Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola regards Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa as the best in the business as he prepares to return to management with Lille.
Bielsa has agreed a two-year deal with the Ligue 1 club in French football, having managed a string of national and club teams, including Argentina, Chile and Athletic Bilbao.
The 61 year old’s pioneering tactical approach to coaching has been a major influence on Guardiola’s career, leading him to 21 major trophies in eight years of first-team management.
Pep Guardiola at Manchester City Training and Press Conference at Etihad Campus, Manchester, February 20. Guardiola believes he owes much to Marcelo Bielsa, whom he considers the best coach in world football. Jan Kruger/Getty
“My admiration for Marcelo Bielsa is huge because he makes the players much, much better,” said Guardiola, as quoted in Four Four Two. “He helped me a lot with his advice. Whenever I speak with him, I always feel like he wants to help me.”
Despite Guardiola’s huge trophy haul, he credits the role of Bielsa in guiding the careers of players who have, like him, gone into management. Such examples include Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli and former Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino.
“It is important for me to say this about Marcelo because it doesn’t matter how many titles he had in his career,” Guardiola added. “We are judged by that, how much success we have, how many titles we have won.
“But that is much less influential than how he has influenced football and his football players.
“That is why, for me, he is the best coach in the world.”
Guardiola is preparing Manchester City to face French opposition on Tuesday in the shape of Ligue 1 leader Monaco, in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers