Manuel Pellegrini

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Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini(2).jpg
Pellegrini in 2013
Personal information
Full name Manuel Luis Pellegrini Ripamonti
Date of birth (1953-09-16) 16 September 1953 (age 61)
Place of birth Santiago, Chile
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Manchester City (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1986 Universidad de Chile 451 (7)
National team
1973–1986 Chile 28 (1)
Teams managed
1988–1989 Universidad de Chile
1990 Palestino
1991–1992 Palestino
1992–1993 O'Higgins
1993–1995 Universidad Católica
1998 Palestino
1998–2001 LDU Quito
2001–2002 San Lorenzo
2002–2003 River Plate
2004–2009 Villarreal
2009–2010 Real Madrid
2010–2013 Málaga
2013– Manchester City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Pellegrini and the second or maternal family name is Ripamonti.

Manuel Luis Pellegrini Ripamonti (born 16 September 1953) is a Chilean football manager and former footballer, who is the manager of Premier League side Manchester City. As a coach, he has managed teams mostly in Spain, Argentina, Chile and Ecuador. A qualified civil engineer and a competent footballer, after retiring as a player, he moved into coaching in his native Chile and subsequently Argentina. Pellegrini has won national leagues in four different countries.

Pellegrini moved to Europe in 2004 to take the manager's post at Villarreal, a club near Valencia. Under Pellegrini, Villarreal achieved a third place finish in La Liga in 2004–05, a Champions League semi-final in 2005–06 and broke the big two in 2008 by securing a second place finish in La Liga in 2007–08.

Pellegrini's consistent record at Villarreal attracted the attention of Real Madrid and he was appointed manager there in 2009. He amassed a total of 96 points, a club record until it was surpassed by José Mourinho in the 2011–12 season, but lost the title to Barcelona by three points. He was dismissed after one season and later lamented the Galácticos policy employed at Real which prevented him from building a balanced team.

Pellegrini took up the manager's role at Málaga in November 2010. He led Málaga to a fourth place finish in his first full season and to qualification for the UEFA Champions League. He made it to the quarter-finals of the 2012–13 Champions League, becoming the only coach to take two different teams to the Champions League quarter-finals in their debut seasons in the competition. On 22 May 2013, Pellegrini confirmed he would leave Málaga at the end of the 2012–13 La Liga season. On 14 June 2013, he was appointed manager of Manchester City on a three year contract.[2] On 11 May 2014, with Manchester City, he became the first manager from outside Europe to manage a team to the English Premier League title.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Santiago, Chile to Italian parents, Pellegrini attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago,[3] where he graduated in civil engineering in 1979. He started his formative years as a footballer in the youth divisions of Audax Italiano, then he went to the Club Universidad de Chile and he went on to play professionally for them as a defender. He spent his entire playing career with the club, making a total of 451 appearances and scoring seven goals in the Chilean Division 1, including one goal against Colo-Colo, Universidad de Chile’s biggest rival.

In the 1970s, Club Universidad de Chile was going through one of the most unsuccessful periods in its history, not having won the national Copa Chile championship since 1969. That changed in 1979, when the club managed win the championship and secure a place in the South American club championship, the Copa Libertadores, in 1980, defeating its arch-rival Colo-Colo in both tournaments.

Pellegrini decided to retire as player in 1984 after a match against Cobreandino. He explained: "We were playing la Copa Chile against Cobreandino. Our goalkeeper rejected the shot of a rival player, I jumped to clear the ball, and from behind me came a 17 years old boy that jump a half meter above me, and make the goal. That day I decided I couldn't keep going". That boy was Iván Zamorano, who was the Pichichi of La Liga in 1995 with Real Madrid. Pellegrini confessed: "If I had known where that boy would get, I would not have retired. I would keep playing two more years." [4]

Pellegrini wanted to help reconstruction projects in the Chilean central zone after the 1985 Algarrobo earthquake knowing that his experience as a qualified civil engineer would be ideal.[5][6]

Managerial career[edit]

Early years[edit]

As a coach Pellegrini has primarily managed teams in Spain, Argentina and Chile.[7] He started off coaching Universidad de Chile during the 1988 season, but left the team at the middle of the season to take football coaching courses in Europe. The team's poor performance that year led to a relegation to the Division 2, though in 1989 they won the Division 2 championship, bringing them back to Division 1, where they have remained ever since.

