Hernan Crespo responds to Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa's public apology

Hernan Crespo has accepted an apology from Marcelo Bielsa over an old fall-out between the pair and insisted he held no resentment over what he called 'a tremendous disappointment to be deceived by a great leader by you.'

Friday, 24th August 2018, 10:24 am
Updated Friday, 24th August 2018, 10:35 am
Hernan Crespo accepts Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa's apology.

The former Argentina striker published a statement on Twitter this morning after Bielsa said sorry publicly to him yesterday over an incident which took place when Bielsa was manager of the Argentinian national side.

Speaking in his press conference ahead of Leeds United’s game at Norwich City tomorrow, Bielsa recalled how he had lied to a young Crespo, falsely talking up his maturity to boost his confidence and prepare him for the rigours of international football.

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Hernan Crespo accepts Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa's apology.

Several years later, Bielsa contradicted himself by telling a more experienced Crespo that he had grown up as a footballer, upsetting the striker in the process. Bielsa said it was “the kind of mistake you don’t forgive yourself for” and described it as “a lesson forever.”

“My goal is to publicly apologise to Crespo because I know I didn’t tell him the truth,” Bielsa said. “I’m right not to forgive myself.

“If you lie to your son now, in order that he gets something from artificial strength, you will resolve the problem for only that day. Instead of strengthening him you will have weakened him.

In his response today, Crespo left no doubt that the incident had upset him, saying he had given a “crude response” the last time the pair discussed it.

But the former Lazio and Chelsea striker, who played for Argentina throughout Bielsa’s six-year reign from 1998 to 2004, said he no longer held a grudge and regretted not resolving the fall-out sooner.

“Your apologies made me rewind through 14 years of pain I still have inside,” Crespo wrote. “That feeling made me write this letter.

“When you speak you run the risk that anger will push you to say an unfair word. Thinking, writing gives you time to reflect, even though it does not change what I felt. It was a tremendous disappointment to feel deceived by a leader like you. The sadness was as great as the esteem I had for you.

“Like you, I never opened the doors of the changing rooms to the media or to the people. Today I do it publicly because of the words that came from Leeds. Of course, Marcelo, I accept your apology. I forgave you a long time ago, if I should forgive you. I'm sorry we did not do it personally, not even by phone. But it's never too late.

“We both know that you had already realised ‘the grave error’ long before this statement. It was clear the last time we discussed the subject. You remember how you talked to me and what my crude response was.

“The most important thing is the lesson from the situation we now remember. As you told us so many times, we must deal with the truth without deceiving the other. At the end of the road whoever does this is not only the best leader but also the most mature one.

“It made me happy to hear this Marcelo. I send you a hug.”