"I'm not taking Chile to the World Cup, I'm going with Chile to the World Cup"
"The axis of qualifying must be placed with the footballers, and I think we must value that the infrastructure necessary for high perfomance was provided to me and the public had the warmth that facilitates the enterprise" he concluded.
Bielsa's use of language is not average football punditry; in fact, it's not average at all. His press conferences have been known to last hours, yet he has not given a single interview in close to a decade. Upon arrival in South Africa he extended the decision to the squad, and
But Bielsa is a man of method, and he has been working more or less in the same way for a long time now. Were his training sessions open, what we would most likely see is his great secret: "His training sessions are very short but intense and he does something no other manager in the world does"
Half a game into the 2010 World Cup campaign and the world was tweeting about the result of such methods, as Chile went 1-0 up against Honduras with some of the finest football of the tournament so far. "Some of Chile's attacking, backheels, incisive passsing and pace is outstanding" said English writer
He may be a novelty to much of the world, but Argentina's football family knows Marcelo well. In spite of a superb qualifying campaign for the 2002 World Cup, his squad suffered one of the earliest exits in the country's history. Despite this, he is very respected in his native home, and in his pre-match interview yesterday acknowledged Argentina's football fills him with a little "nostalgia." Always reluctant to engage with the "non-football" side of the job, he is reknowned for being obsessive, thorough, honest, straight and loyal. His first soccer love, his club Newell's Old Boys in Rosario, named its stadium after him. He was active in the democratic process which rid the club of a corrupt chairman after years abusing power, and outspoken against him even as manager of the national team: "It's inevitable that I manifest my opinion even with the knowledge that this is not purdent from my current position. but it's a moral obligation which supersedes my role: I think the current president of Newell's harms Newell's" he said of
A strong Moral code also guided him through the Santiago neighborhood of Constitucion
Today, the ex-president of Chile
The 1-0 win against Honduras he classidied as "fair," quick to point out that it would be a mistake to "celebrate exaggeratedly" at this stage bearing in mind that the objective is to get past the first round.
In itself, that would be a fairly historic result for Chile. However, the country isn't a newcomer to the World Cup. Chile hosted the 1962 World Cup and took centre stage in a
Wednesday, Chilean fans singing appeared to drown out the vuvuzelas, probably the first time since the tournament started that the sound of the horns was overcome. The whole team kept the ball, kept the movement, each player in a personal duel with an opponent, keeping the ball, attacking at times with seven players up front, closing in on any attempts at counter-attack, as if playing out once and again carefully rehearsed choreographies.
Wednesday, Chile's party has just kicked off. And the whole country continues to address Marcelo Bielsa: "Total thanks."