript of this speech he made during a training session to a promising young centre-back at Marseille: 20-year-old Benjamin Mendi.
“[Mendi] knowns he will be a great player. He knows he will be a star. What he does not know is what Morel knows (an experienced defender, 30). If Mendi incorporates this he will be one of the best centre-backs in the world. But there is no guarantee that it ends this way. You think I'm kidding?
“If you want to be one of the best centre-backs in the world, speaks with Morel and Fanni (33 years old). Yes, you laugh, but I would be the happiest man in the world if you become the best player in the world. I'm not crazy that I say it for demagoguery. I know what I'm saying.”
“There is only one answer that can throw on the ground everything I just said. And that being the best takes you out of happiness: hours with your wife, with your friends, you miss parties, fun... you have a very big problem, very, very big. You have money but do not have time to enjoy it. You would like to buy time, would pay to do so. I know because I have seen it many times.”
“Then, success takes away the ability to be happy. It is also a choice, it is also a choice.”
“He (Mendi), who is 20 years old, you should know. You choose if you want to be the best of the world, which problem is there? No problem, you just have to know it."
A man that can say that in all sincerity to a team is one that is wanted by every team in the world, but especially one like Mexico. There are massive expectations for El Tri each and every year, and immense pressure consequently. If the team ever wants to live up to these expectations it has to want to be successful, and sacrifice everything for the sake of that success.
Furthermore, Bielsa is absolutely brilliant from a footballing stand point. No one less than the managerial pioneer of our time, Pep Guardiola, said Bielsa was the best coach in the world.
One can easily argue that, by now, Mexico should have won a World Cup with the level of talent and the player pool it has at its disposal, yet it has not. I’m not saying that this is all down to it’s mentality, and that a brilliant half-psychologist/half-coach would have been the difference, but I am saying that Marcelo Bielsa is exactly the kind of coach that Mexico needs.
I just hope they can find another like him.
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