Bielsa will direct Athletic if Arechabaleta is president of the club

First modification: 20/06/2022 – 15:46Last modification: 20/06/2022 – 15:44

Madrid (AFP) – The Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa confirmed this Monday that he will be the coach of Athletic Bilbao, if Iñaki Arechabaleta, one of the candidates for the presidency of the Basque club, wins the position.

“The coach presenting this candidacy for next season is the Argentine Marcelo Bielsa,” Arechabaleta, one of the three candidates for the June 24 elections, announced at the ceremony.

Along with Arechabaleta, Ricardo Barkala and Jon Uriarte are competing to succeed Aitor Elizegi at the helm of Athletic.

At the event, a video was shown of Bielsa commenting that after Marcelino García Toral announced that he would no longer be the coach of the ‘Leones’, “I began to think about giving a positive response” to the proposal made in March by Arechabaleta.

Bielsa, who already managed Athletic Bilbao for two seasons between 2011 and 2013, explained that he asked for time to evaluate the proposal because “it is a very big responsibility to assume that commitment to manage a team like Athletic and even more so for me since I was already over there”.

In the video, ‘Loco’ Bielsa commented that “one of the first things I told him (Arechabaleta) was that the team played well, that I liked it” and that the best thing was for Marcelino to continue in charge because he saw that “the project was not finished and that it had room for growth and development”.

Both Bielsa and Arechabaleta waited for the end of the season and for Marcelino’s decision to finally agree on Bielsa’s arrival in the event of Arechabaleta’s victory.

The Argentine coach stated that he has seen all the games that Athletic played last season, making a detailed analysis of the whole.

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“This team has room for individual and collective evolution and in relation to the team that we lead, it is comparable in quality and has a greater number of players,” Bielsa said.

“I am excited to think of joining a team of a similar level to that one,” added Bielsa, who in his first season at Athletic reached the finals of the Europa League and the Copa del Rey.

“We want to ensure two years of work with Bielsa,” said Arechabaleta, when asked about the duration of the eventual contract.

“He is happy with the team he is going to receive, but he has told me that a reinforcement would be good for us,” added the candidate for Athletic’s presidency, without giving further details.