In 1990, Arturo Salah was appointed as the manager of the Chilean national team, and he hired Pellegrini as his assistant coach and manager of the under-20 team. In 1990, Pellegrini was appointed manager of Palestino, where he stayed until 1992. Then, in 1992, he took on managership of O'Higgins for a year, before moving in 1993 to become coach of Universidad Católica, one of the most popular clubs in Chile. There he managed well-known players such as Alberto Acosta and Nestor Gorosito and took the team to victory in the prestigious Copa Interamericana in 1994 and the 1995 Copa Chile, though he could only finish as runner-up in 1994 and 1995 of the local Campeonato Nacional championship, a competition organized by the Chilean Football Federation in parallel to Division 1.

In 1998, Pellegrini had a brief spell back at Palestino before he was bought by Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito. He managed the Ecuadorian club to a national title in 1999, starting a tradition of coaches that followed him to the Ecuadorian team. Pellegrini also gave the club a good run in the Copa Libertadores, catching the eye of other South American managers.

San Lorenzo[edit]

Pellegrini joined Argentine club San Lorenzo de Almagro in 2001, one of only two non-Argentineans to manage the Buenos Aires team, and led them to their first international title in the Copa Mercosur. He was recommended to the club by San Lorenzo icon Nestor Gorosito, who had worked with Pellegrini at Universidad Católica. The recommendation paid dividends as Pellegrini led San Lorenzo to victory in the Argentine Clausura and the Copa Mercosur, South America's UEFA Cup equivalent.

River Plate[edit]

Pellegrini managed Argentine club River Plate from 2002 to 2003 and secured the Clausura championships in 2003, in which he utilised the talents of Andrés D'Alessandro, one of many Argentine playmakers to have been likened to Diego Maradona. His sale to Vfl Wolfsburg, however, proved a tough hurdle for Pellegrini to overcome and his side struggled to defend their status as Argentine champions in the 2003 Torneo Apertura. He resigned his post at the end of the campaign.


Pellegrini took over the managerial duties of Villarreal CF on 1 July 2004. In his first season in charge of the club, Villarreal qualified for the UEFA Champions League after finishing third in the league and reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup. The following season, Villarreal reached the semi-finals of the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League, losing to Arsenal. Villarreal eventually finished seventh in La Liga that year. The following two seasons featured Villarreal finishing in both fifth and second place in the league, the latter being historic for the club. Pellegrini led El Submarino Amarillo to the Champions League knockout stages, where they drew Arsenal once again in the quarter-finals, losing out 4–1 on aggregate.

At the end of 2007, Villarreal offered Pellegrini an extended contract until 2011. On 31 May 2009, after the last La Liga match for Villarreal, Pellegrini said: "Nobody from Real Madrid has spoken with me. I have a contract with Villarreal, we finished the league today, and tomorrow we go on holiday," after being questioned by the press on rumours that he was in talks with Madrid.[8] On 1 June 2009, a Villarreal executive announced that Pellegrini would no longer continue at the club. The Valencian club executive specified that if Real Madrid wanted to sign the Chilean coach, they would have to pay Pellegrini's €4 million termination clause.[9]

Real Madrid[edit]

Manuel Pellegrini with Real Madrid in October 2009.

On 2 June 2009, Pellegrini was appointed as manager of Real Madrid, signing a two–year contract. On being presented at the presidential balcony of the Santiago Bernabéu, he said, "Hard to say in a few words the excitement and pride that one feels for having been chosen to direct perhaps the most important club in the world."[10] He joined Real Madrid as the first manager in Florentino Pérez's second stint as Real Madrid president. After a few days, Pellegrini bought Kaká from Milan, saying, "If we want to win the Champions League and be the best team in the world, we need the best players in the world."[11] They later bought Cristiano Ronaldo for £80 million from Manchester United, Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyonnais for £30 million, and Xabi Alonso for £30 million from Liverpool.

In July 2009, Pellegrini competed in his first cup for the club as manager, the Peace Cup 2009. The club finished as semi-finalist in the tournament, being eliminated by Juventus in a 2–1 loss. On 29 August, Real Madrid won 3–2 at Deportivo La Coruña in Pellegrini's first La Liga game as manager.

On 27 October 2009 the club was eliminated from the Copa del Rey during the Round of 16 by the modest Segunda División B club Alcorcón with a 4–1 aggregate loss. The Spanish daily Marca named this match "Alcorconazo" and went on to make many teasing references to Pellegrini. On 10 March 2010, Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League by Lyon in the round-of-16 with a 2–1 aggregate loss. Florentino Pérez issued an ultimatum to Pellegrini after this defeat, warning him that he would be fired if he did not win the La Liga title.[12] Pellegrini's Real Madrid side achieved 96 points in La Liga, the highest points total that Real Madrid had ever achieved in a La Liga season up to that point (since surpassed by the 2011-12 team under José Mourinho), but still came in runner-up, finishing behind their arch rival Barcelona, who had 99 points. On 26 May 2010, Real Madrid's directors announced that Pellegrini was being sacked, to be replaced by Mourinho, but that they would have kept him if the opportunity to hire Mourinho had not arisen.[13]

Pellegrini later reflected on his frustration at not being able to build a team at Real Madrid due to the club's controversial Galácticos policy: "I didn't have a voice or a vote at Madrid. They sign the best players, but not the best players needed in a certain position. It's no good having an orchestra with the 10 best guitarists if I don't have a pianist. 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. He [Pérez] sold players that I considered important. We didn't win the Champions League because we didn't have a squad properly structured to be able to win it."[14][15]


Manuel Pellegrini with Málaga CF in 2012.

