Football: Five facts about Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini (right) embraces Pep Guardiola before a Champions League match in Manchester on Nov 25, 2014
Manuel Pellegrini (right) embraces Pep Guardiola before a Champions League match in Manchester on Nov 25, 2014PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Five facts on Manuel Pellegrini who will leave Manchester City at the end of the season to be replaced by Pep Guardiola.

1) Respect for Guardiola: Despite being moved aside for the trophy-laden Catalan, Pellegrini has previously expressed his admiration for Guardiola and other unassuming successful coaches like Spanish World Cup winner Vicente del Bosque and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger.

"There are many coaches whom I identify with like Guardiola, Del Bosque or Wenger. More than admire them, I have a similar way of seeing our profession," he told Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

2) Mourinho clash: In contrast, Pellegrini consistently clashed with bombastic former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho both during their time in Spain and England.

Mourinho succeeded Pellegrini at Madrid after the latter had been sacked and joined Malaga and provoked the feud in 2011 saying: "The same thing won't happen with me as happened with Pellegrini because if Real Madrid sack me, I will not go to Malaga, I will go to a big club in England or Italy."

 

Pellegrini beat Chelsea's Mourinho to the Premier League title in the 2013/14. Mourinho got his revenge with the title a year later, but was sacked in December after an awful start to the season.

"When he wins, Mourinho wants to take all the credit. I don't do that. When I won the Premier League, I didn't open my mouth," said Pellegrini.

3) Misfit in Madrid: Pellegrini was sacked after just one season at the Santiago Bernabeu despite leading Real to a then club record points tally of 96 as Guardiola's Barcelona pipped them to the title.

An embarrassing 4-0 defeat to third tier Alcorcon in the Copa del Rey and elimination by Lyon in the last-16 of the Champions League sealed his fate after president Florentino Perez had spent over 250 million euros in pre-season on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Kaka and Xabi Alonso.

Afterwards, the Chilean was critical of Madrid's "Galactico" philosophy of buying stars.

"It's no good having an orchestra with the 10 best guitarists if I don't have a pianist," he told El Mercurio.

"Real Madrid have the best guitarists, but if I ask them to play the piano they won't be able to do it so well."

4) Mixed Champions League record: Pellegrini was hired by City due to his perceived speciality in the Champions League. In their first season in the competition, he guided Villarreal to the semi-finals in 2005/06 and Malaga were only denied the same feat by two controversial stoppage time goals by Borussia Dortmund in 2012/13.

However, with a bigger budget, Pellegrini has failed to deliver the same success. On top of his last-16 exit with Madrid, City went out at the same stage in the last two seasons to Barcelona.

5) New club before Chile: Pellegrini has never hidden his desire to manage his country at the World Cup.

However, the announcement of his departure from City comes just days after the Copa America champions hired Juan Antonio Pizzi to replace Jorge Sampaoli, appearing to rule out the possibility of leading his country at the 2018 World Cup.

"In the future, I would love to manage Chile at a World Cup as part of my career, but, for now, I want to continue in Europe as many years as I can," he said last year.