It appears logical to presuppose that this is Marcelo Bielsa…
Chile ‘s 4-0 win over Bolivia in their World Cup qualifier on Wednesday has left them on a brink for only their second World Cup appearance since 1982.
Their progress through the tortuous South American qualifying campaign — which has included a memorable home win over Argentina — has been almost exclusively credited to the work one of the world’s most reclusive and enigmatic coaches Marcelo Bielsa.
While the Chilean media were in a frenzy after Wednesday’s win, Bielsa walked into the media conference with his usual tortured, glazed expression and launched into a style of rhetoric which was a world apart from the usual clichés.
Here are a few highlights:
— “Football is so full of the unexpected that it is never convenient to pre-announce something which has not yet happened.”
— “The reality is that numerically we have not obtained a sufficient number of points to decide our qualification. So, what appears to be just a posture on our part, is simply a case of coming to terms with reality and a reading of what football historically offers in terms of unexpected situations, something which makes one more prudent.”
–“This is a cycle where things have resulted favourably and, around the triumphs, we can consolidate aspects related to collective maturity. It seems that in this sense, the team is progressing.”
–“Happiness related to football is another component, but Chile has other things to feel satisfied about, such as the evolution of the intellectual coefficient of the population in the last 30 years… This, indeed, is a very strong indicator.”
–“(Coaching Chile ) appeared to me to be a valid option and I believe that I have not made a mistake. Not because things are better or worse than the results, but because the conditions which I proposed, which I imagined, and the football reality which I revised before coming there have coincided with the projection which I made at that moment.”
Known as Loco (The Madman), the mysterious and obsessive Bielsa was born into a family of well-known lawyers and his brother Rafael is a former Argentine Foreign Minister.
He refuses to give exclusive interviews — something which infuriated Argentine television networks during six years as coach of his own country’s national team — and never talks about the referee.
He broke the latter taboo only once, after he had been dismissed from the touchline for arguing with the match official.
Bielsa said: “I never, ever comment on the referee but I have to say that on this occasion he was absolutely right to send me off.”
PHOTO: Chile’s Marcelo Bielsa looks at players before their friendly against Belgium in Chiba, east of Tokyo May 29, 2009. REUTERS/Toru Hanai