After being released by Real Madrid, on 22 July 2010, Pellegrini received an offer from the Mexico national team; Javier Aguirre resigned following the 2010 World Cup loss in round 16 in South Africa.[16] Pellegrini, however, eventually signed for La Liga side Málaga in a three-year deal, their coach Jesualdo Ferreira having been fired. On 5 November, he was officially presented as the new coach of Málaga during a press conference with the club's owner Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani,[17] and watched from the stands as they lost 1–0 to Espanyol the following day.[18] On 11 November 2010, he made his Málaga debut as coach against Hércules in a 3-2 victory in the Copa del Rey at La Rosaleda stadium, which led them to the round of 16 after the teams had drawn 0–0 in the first leg at Estadio José Rico Pérez two weeks previously,[19] and continued his winning start as new coach of Malaga by beating Levante 1–0 in his league debut four days later.[20] That season Malaga only managed to finish 11th.

After his first full season with the team, he led them to fourth in the league with a club record-breaking 58 points. With his guidance, Málaga entered the Champions League qualifiers for the first time in the club's history. On 10 August 2012, Pellegrini publicly stated his desire to stay at the club despite its ongoing financial problems and the loss of key players such as Santi Cazorla and José Salomón Rondón.[21]

Málaga progressed to latter stages of the Champions League, where they were drawn against Milan, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Anderlecht. The club progressed to the knockout stage unbeaten, winning three and drawing three in the group stage. Málaga then beat FC Porto 2–1 on aggregate in the round-of-16. They were eliminated by Borussia Dortmund after conceding two stoppage time goals which cost them a semi-final place.[22]

On 22 May 2013, at Málaga's end-of-season award ceremony, Pellegrini announced he would leave the club at the end of the season with Málaga finishing sixth and excluded from Europe due to Financial Fair Play.[23][24]

Manchester City[edit]

Manuel Pellegrini with the Premier League trophy on the club's victory parade, May 2014.

"One of the reasons I am here is for the way we play. Manchester City supporters will see a different way of playing than they have seen in other years. We will try to be an attractive team."

Pellegrini in his first press conference as Manchester City manager in July 2013[25]

On 30 May 2013, Pellegrini stated he had a verbal agreement to become the new manager of Premier League club Manchester City.[26] On 14 June 2013, Manchester City confirmed Pellegrini’s appointment as their new first team manager on a three year contract.[27] Pellegrini was quoted saying he was "delighted to accept this hugely exciting opportunity."[28] Upon joining Manchester City, Pellegrini became only the fifth coach from outside of Europe to manage in the Premier League, and the first Chilean.[29]

Pellegrini initially made a shaky start with four league losses by the end of November but big wins against Newcastle United, Manchester United and Norwich City showed the team's potential. After their fourth league loss against Sunderland on 10 November 2013, City went on 20 match unbeaten streak (in all competitions) which including a 6–0 win over Tottenham Hostpur, a 3–2 win away at European champions Bayern Munich and a 6–3 win over league leaders Arsenal.

After a hectic Christmas period City's form showed no signs of abating and beat a 9–0 aggregate demolition of West Ham United in the Football League Cup semi-final (a competition record) and another 5–1 humbling against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane maintained City's average of over three goals a game. Of the 20 matches, only two were draws against Southampton and Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup - both of which ended 1–1. Some of the opponents openly described City as the best team in the world and talk about an unprecedented quadruple soon arose in the media.[30][31]

Pellegrini had won the Premier League manager of the month for December 2013 and was roundly praised for his attacking managerial style, calm demeanour and man management. Such was Manchester City's ruthlessness in front of goal from all angles - intricate passing moves, crosses, solo-runs and set pieces - The Daily Telegraph likened City's style to "death by beautiful geometry".[32]

On 18 January 2014, City surpassed 100 goals for the season in all competitions in just 34 games - the quickest century in the Premier League era beating Chelsea's 2012–13 record by eight matches. By the end of January 2014, they had scored 115 goals in all competitions - the most goals scored by any club in Europe. Maintaining such a scoring rate would see them surpass Chelsea's Premier League record of 103 goals in 2009–10, and the 143 scored by Manchester United's "Busby Babes" in the 1957–58 season.[33]

