Leeds United: Can Marcelo Bielsa do it on a cold, wet Tuesday in Stoke?

No one knows what to expect from Marcelo Bielsa as he takes on the managerial role at Leeds United. It will be fun to watch though.

by Jon Mackenzie

(Photo credit: Mathieu)

Wherever genius is concerned, there is always a latent doubt that creeps in. Just how good, you might wonder, is the person in question?

There is a sense with any precocity that, existing as it does within such a rarefied environment, anyone who doesn’t share in that same environment can have no real appreciation of it.

How, for example, can you know if someone is truly intelligent unless you are at least equally as clever? And if that person doesn’t seem intelligent, then is it simply because you do not have the capacity to understand how smart they really are?

Of course, the conclusion of this line of reasoning is that from time to time genius can be missed almost entirely at least until a point much later in their lives. One has only to think of El Greco, Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Franz Kafka or, more recently, Mousa Dembele, to appreciate this.

In fact, sometimes the very transcendence of genius can have an opposite effect, leading the general populace to question whether or not the person in question is very different from us at all.

It is out of this sort of context that the question is asked of Lionel Messi: ‘Can he do it on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke?’

Unfortunately for us, the answer to this question will always remain unanswered. With all due respect to Stoke, you do not cast your pearls before swine.

And yet, next season, you do. On the opening day of next season, Marcelo Bielsa will be cast before Stoke. For Marcelo Bielsa… savour the words… is the new manager of Leeds United.

He’s not the messiah…

Applying the label of ‘genius’ to Marcelo Bielsa is not without its issues.

As is the case with any peripheral figure in any sphere, Bielsa has worked his way across the full gamut of the galaxy brain meme: from ‘unknown entity’ through ‘hipster demigod’ through ‘I liked Marcelo before it was cool’ to ‘Bielsa’s not actually a good coach’.

If you’ve heard anything of the Argentine manager then you’ll have heard the cliches: ‘worshipped by Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino’, ‘threatens journalists with hand grenades’, ‘called El Loco because [insert urban myth here]’, ‘once said something about players being robots’.

The fact of the matter is that, if it seems like Marcelo Bielsa exudes beyond all the neat and tidy frameworks that football culture has set up, then it’s probably because he does.

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Jon Mackenzie

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