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Former Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has appeared almost unrecognizable as he plots a return to Athletic Bilbao, revealing he analyzed all 380 LaLiga games last season.

The 66-year-old was sacked by Leeds in February after worrying form, leaving the Whites after four years where he cemented legendary status with a long-awaited return to the Premier League.

@JimenaJuani

Bielsa looked neat as he launched a return to the dugout

Marcelo Bielsa looks unrecognizable as he launches Athletic Bilbao return, plots Antoine Griezmann move and reveals he watched all 380 LaLiga games last season after being sacked by Leeds

AFP

He looks very different to the man who left Leeds four months ago

The Argentine is also revered in the Basque Country for his two seasons with Athletic between 2011 and 2013, during which he took the team to the Europa League and Copa del Rey finals.

Dominating Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United 5-3 on aggregate in the Europa League Round of 16, Bielsa won over the fans with irresistibly intense football, and now he could return.

The northeastern part of Spain elects a new president on June 24, and if Inaki Arechabaleta wins the election, Bielsa will accompany him.

Speaking via video link from Argentina as the candidates presented their mandates, Spanish outlet Marca said: “It was pure Marcelo Bielsa.”

Looking rather neat and clean-shaven, Bielsa said: “I’m excited to think about joining a band that can deliver a similar release to the level we had ten years ago.

“I saw the 45 matches of the season and I analyzed them from all aspects.

Marcelo Bielsa looks unrecognizable as he launches Athletic Bilbao return, plots Antoine Griezmann move and reveals he watched all 380 LaLiga games last season after being sacked by Leeds

@JimenaJuani

Bielsa showed his love for the game went nowhere

“Ten years ago, I inherited a great team of [Joaquin] Caparros, but this team is current and more like what I usually pass on a team than Caparros.

“This team, it has a greater number of players and the quality is comparable. In the last ranking, he deserved more than he got. Finishing fifth would have been normal.

“In the sprint, it’s very similar to Leeds, which was my last team, and a very important fact is that 95% of the minutes the team played were played with 18 players.

Bielsa, well known as a tactics obsessive, described the process of watching every LaLiga game last season as “extensive and laborious”, having only lost his job four months ago.

Marcelo Bielsa looks unrecognizable as he launches Athletic Bilbao return, plots Antoine Griezmann move and reveals he watched all 380 LaLiga games last season after being sacked by Leeds

Bielsa’s sports team was unforgettable

The Argentine also revealed that he has already planned a pre-season, despite the fact that he hasn’t even been named head coach yet.

“A five-week pre-season, week six ends with the first league game,” he explained.

“This year will be doubled because there is a World Cup between November and December, and then the training time, with sessions of 60 or 70 minutes, shorter and more intense.

“Gym and stretching sessions are recurrent to reduce injuries, as is the daily weight ratio, based on diet and hydration control.”

One of the most interesting aspects of Bielsa’s return is his main transfer target, with the former Leeds boss giving Arecheabaleta a list of targets which included the name Antoine Griezmann, according to Spanish outlet AS.

Marcelo Bielsa looks unrecognizable as he launches Athletic Bilbao return, plots Antoine Griezmann move and reveals he watched all 380 LaLiga games last season after being sacked by Leeds

AFP-Getty

Pep Guardiola called Bielsa the best coach in the world after facing him in Spain

Marcelo Bielsa looks unrecognizable as he launches Athletic Bilbao return, plots Antoine Griezmann move and reveals he watched all 380 LaLiga games last season after being sacked by Leeds

And the Argentinian is interested in a huge name

Athletic employ a policy of only signing players born in the Basque region which would appear to exclude the Frenchman, but it turns out that’s not the case.

The Atletico Madrid striker, on loan from Barcelona, ​​was born in Mâcon in Burgundy, hundreds of kilometers from the French Basque country, but so was Bixente Lizarazu, who also turned out for the Lions.

Athletic’s rules state that they can sign players who were brought up in the region, as is the case with Griezmann, who joined rivals Real Sociedad when he was 13.

Finances would make the signing incredibly unlikely, but it shows just how keen Bielsa is on fielding players who many didn’t even know were eligible.

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