Former Argentina midfielder Lucho Gonzalez has revealed that he has a tattoo of Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa, which was inspired on the back of Bielsa’s gesture of sportsmanship against Aston Villa last season.
Leeds’ hopes of automatic promotion to the Premier League had diminished before Aston Villa travelled to Elland Road last season, ahead of the final two games of the campaign. The Whites needed to win their last two games and hope for a significant goal swing to secure automatic promotion, but it wasn’t to be.
After a cagey affair at Elland Road for the large part, Mateusz Klich opened the scoring for Leeds when the Whites broke away down the left, before the Polish midfielder cut inside and slotted under Jed Steer.
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This caused plenty of controversy and pandemonium, though. Jonathan Kodjia had gone down injured under the challenge of Liam Cooper in the build-up to the goal, but Leeds didn’t kick the ball out of play despite Villa kicking it out earlier on due to a Leeds player being down injured.
Anwar El Ghazi was sent off as tempers flared, but straight from kick-off, Bielsa ordered his players to give Villa an equalising goal, as Albert Adomah ran through the Leeds defence to tap into an empty net.
Pontus Jansson made a half-hearted attempt to challenge Adomah, but Bielsa’s side obeyed his gesture of sportmanship, which subsequently led to Leeds winning the FIFA Fair Play award.
Speaking to TN.com, Gonzalez, who played for Argentina when they were managed by Bielsa, has revealed that he now as a tattoo of Bielsa after he was inspired by his gesture of goodwill.
He said: “I am eternally grateful to Marcelo because he was the one who gave me the chance to play for the national team, who taught me many things not only tactically but also about the values of life.
“(Such as) always wanting to compete but without losing the amateur spirit that is often lost. After what happened with Leeds United, when he ordered the team to let themselves be levelled because they had scored a goal with a player who had fallen, it was a real demonstration of what he is.
“It goes way beyond football. He could have gone up with those three points, but the match ended 1-1, they couldn’t win, and it was a whole year lost because they didn’t get the promotion.
“But at the same time, he respected the values and rules of football. That’s when I made the decision to do it; I found a cartoon picture and I did it.”
It was a crazy, fiery afternoon at Elland Road that day and it won’t be forgotten for a long time.
Plenty of pundits, fans, former players and journalists had their say on the matter at the time, but regardless of their views, Bielsa should be respected for giving Villa the goal.
At the time they needed a win to keep the pressure on Sheffield United, but their efforts weren’t rewarded in the end.