Pep Guardiola has hailed Marcelo Bielsa’s impact on world football and says it will be “incredible” for the English game to have him in the Premier League next season.
Bielsa has led Leeds to the Championship title and a return to the Premier League, bringing to an end their 16-year absence from the top flight.
The 64-year-old Argentine is seen as one of the most influential managers in the modern game and Guardiola has even described him as the “best coach in the world” in the past.
The pair are now set to go head to head when Manchester City face Leeds in the Premier League, and Pep Guardiola said: “I was not his player so it’s difficult for me to talk about him, but I know the reference and the influence for a thousand-million players who were with him.
“I am lucky to sometimes have the opportunity to talk to him and see him. He is an authentic manager because no other manager can play the way he plays. No one can imitate him and that makes him so special.
“For English football, it will be incredible for him to be in the Premier League next season and learn about him.”
Bielsa’s exceptional reputation within football contrasts with the lack of silverware he has won as a manager; the Championship title is the first he has won since 2004, and only the second outside Argentina.
But when asked about the reverence for Bielsa from his fellow coaches and players, Guardiola said: “That means more than the titles.
“Winning the titles is what helps you to have more jobs, but at the end of your life what you remember is not the titles you won. What you remember are the memories.
“I have the memories as a football player of what the manager would teach me, not the titles I won.
“We spent a bad night after the Arsenal game but the day after it’s forgotten. When you win the title it’s completely the same. What we remember are the experiences, the memories, the good moments. I think Marcelo is top of the list for this.
“The knowledge you have as a manager does not depend on results. The media and other people judge on results but the players judge the manager through the knowledge the manager has. There are no doubts about the quality of Bielsa.”