Tue, 05 Jul 2022

Possible Athletic Club Bilbao return for Bielsa

21 Jun 2022, 02:05 GMT+10

MADRID, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Marcelo Bielsa could return as the coach of Athletic Club Bilbao, it was announced on Monday.

The 66-year-old, who most recently coached Leeds United for almost four years, before being sacked in the run into the end of last season, has been confirmed as the man who will coach the Basque club if Inaki Arechabaleta is elected as club president on June 24.

Bielsa previously coached Athletic in the 2011-12, 2012-13 seasons and won over fans by leading the club to the Europa League and Copa del Rey finals in his first season in charge, by giving confidence to young players and playing an attacking style of football.

Although his second season was less successful and he left by mutual consent in the summer of 2013, Bielsa and his view of football have always had a place in the heart of the club's fans.

However, it is still not certain that he will take over for next season, Athletic is a club that is owned by its club members 'Socios' and like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, who have a similar structure, the Socios elect a new club president every four years.

The incumbent president, Aitor Elizegi stepped down at the end of last season and is not standing for reelection and Arechabaleta is one of three candidates, with the others Ricardo Barkala and Jon Uriarte.

Barkala is the director of the Port of Bilbao and is seen as the more traditional candidate, who has already said that former FC Barcelona Director of Football, Ramon Planes, will carry out the same function at Athletic if he is elected.

Uriarte is a millionaire who made his fortune with an online ticketing company and has promised to update all aspects of the club, which only signs players born or raised in the Basque region and the neighboring community of Navarre.

Neither Uriarte nor Barkala have said who will be the first team coach if they win the elections, and although Barkala has been linked to PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino, nothing has been confirmed.

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