Marcelo Bielsa devotees send heart-warming message to the former Leeds United boss via Argentinian newspaper advert

A group of Leeds United fans organised and funded a full-page article in an Argentinian newspaper to give thanks to the Whites' former head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

On Saturday, the words 'Thank you Marcelo' occupied a full page in La Capital, the biggest newspaper in Rosario, home to Bielsa's former club Newell's Old Boys.

Bielsa flew home to Argentina in March having been sacked by Leeds United following a string of poor results which left the Whites' hard-fought Premier League status at risk.

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The decision to part ways with the 66-year-old, who was and remains a hero across West Yorkshire, was met by mixed reaction across the United fanbase.

Bielsa transformed a football club by achieving the Whites' long-awaited promotion to the top flight and bestowing his unique philosophy on a fanbase over his three-and-a-half year tenure.

The Argentine's revolutionary impact is commemorated by a number of murals across the city of Leeds, but one group of supporters wanted to go a step further to thank their beloved former coach.

Fans contacted a Newell's supporter, Nicolás Bloj, with the idea and funding for a significant tribute to be published in La Capital.

Former Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa on the sidelines during his last match in charge against Tottenham Hotspur in February. Pic: Robbie Jay Barratt.

With no mention of the advert's authors, or the name 'Bielsa', the message simply expresses gratitude to the former United manager with the words, 'Thank you Marcelo'.

The message is accompanied with a brief explanation of what Bielsa did for the fans.

"We stood in the sun of August 2018 mesmerized for a football that we didn't know was possible," the text reads.

"And we felt something again. You reminded us that football can be beautiful, and that a team can be greater than the sum of its parts. Side before self.

Leeds United fans show their love for Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road. Pic: Robbie Jay Barratt.

"And you gave us much more than football. You led us through a pandemic and you brought us closer while we were apart.

"You showed us that integrity and decency matter, both in the good times and in the bad.

"You embraced our fears and turned our despair into hope, and our footballers in heroes. You improved us all.

"You restored our pride, gave us joy and created precious memories that will last a lifetime.

A tribute to former Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa on Hyde Park Corner in Leeds. Pic: Gareth Copley.

"And it was beautiful, Marcelo. And it will always be so very beautiful. Thank you."

Whites fans have been reacting to the advert on social media:

@RedheadedAnimal: This is really brilliant. A fantastic idea and thanks to all who spent their time and money on it. Very grateful and hope he knows how much he is being missed.

@Johncuthbert70: Bonkers isn’t it? On the one hand, he was just a football coach. But on the other, he was so much more. I absolutely adore the man.

@PD83046578: Sometimes I despair at our fan base, then on occasions like this, I marvel at how great we are. This is a beautiful gesture to the great man and you just know he will quietly read it, cut it out and humbly place it in a draw for safe keeping. Thank you to all involved.

@Gypster1971: The only thing that helps me deal with the fact that Marcelo is no longer in Leeds, is knowing that he will know, in some way, how loved he will always be in Leeds. Gracias Marcelo - you have the unofficial freedom of our city!