Bielsa and Lille: the chronicle of a failed fairy tale wedding

Marcelo Bielsa at the helm of Lille: the combination seemed at the beginning of the season a match made in heaven. After just three victories in thirteen matches placed the board in the Argentine last week, temporarily non-active. The famous magic of Bielsa does not seem to store it with the ambitious North-French, who is once again the hot breath of Ligue 2 in the neck feel. The chronicle of a failed fairy tale wedding.

Marcelo Bielsa © Belga Image

On may 23, revealed chairman Gérard Lopez of Lille OSC shiny, proud of his latest acquisition at a huge persmeute. The arrival of Bielsa to the North of France was worth more than any player. Lille had there been a miserable season on and Bielsa, more myth than man, seemed to be the perfect person to have the club back on to help. Lopez sought from his arrival in January to a revival of the glory days of 2011, a project with the title ‘LOSC Unlimited’ pinned got. Offensive football devised by a tactically strong coach and applied by a young, self-educated, theatre group formed when the main ingredients of the success.

‘El Loco’

Who other than Marcelo Bielsa, responsible for the Chilean voetbalrevolutie and inspiration of, among others, Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, was the suitable man for the narrow of PSG and AS Monaco? The success of the Former does not express itself in a trophy case but in a hyperaanvallende style that modal teams to a higher level can bring.

The cult around his person, of course, is also due to his enigmatic and obsessive personality. In the autumn of 2004, Bielsa has resorted to a very spiritual enterprise. He joined for many months in a monastery, where he all of his time devoted to the study of football. He turned back to the living world after he with himself began to talk. El Loco was, in his own words, really crazy.

The failed passage of Bielsa in Lille follows the scenario that the Argentine though his whole career chasing. The Argentine wants total control on all areas, ranging from nutrition training to transfers. Only thanks to that the absolute freedom he can get his demanding philosophy to perfection to apply. Just so he had the last few years many lucrative offers such as Inter and the Mexican national team.

Bielsa asked the blind trust and support of everyone connected to the club, which, of course, is not tenable in the long term.


In Marseille, he got himself in after the boardroom to the departure of the performers had not sufficiently taken care of. In Lazio Roma, he left for the same reason, all after 48 hours of official service.

It is no coincidence that the participation of technical director Luis Campos in the sports policy of Lille irritation at him excited, even more so because Bielsa in the official hierarchy, the higher level was. Despite the tensions between Bielsa and Campos drew Lille in the past year eagerly the wallet open. Since his appointment as chairman in January, spent Lopez sixty million euros of new powers.

The financial spierballenvertoon of the entrepreneur, however, soon desperate. On the last day of the mercato in January picked up Lille have seven new players, all to the past five mediocre years as soon as possible, to forget. In the summer came a further nine reinforcements to the north of France, mostly through the intercession of Campos. According to Bielsa collided he with Campos on August 31, when, after the departure of striker Nicolas de Préville, however, good for fourteen matches last season, a gap emerged in the attack.

After the transferdeadline exchanged both he didn’t say a word more. According to The Times would be the Portuguese one is still only one year in service, in secret already flirting with Chelsea.

Who exactly is responsible for the megalomaniac transferbeleid, it is difficult to explain. However, it is certain that the cleansing of the selection of any form of continuity in the already unstable Lille has been removed. In comparison with the seizoenseinde in may, midfielder Ibrahim Amadou, the sole survivor in the basiself.


Also in his relationship with the cast of actors appeared the first cracks. So were the twelve ouderdomsdekens on the opening day of the preparation immediately broke. 45 seconds, more was not needed for Bielsa to Rio Mavuba, captain of the kampioensploeg from 2011, and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to tell that they are not in his plans paste. Vleugelspeler Nicolas Pépé was then surprisingly promoted to a deep striker but in his new role can be a Mix-his speed is no longer the strongest weapon of the unions. The Brazilian talent Thiago Maia, was already played as a central midfielder, playmaker and full.

What is in Bielsa’s advantage speaks, were the long absences of the to lille property standards experienced Kévin Malcuit , and Thiago Mendes, one of the few purchases on the intercession of Bielsa himself. Despite the evident lack of creativity without these two stood LOSC under Bielsa was the second place in the Ligue 1 in terms of possession and created chances.

The accumulation of individual errors, however, appeared to be often fatal, is not surprising in a team where the average age of 22 years. According to the French press is the lack of leidersfiguren the young group tricks, already has such a rejuvenation of a competitor such as Lyon will not be profitable for put.


After the stray defeat against candidate Amiens on november 20, got Bielsa not only the wind from the front of the press but also of his players: are typical 3-3-1-3 formation fits simply not the qualities of this selection. Also the board had, after the seventh defeat of the early season enough: two days later, it was Bielsa is temporarily set to non-active placed, the harbinger of an impending dismissal. The rumor that he, without permission, traveled to Chile for a sick ex-assistant to search, soon proved to be untrue.

The confidence in the culttrainer was just looking for you. The integration of a new cast of actors in his philosophy is, of course, always been a work of long breath. Both in Chile as Athletic Bilbao came to the engine only after several breaches. About time and patience has Lille, however, already long not more.

The balance of power in France since the title in 2011 to be fully turned upside down. PSG and AS Monaco have due to, respectively, petro-dollars and rubles to a stable place, bought at the top. Old greats such as Marseille and Lyon attempt to cling by, among other clever use of the transfer market and youth policy.

Lille hoped with the construction of the state-of-art Stade Pierre Mauroy a new gold dust to find but the stadium is since the opening in 2012 rather as a sword of Damocles over the club. LOSC runs at an average of 30 000 visitors per contest, good for fourth place in the Ligue 1. In a stadium with 50 000 spectators, this provides sadly desolate stands on. Furthermore, the club are locked into a stifling contract with the city council.


How the future looked for Bielsa, is one big question mark. The Argentine is suspended for an indefinite period but not officially dismissed. The relationship between club and, still, trainer is, nevertheless, irremediable. Last week called Bielsa the support of the Ligue Professionel de Football (LPF) for his suspension to fight.

In the meantime, the legal service of the club getting busy to the heavy severance pay of fifteen million euros to avoid. Under the guidance of the technical staff scrawls Lille, meanwhile, slowly right, thanks to victories against Lyon and Toulouse.

Despite the fact that Bielsa is not the only culprit to the separation, the aura around his person a strong sting. In Marseille and Bilbao, he left with the noorderzon festival, just before his relationship with his superiors complete threatened to sour and the results were satisfactory. However, now he’s in control of his fate, completely lost.

It is also the question of whether the rapidly changing world of football, the innovator Bielsa has not caught up. His last performance dates back to after all of 2012, an eternity in the sport. In the early ’90s, he was great as a trainer of his youth club Newell’s Old Boys. He achieved success with a revolutionary 3-3-1-3 formation, and ultraoffensief football, still his trademark, but hardly updated. Shortly thereafter, he decided not to talk with journalists, with the exception of the obligatory press conferences. Since then, the sport has changed beyond recognition on tactically, physically and economically.

It is no coincidence that pronounced bielsistas such as Guardiola and Sampaoli, which have been leather, however, not to adhere strictly to them, more successful books in the contemporary football. On his 62nd seems to Bielsa himself to be degraded to a brilliant voetbalprofessor that in football in 2017, each track really is.

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