Marcelo Bielsa top candidate to become next Mexico head coach

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has named former Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa as the ideal candidate to manage the men’s national team, sources told ESPN MX’s David Feitelson.

Faitelson announced the news on Monday, later hinting at a game plan FMF has in mind after Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s contract as Mexico coach expires after the 2022 World Cup.

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“The candidate holding them [the FMF] Wake up at night it’s Marcelo Bielsa, they want Bielsa,” Feitelson said on an episode of Futbol Picante. “If it’s not Bielsa, there are other candidates.”

According to the report, other alternatives for FMF include Ignacio Ambriz, Matias Almeyda, Antonio “Turco” Mohamed, Guillermo Almada and former Mexico coaches Miguel Herrera, Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti and Juan Carlos Osorio.

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The national team is trying to find a replacement for Martino after a failed exit in the World Cup group stage. In preparation for the next edition of the tournament to be co-hosted with the United States and Canada in 2026, Mexico’s new cycle will soon begin with CONCACAF Nations League matches in March and this summer’s Gold Cup.

In Futbol Picante, Faitelson revealed other details of FMF’s game plan in a post-Martino era, which include: Hiring a new coach ahead of March’s Nations League games, reducing the personnel that the new hire would bring, making the vacant U23 coach position Automatic assistant for the senior coach, aiming to bring in El Tri legend Rafael Marquez and/or former Mexico U23 coach Jaime Lozano as assistants, requiring the new coach to move to his City of Mexico and creating an advisory board made up of former national team coaches.

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The big question is whether someone as famously eccentric as Bielsa, nicknamed “El Loco”, he would be willing to meet Mexico’s demands. The Argentine is a well-known football fanatic who has no shortage of unconventional moments in his coaching past.

During 2016, he spent two days as manager of Serie A side Lazio before resigning. A few years later, in 2019, as manager of Leeds United, Bielsa held an impromptu 70-minute press conference detailing 300+ hours of analysis work amid a ‘spygate’ scandal. According to a report by Marca last summer about his possible demands to take over the Peru men’s national team, Bielsa also included a desire to control the U20 team in order to build the philosophy of the game.

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Bielsa has been out of a job since being sacked by Leeds United early last year.

The 67-year-old first joined from the English club in 2018, eventually reviving them and winning promotion from the Championship to the Premier League in 2020. A difficult second season in the Premier League saw Bielsa out until February 2022.

Mexico are seeking a rebuild after their recent World Cup group stage exit, ending a run of seven tournaments since 1994 where they had previously advanced to every knockout round.

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