Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini may well have ‘categorically denied’ that he is the new Manchester City manager, but the clever money is on the Chilean being announced as Roberto Mancini’s replacement this week.
"I have an agreement with Malaga not to talk to anyone and nothing has been agreed with any other outfit,” Pellegrini told the Spanish club’s website, but there’s no smoke without fire and City fans are waiting with anticipation the arrival of a much sought after coach.
It was a year to the day since City won the Premier League title that the club dispensed with the services of Roberto Mancini after a barren season which saw the balance of power switch back to the red side of Manchester.
Now the search is on for the next man to take City forward in what the powers-that-be believe should be a ‘holistic’ fashion. Pellegrini, so we are led to believe, is the coach with the qualities to restore former glories. Here’s why.
TEN THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MANUEL LUIS PELLGRINI RIPAMONTI
1. A qualified civil engineer and a competent footballer, after retirement he moved into coaching in his native Chile and subsequently Argentina. Pellegrini moved to Europe in 2004 to take the manager's post at Villareal.
2. Under Pellegrini, the club quickly gained the nickname of the ‘yellow submarine’ due to their yellow kits but also their low-profile compared with Barcelona and Real Madrid.
3. He achieved a third place finish in 2004–05 La Liga, a Champions League's semi-final in 2005–06 and broke the big two in 2008 by securing a second place finish in La Liga in 2007–08.
4. Pellegrini's consistent record at Villarreal attracted the attention of Real Madrid and he was appointed manager in 2009. He amassed a total of 96 points at Real Madrid, a club record but lost the title to Barcelona by three points.
5. He was dismissed after one season and later lamented the Galácticos policy employed at Real which prevented him from building a balanced team. Pellegrini later took up the manager's role at Málaga in November 2010.
6. Pellegrini led Málaga to a fourth place finish in his first full season and Champions League football.
7. Málaga soon became a crisis club in 2012, but Pellegrini inspired his players to the quarter-finals of the 2012–13 Champions League, becoming the only coach to take two different teams to the Champions League last eight in their debut seasons in the competition.
8. As a footballer, he played his entire career for Club Universidad de Chile, making a total of 451 appearances, scoring one goal. He won 28 international caps for Chile, also scoring one goal.
9. In 1990, Arturo Salah was appointed as the manager of the Chilean national football team, and he hired Pellegrini as his technical assistant, and manager of the under-20 team.
10. On 11 May 2013, Pellegrini signalled his intention to leave Málaga at the end of the season – citing financial troubles and the club's ban from European football as reasons to leave.