Being managed by both Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola in your career as a professional footballer, regardless of age, is the dream of quite a number of players around the world.
For Aymeric Laporte, it’s already happened at the age of 24, and his ties to the Spaniard aren’t about to end anytime soon, as the manager has two years left on his current deal with Manchester City (while the centre-back has six).
Fresh off lifting both the Premier League and the FA Cup in a matter of weeks, the French defender sat down with France Football, who asked him to look back on his still burgeoning career, which included reminiscing about his time under Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao.
Asked to compare the Leeds United manager to his current one at the Etihad, he said: “They’re both fans of football, but Bielsa worked so much, was so obssessed by the game that he forgot to speak to players.
“His head was already in the next game when you were maybe waiting for an explanation, encouragement, a bit of help, a few words. He was enclosed in his obsession. Guardiola is a bit closer to his players. The human relationship has more importance for him.”
This isn’t the first time players have spoken about Bielsa’s behaviour as a manager, describing his obsessive work ethic, which he felt forced to display to journalists during a surprise press conference with Leeds this season following the notorious Spygate.
The Argentine managed to rekindle the Championship side this season, taking them to a playoff spot, even if they ultimately lost to Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the semi-finals.