New Bilbao president to appoint Bielsa as coach

08 July 2011 04:00

Former Athletic Bilbao player and captain Josu Urrutia has been elected as the club's new president, the Basque side announced on Friday, clearing the way for Argentine Marcelo Bielsa to take over as coach.

Urrutia won 54.36 percent of the votes in Tuesday's election, to oust the incumbent president Fernando Garcia Macua, who polled percent.

Urrutia had announced days earlier that an agreement had been reached with Bielsa that would see the latter handed the reins of the first team in the event of an election victory.

Bielsa, 55, is expected to fly to Spain on Sunday and will start his new job on Monday.

He will replace Joaquin Caparros, who was Macua's choice to remain in charge.

The new president described Bielsa as "one of the top seven or eight coaches in the world" and insisted that "his virtues and Athletic's needs fit together like a hand in a glove".

Bielsa has been without a job since stepping down as Chile coach in February, although he did reject advances from Italian giants Inter Milan earlier in the summer.

His Chile side earned plaudits for their attractive playing style en route to the last 16 at last year's World Cup in South Africa.

It will be his second spell as a coach in Spain, after a brief spell with Espanyol in 1998.

Athletic finished sixth in La Liga last season, qualifying for the Europa League in the process.

Source: AFP