Bielsa departs Athletic Bilbao

The Athletic Bilbao board has voted unanimously not to renew the contract of boss Marcelo Bielsa for next season.

Bielsa’s departure puts to an end his two seasons at San Mames, during which he guided the Basque outfit to the Europa League final where they were defeated by Atletico Madrid.

However, a disappointing 2012-13 campaign, when Bilbao eventually finished 12th but were in the lower reaches of the table for much of the season, had fans questioning whether the 57-year-old former Argentina and Chile national team Coach was the right man to take the club forward.

“It’s normal that our supporters believe it is the best choice, but it is up to us to make a decision.

“However, we have consulted with people at all levels of the club and after analysing it in depth we have made a unanimous decision,” President Josu Urrutia told a Press conference.

“We needed to have guaranteed our top-flight safety to make any decision and from there we had to assess many issues, both in the sporting and institutional areas.

“From tomorrow we will start to consider other alternatives. We had to decide, with respect, what is in our best interests and we have opted to make a change.

“Even so, Athletic always leaves its doors open for people who have worked with and for this club.”

Urrutia went on to praise Bielsa’s work over the past two campaigns.

“He has made a significant and positive contribution these last two years, which is what we brought him here to do, and now we have to look forward. I don’t think we were wrong in not offering him a new contract, but time will tell.”

Bielsa, nicknamed El Loco, could now join the list of candidates for the Roma job , which includes Laurent Blanc, Lille Coach Rudi Garcia and Newell’s Old Boys boss Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martinez.

Meanwhile, Ernesto Valverde, who turned down the opportunity to remain with Valencia last week, is favourite to replace him.

Tags Bielsa Urrutia