By Nick Ware

30th Mar, 2021 | 10:05am

Ex-Sampdoria forward Antonio Cassano urges club to prise Bielsa away from Leeds

Ex-Italy forward Antonio Cassano has pleaded with former club Sampdoria to make a move for Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Cassano scored 10 goals in 39 Italy appearances between 2003-14 and played for some elite-level sides across a colourful playing career, including Real Madrid and both Milan clubs, but it was at Sampdoria that he was at his most prolific.

Claudio Ranieri, who managed Leicester City to a historic Premier League title in 2016, is the current Sampdoria coach but Cassano would like to see him replaced by Bielsa.

Speaking to Bobo TV on Christian Vieri’s Twitch channel [29/03/21], with quotes relayed by, Cassano called on his former club to launch an ambitious move for El Loco.

“I know the environment, I have lived here for 14 years – the perfect and ideal coach, with all respect for Ranieri, is maestro Bielsa, you can imagine what could come of it,” he said.

“This environment gives you the soul, they love you. At the second training they would make the statue. Here they love you so much that they do not forget you.

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“I would like Bielsa, it would be a dream.”

Hands off

It is no surprise to hear Cassano eulogising about Bielsa and his methods – Bielsa’s work at Leeds has made him hot property and restored his reputation that took hits in stints at Lille and Lazio, where he only lasted three days.

One thing that is rather striking, however, is to hear Cassano wax lyrical about Bielsa given the Italian international was always considered a ‘luxury’ player who didn’t always work for the team – we’re not sure he’d have fit into a Bielsa team.

But he is very keen to see him at one of his favourite clubs in Sampdoria who reside in 10th place in Serie A.

This is only Cassano professing his love for Bielsa and desire to see him there but even if there were stronger links, it’s not something that would concern us.

Sampdoria are not exactly a superpower these days and a move there would be a huge drop-down for Bielsa.

He’s happy in West Yorkshire and other clubs and fans can only sit back and admire his work at the Whites and dream of a world where he is masterminding their own teams to success.

In other Leeds United news, Whites eye England U21s sensation.