Leeds confirm Bielsa is their new coach
Argentinian signs two-year deal with Championship club.
Marcelo Bielsa has been appointed as Leeds’ new head coach, the club have confirmed.
The Argentinian has signed a two-year deal to succeed Paul Heckingbottom at Elland Road, with an option for a third season.
Bielsa said: “I am delighted to accept the role of head coach at Leeds United. It has always been my ambition to work in England.”
The 62-year-old, who had successful spells in charge of his national team as well as neighbouring Chile, has been Leeds’ top target since Heckingbottom was sacked earlier this month.
Bielsa, 62, enjoyed his greatest club success when he led Athletic Bilbao to the 2012 Europa League and Copa del Rey finals.
Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani said: “I am thrilled to welcome Marcelo and his staff to Leeds United.
“Marcelo has a wealth of experience and he will use that to create a new culture and a winning mentality at our football club.”
Bielsa added: “When a club with Leeds United’s history made me an offer, it was impossible to turn down.
“I am excited for the challenge ahead and I look forward to collaborating with Victor (Orta, director of football), Andrea and Angus (Kinnear, managing director) as we work hard to achieve great things at this football club.”
Leeds fans had grown impatient over the apparent lack of progress in finding Heckingbottom’s successor.
The club outlined their plans to bring in an experienced manager to help launch a promotion push from the Sky Bet Championship when announcing his departure.
Argentinian Bielsa fits the bill. He remains highly respected despite recent controversies including quitting Marseille after the opening game of the 2015-16 Ligue 1 season, walking out on Lazio after just two days in charge and being sacked by Lille last season following a club suspension.
He has had spells at Argentinian clubs Newell’s Old Boys and Velez Sarsfield and a spell in charge of Espanyol was cut short when he was appointed Argentina’s head coach in 1998.
Argentina won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and were runners-up in the Copa America the same year under Bielsa, who spent seven years in the role before guiding Chile to the 2010 World Cup.