Marcelo Bielsa shows off drastic weight loss amid potential Athletic Bilbao return

Bielsa managing Leeds.

Marcelo Bielsa could be set to return to management following his departure from Leeds United in February this year.

The Argentine was dismissed from his post in west Yorkshire earlier in the year following a run of results that left them threatened by relegation, but has remained an icon and hero among fans.

Bielsa was the man to rebuild Leeds following seasons of turmoil and sent them back to the Premier League after a 17-year absence, playing an attractive brand of football.

His impact on the club went beyond the results, with Leeds now intent on maintaining their identity of pressing football through new manager Jesse Marsch, which was established through the work of Bielsa during his near four year stay.

While it was ultimately the correct decision to move as Leeds did just about retain their Premier League status under Marsch, fans of the historic club still mourn the loss of the man that brought them back to the promised land.

It must hurt even more, then, to learn that Bielsa is close to making his return to the touchline with former employers Athletic Club – known more commonly as Athletic Bilbao on British ears – with presidential elections underway at the club.

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Candidate Inaki Arechabaleta has promised to appoint Bielsa as head coach once again should he win the election and become club president.

As a part of this process, prospective managers had to make public presentations to the board. However, what became strikingly apparent in Bielsa’s presentation was his appearance change.

The Argentine appears to have lost a significant amount of weight since his dismissal from Leeds, which was noticed by fans online. You can see in an image from the presentation below.

It feels strange not seeing Bielsa decked out in his Leeds tracksuit while carefully watching on from his makeshift seat on the touchline.

His weight loss is immediately noticeable, however, with Bielsa looking significantly slimmer all over, not least in the face. Without that tracksuit and the glasses, you would be forgiven for not recognising him at first.

Of course, weight loss is not always a positive thing, nor is it actually relevant when discussing Bielsa and his impeccable footballing brain. Some fans highlighted their continued affection towards him by sharing messages online, wishing him well.

In the presentation, Bielsa claimed he has analysed 90 Athletic Club games from over the last season, including both first team and academy matches. Never change, Marcelo.

He also discussed his achievements with Leeds and how exactly he got them back into the top flight playing the way they did, going into detail about their impressive physicality, but also the inevitable burnout which led to his dismissal.

Bielsa managed Athletic Club from 2011 to 2013, taking them to the 2012 Europa League final and beating Manchester United in the process. Should he return to the club, there will be plenty of Leeds fans keeping an eye on the Basque side, and hoping for positive results for their hero and former boss.

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