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SPORTS | 12-05-2023 09:49

Marcelo Bielsa agrees deal to be next Uruguay coach

Veteran coach Marcelo Bielsa agrees US$4-million-a-year deal to take charge of Uruguayan national team until 2026 and will sign contract in the coming days.

Marcelo Bielsa has agreed a deal to become the next coach of the Uruguayan national football team and will sign a contract in the coming days.

The 67-year-old Argentine has finalised terms but has not physically signed the deal yet, Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) chief Jorge Casales confirmed on Thursday.

"The agreement is closed [but] from a distance. It has not yet been signed because he [Bielsa] is not in the country," Casales said in comments to the AFP news agency.

"Differences in the wording have been settled and now all that remains is the signing of the contract, which will take place in the next few days" in Montevideo, Casales revealed.

Bielsa’s contract, according to reports in the Uruguayan press, is worth around US$4 million a year and comes with a target: qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

This will be Bielsa’s third spell in charge of a national team, after successful stints with Argentina (1998-2004) and Chile (2007-2011). Considered to be one of the most influential coaches of the modern day, the veteran coach has managed clubs in Argentina, Mexico, Spain, France and England.

He was sacked in February 2022 after a four-year spell with Leeds United. Revered by fans in Yorkshire, he successfully returned the side to the Premier League after 16 years in the second flight but left after a string of defeats.

The legendary trainer known as ‘El Loco’ will now lead Uruguay into the South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, which is set be played in the United States, Canada and Mexico. 

His debut match will likely be in June for a round of international friendlies, three months before the World Cup qualifying campaign gets underway.

Bielsa will have a support team consisting of five advisers, two “physical trainers” and a goalkeeping coach, Casales told AFP.

Uruguay disappointed at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, exiting the competition at the group stage with Diego Alonso at the helm. 

The ex-Inter Miami and Peñarol coach took on the role in 2021, succeeding veteran manager Óscar Tabárez, who led La Celeste for more than a decade. 

Tabárez guided a generation of top Uruguayan talents to a fourth-place finish at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
 

– TIMES/AFP

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