Bielsa on the current state of football: 'It's not five minutes of action...'

The experienced coach left harsh criticisms of the current state of the sport.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 03:14, 6 Jul 2024

"More and more people are watching football, but it is becoming less attractive. What made this game the number one sport in the world is no longer being prioritized."

These are the words of Marcelo Bielsa, who, during a press conference previewing the Copa América quarter-final match between Uruguay and Brazil (in the early hours of the morning, at 2 AM), questioned the loss of identity in football.

"What has happened to football, which is essentially a popular property? The poor have little access to happiness because they don't have the money to buy it. Football, being free, is of popular origin. Football is not five minutes of action: it is much more than that, it is cultural expression, a form of identification," he asserted. Bielsa's comments reflect a deep concern about the commercialization of the sport and the erosion of its grassroots essence.

The 68-year-old coach also criticized the ability of South American clubs to retain talent, as players are leaving for Europe at increasingly younger ages. This talent drain, according to Bielsa, undermines the development of local leagues and deprives fans of watching homegrown talents mature and flourish. "Football is more watched, but it does not protect its viewers, and this favors the business. As time goes by and players who deserve to be seen are leaving, making the game less enjoyable, this 'artificial' increase in viewers will suffer a cut," Bielsa concluded. His critique highlights the imbalance between commercial interests and the sport's cultural significance.

Regarding the match against Brazil, Bielsa downplayed the absence of Vinicius Junior, noting that Brazil still possesses a formidable squad. He believes there are things to correct in his own team to enhance their performance. "The corrections are more verbal or through images than in training," he highlighted. This approach emphasizes strategic adjustments and mental preparedness over physical drills, reflecting Bielsa's tactical acumen.

Bielsa also touched on the broader implications of these changes in football. He lamented that the essence of the game, which lies in its accessibility and emotional connection with fans, is being overshadowed by financial interests. The shift towards a business-oriented model risks alienating the very people who have cherished and supported the sport through generations.

His reflections serve as a poignant reminder of the need to preserve football's cultural heritage. As Uruguay prepares to face Brazil, Bielsa's focus remains on fostering a cohesive team spirit and implementing strategic insights. His leadership and philosophical approach continue to inspire his players, driving them to uphold the values of the game even amidst evolving commercial pressures.

Bielsa's remarks resonate with many who fear that football's rapid commercialization could diminish its soul. His call for a balance between maintaining the sport's integrity and embracing modern advancements is a critical dialogue that stakeholders must consider. As the Copa América progresses, Bielsa's influence on his team and the broader football community underscores the enduring significance of values and identity in sport.

Updated: 03:14, 6 Jul 2024