Gaetano Berardi has spoken to TuttoMercatoWeb following his Leeds exit. The one-time Switzerland star explains why it is “very difficult” to work under Marcelo Bielsa at times. As well as discussing Bielsa, Berardi also compares Massimo Cellino and current Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani.
Berardi, who turns 33 in August, has waved goodbye to Leeds afte seven years at Elland Road. Brought to the club by Massimo Cellino in the summer of 2014, the ex-Sampdoria defender played 157 times in all competitions for the Whites. But only managed two outings in 2020-21.
That is because he was overcoming an anterior cruciate ligament injury picked up towards the end of 2019-20. Now, Berardi is without a club and spoke honestly about working under Leeds boss Bielsa – who is still yet to be confirmed as signing a new contract. Here is what he had to say.
“He has everything to be a great coach, the character he is and what he created over the years. He has shown it in the three years at Leeds, it is very difficult to work for him. On a physical level you have to be perfect,” Berardi told Italian site TMW.
“Nutrition, weight, you have to follow the programs given on summer days off to the letter. During the lockdown there was a specific program to follow. You must be the perfect athlete, before being a footballer.”
Leeds have stabilised as a club under the guidance of owner Andrea Radrizzani. The Italian has formed a three-man team around him that includes Angus Kinnear, Victor Orta and Bielsa. The trio are crucial, along with Radrizzani’s cheque book, in getting Leeds back into the big time.
Bielsa difficult: Berardi on Leeds owner Radrizzani and Cellino…
Of course, it was not always as plain sailing before Radrizzani came to Leeds. Cellino was more of a shipwreck lost at sea, if Radrizzani is plain sailing – Berardi being a rare positive of Cellino’s time in charge. Berardi compared the two, and stated there are many differences.
Berardi says that he got on with both, but that Cellino was more hands on: “Unlike Radrizzani, that’s for sure. Cellino is the president directly, he took care of many things, even at the team level. He has his character, everyone knows it, but I got along well with him. He understands football.
Even after his farewell they understood the work he did, saving Leeds and giving the base and then leaving again. He was present daily, at the pitch. It is also the main difference with Radrizzani. He has a lot of people who work for him, he has his own businesses, he delegates a lot.
“But he knows how to manage the club in a positive way, even with the boys. He has a direct relationship with the team, he feels the players for everything. Then there are moments difficult and then he takes care of it, asks if he can do something. There was a positive relationship.”