Roberto Ayala praises Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa


Currently part of the Argentina national team, Roberto Ayala was coached by Marcelo Bielsa and was part of the team which won gold at the 2004 Olympics.

Roberto Ayala only had good things to say about the current Leeds United coach. Ayala was an integral part of the Argentina national team for years and was a pillar under Bielsa. Speaking in an interview with Infobae, here’s what Ayala had to say:

“In my case, personally speaking, he was the coach who made me perform or get to a very high level in every game.

“He knew a little bit about each one of us, how we came, from where we came, how we were. He spoke like a coach of the neighborhood, as if we were talking to the coach we had in the neighborhood. That made him find answers in all of his players.”

Ayala also commented on Bielsa’s decision to step down as coach of Argentina following the team’s gold medal win in the 2004 Olympics in Athens:

“It was a decision that at the time I didn’t share but I respected. Without talking, we never knew the reasons. But we felt as if something big had just left the AFA. An important man who could make the structure of our national team grow.”

Marcelo Bielsa has won the Championship with Leeds and will be coaching in the Premier League next season.


  1. Off topic: Argentina bankrupt for a ninth time.
    Probably a world record.

    World champions at something you should never want.

  2. As of now most of the positions are well coverd, only issue is in the centre back position.
    But that is also not too worying because
    Scaloni is excellent in player selection and he is bringing the best out of each players
    Otamendi is the only one question mark but Scaloni prefrers Experienced players at CB, that may be the reason he is sticking with Otamendi.
    Argentina defence is now have a mixture of good experience and youth, especially the likes of Pezella, kanneman, quarta, senesi, romero, foyth, tagliafico and so on
    The future Albiceleste defence may look like this

    German Pezella
    Walter kanneman
    Lucas martinez quarta
    Leo balerdi /nehuan perez/cristian Romero
    Nico tagliafico
    Marcus Acuna
    Juan foyth
    Gonzalo Montiel

  3. Ayala’s injury in the warmup to Bielsa’s 1st WC game cost us dearly. We were almost invincible during WC qualification. Without him at the back we became vulnerable.

    • Ayala cost us 2007 Copa final, 99 Copa quarter vs Brazil (missed penalty) and in 98 Bergkamp made him look like a foul before that great goal, and in 2004 Copa final he was really bad too. For me Ayala the most overrated argentine centre back maybe ever. He is like Sergio Ramos, great leader and goalscorer, but vulnerable in defending.

      • That is a different perspective 😉
        His partnership with Pellegrino made Valencia a great team (with Aimar, Kily and Piojo Lopez).

        • Pellegrino was called in 3 times…unbelieveble, key player in a top team,3 spanish championships (one with Barca), 2 UCL finals, EL-winner…with Velez Libertadores winner, Intercontinental winner against Milan, 4 times argentine champions, he was even a key player under Van Gaal in 98-99 in Barcelona, when Velez loaned him there. What a waste. Why? In Bielsa system Samuel-Pellegrino-Ayala trio could work, Sensini was old, Pochettino with all my respect not on this level, Placente rather a left-back.

          • Ayala definitely got caught in center stage those critical loss moments for Argentina. Having said you cant take out the consistency that Ayala bought in for 10+years.
            This is like someone saying in 2030 that Messi screwed Argentina by missing a penalty in Copa finals & missing a possible chance in WC2014 final.

          • Was Bielsa ever asked why he did not select Pellegrino? He tends to be stubborn and only played Crespo and Batistuta together once for a few minutes (which promptly led to a goal).

      • As true as it gets. There was a certain Pellegrino, who was never picked during bielsa era. Ayala’s legacies don’t end there. He made Owen look like Maradona at France 98. Way too operated and over played by Argentina. Not as half as good as Damuel.

      • I personally rate Walter Samuel more than Ayala, can’t point to any significant mistakes by Samuel whereas Ayala had indeed cost us on a number of occasions, most notable for me vs Holland in 1998.

        • I still dont understand why Pekerman miss him against Brazil in 2005 Confederations final. Against Mexico he was suspended, but could play in the final again, Pekerman rather played with Heinze and Coloccini, we saw the result, just like Maradona in 2010WC vs Germany, i dont know was he injured or not. Missed so much.

