Marcelo Bielsa’s brother, Rafael Bielsa, has revealed the Leeds United coach once joked he would cut off a finger to win the Rosario derby.
Bielsa, commonly referred to as El Loco in the broader football community, is well known for his passionate and often crazy approach to winning matches.
That has often been seen throughout his career, certainly during his time with Leeds, but was also the case during his two years in charge of Newell’s Old Boys from 1990-92.
Those two years proved to be highly successful for Bielsa and Newell’s, with them winning the 1990 Torneo Apertura and 1992 Torneo Clausura as well as reaching the final of the Copa Libertadores final.
Another success was his win over rivals Rosario Central, something he was willing to sacrifice a digit for.
“Did I believe my brother when he said he’d cut off his finger to beat Central? Totally,” he told Infobae.
“It was 3 pm on Sunday, and we didn’t know if the game would be played because it was raining.
“Marcelo was in a room at the Liceo Náutico de Funes in the dark, with the curtains drawn. It was scary. We started talking about a friend we had, the Cali.
“He had gone to the United States after doing a martingale, had a finger cut off, or a phalanx cut off to collect insurance.
“When we mentioned the subject, there was silence, and that’s when his reflection about cutting off his finger to win the classic came up.”
Part of the charm with Bielsa is his more rustic approach to modern football, with the coach refusing to fall into the modern trappings of the game.
Rather than expensive suits or designer clothing, the Leeds coach is often seen decked out in the club’s training range or a simple tracksuit.
His brother says it’s a conscious choice on Bielsa’s part.
“My brother was a guy with a fabulous look; he looked like a movie actor,” he added.
“There are men and women who have natural beauty and react disdainfully to their appearance.
“It’s as if they consider that they have not earned it and therefore, do not give it any importance.
“From disdain for physical beauty to comfort, there is a step, and there is nothing more comfortable than taking a bath, putting on joggers, a T-shirt and a pair of slippers. That became a habit for him.”