  4. How good is this guy Cristian Romero? He was having a steller performance against Verona, before being send off. Actually Genona defence is too shaky but he is something special there.
    Even Italian media is prising him. He has good speed, anticipation and heading ability.
    I have constently watched other young argentinian centrebacks likes of Licha Martinez, Senesi, foyth, balerdi, nehuan and even some games of nehuan Paz, Magallan, Medina but i think this guy is a level above them all.
    He is producing constant good performance in a top a 5 league for 2 consicutive years, that too against like of quality forwards.
    He and quarta, i think will be a perfect pairing accompanied by pezzella, senisi/kanneman for the future.
    What is your opinion guys?

    • The game Between genoa and hellas verona
      is joke, the game has no significance Compactness,, it can be seen the way the second goal is happen, itaian League always known for conservative, Compact defence oriented style of Play, where is such style of
      play, romero is still not good in defence, he is still don’t get that amount class experienc, romero header is not bad he done it before, but he is not yet in top class experience with defence, along side of ezella quarta, senesi, nehuan not bad option

      • Iam not a Romero fan, but he is special.Nehuan is good but Senesi is presently behind Romero, if you look at Senes’s style of play you can see. He always get out of the defensive line make a blunder, jst like foyth he will have a pretty good game with one serious mistke.
        But both Senesi and Romero are young and have lot of time to improve.
        Hope both of them will be better in the comming seasons

        • If u look at current levels this is how the young defenders stack up in descending order
          Right CB – martinez quarta, ,Romero, foyth,Perez
          Left CB – lisandro, senesi, balerdi, Medina.
          Apart from Martinez quarta who is already there at NT level, my guess is foyth, Perez, balerdi will be our key CBs for future.
          Lisandro may move to a DM position.
          Romero is definitely good . Great tackler ,positioning & aerially solid. He dose not have ball playing skills ..which is not an issue in serie a. Decent pace unlike fazio, pezzella. Issue currently is he collects lot of cards & he will always need a ball playing CB partner in a possession based system.

    • Cristian Romero is absolutely fantastic, he and Licha Martinez must be inducted into the senior team ASAP. I would still prefer Pezzella – Quarta as the CB pair but the aforementioned Romero and Licha are clear backups .
      Romero has matured quite abit from last year, especially in his reading of the game, where he is relying less on tackles and much more so on interceptions. He’s strong in the air and very good with the ball at his feet and by playing a huge amount of football (most minutes of any player in Genoa I believe) in a relegation threatened team in a strong league at just barely 22 yrs tells me that this kid is the real deal, even more so than talents like Balerdi, Nehuen Perez and Senesi, hence why he is named in the whoscored team of the season U21.

      • Yh right my first choice cb
        Will be pezzella and martinez Quarta.
        I absolutely agree with elpipita statements about Cristian Romero.. yh definitely lich martinez should be in the squad a long with emi Buendia….
        Honestly scaloni should move on from
        Likes otamendi, kun aguaro and should
        Never ever consider likes di maria, icardi Rojo Sergio Romero, Pereyra and funes mori .

      • Christian Romero is very good in his defensive ability but i feel still he needs fine tune his ability and needs to give solid view to coach why he is right selective option , he needs to play some cometitive tournament for bigger club and cement his place and gives solid option and view for that club. Otherwise it could be 50- 50 on risk factor, scaloni should lets him become little more solid or experienced outside of National team. There is some Player need to give experience within national team, there is some Player needs to gain experience outside of national team, i think Romero should monitor and give sometime to gain his place for big team otherwise his potential could be slow down

        • Romero statistics on deciplinery 2018-19
          12 yellow 2 red card, and in 2019-20,
          14 yellow 2 red card,
          Romero needs little fine tune

    • If you are taking about Whoscored then only Papu is in that team and not De Paul. Cristian Romero is in the u21 team of the season, while Dybala (along with Papu) was in Opta’s team of the season.
      To be honest though Whoscored – useful as it may be – can be very misleading and shouldn’t be relied on completely nor should it serve as a substitute for watching actual football, which many fans nowadays tend to do, I mean just look at the their team of the season, where Messi and Werner serve as right and left midfielders in a 4-4-2 system. A team like that is horribly imbalanced and would get murdered in reality.

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