On 2 March 2014, Pellegrini's Manchester City defeated Sunderland 3–1 at Wembley Stadium on the 2014 Football League Cup Final, giving him his first major trophy in European football. On 11 May, Manchester City became Premier League champions after beating West Ham United 2–0 with goals from Nasri and Kompany at the City of Manchester Stadium, making Pellegrini the first coach from outside of Europe to win the English league title.[34]



Universidad Católica
LDU Quito
San Lorenzo
River Plate
Manchester City


Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 4 March 2015
Team Nat From To Record
P W D L Win %
Universidad de Chile Chile 1988 1989 46 15 18 13 32.61
Palestino Chile 1990 1990
Palestino Chile 1991 1992 34 18 9 7 52.94
O'Higgins Chile 1992 1993 40 15 10 15 37.50
Universidad Católica Chile 1993 1995 41 30 9 2 73.17
Palestino Chile 1998 1998
Liga De Quito Ecuador 1998 30 May 2001 66 30 30 6 45.45
San Lorenzo Argentina 1 June 2001 26 May 2002 50 21 17 12 42.00
River Plate Argentina 30 June 2002 30 June 2003 53 35 7 11 66.04
Villarreal Spain 1 July 2004 1 June 2009 259 123 72 64 47.49
Real Madrid Spain 1 June 2009 26 May 2010 48 36 5 7 75.00
Málaga[35] Spain 5 November 2010 1 June 2013 129 53 30 46 41.09
Manchester City England 14 June 2013 Present 97 62 15 20 63.92
Total 863 438 222 203 50.75

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Manuel Pellegrini". Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Hunter, Andy (14 June 2013). "Manuel Pellegrini confirmed as Manchester City manager". The Guardian (London). 
  3. ^ "Pellegrini no para: Ahora es elegido ex alumno distinguido de la PUC". 17 June 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Pellegrini, el hombre al que retiró Zamorano, 1 June 2009
  5. ^ Qué tipo raro, Pellegrini Santiago Solari, 11 November 2012 retrieved 18 June 2013
  6. ^ "Jesus Navas can be the saviour of new-look Manchester City". The Independent (London). 18 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  7. ^ The silent forging of success, Manuel Pellegrini 29 July 2009 retrieved 11 August 2013
  8. ^ "Pellegrini denies Madrid talks". USA Today. 30 May 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Pellegrini neuer Real-Coach" (in German). Kurier. 1 June 2009. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Real Madrid appoint Manuel Pellegrini as head coach". Sofia Echo. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  11. ^ "Real appoint Pellegrini as coach". BBC Sport. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  12. ^ Lowe, Sid (10 March 2010). "Manuel Pellegrini's nightmare becomes Real as Madrid begin blame game". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "Real Madrid clear the way for Jose Mourinho". BBC Sport. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "Manuel Pellegrini is proving to Real Madrid he is one of the world's top coaches". 21 November 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Liew, Jonathan (18 April 2013). "Chelsea's veteran stars had better beware, Manuel Pellegrini is a man who likes to build teams his way". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Former Real Madrid Coach Manuel Pellegrini Has Mexico Offer". (Goal). 26 May 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  17. ^ "Manuel Pellegrini agrees to coach Malaga in La Liga coup". ESPN. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  18. ^ Elkington, Mark (6 November 2010). "Soccer-Malaga lose to Espanyol with Pellegrini looking on". Reuters. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Pellegrini leads Malaga to dramatic debut win". Four Four Two. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Malaga edge tight affair". ESPN Soccernet. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Pellegrini pledges future to Malaga". ESPN Soccernet. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Malaga owner blames racism for Champions League exit". BBC Sport. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "CFCB adjudicatory chamber decisions". Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  24. ^ "Man City target Manuel Pellegrini announces he will leave Malaga". BBC Sport. 22 May 2013. 
  25. ^ Chowdhury, Saj (10 July 2013). "Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini 'not concerned' about title pressure". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Manchester City have verbal agreement with me, says Manuel Pellegrini". The Guardian (London). 29 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  27. ^ "Manuel Pellegrini appointed Manchester City manager". Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  28. ^ "Manchester City appoint Chilean as manager". BBC Sport. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  29. ^ Hudd, Maria (14 May 2013). "Manuel Pellegrini set to become fourth South American to manage in the Premier League". The Independent (London). Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  30. ^ "Man City best in world, says Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood". BBC Sport. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "Man City 5-0 Blackburn: Gary Bowyer hails 'best in world'". BBC Sport. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  32. ^ Hayward, Paul (29 January 2014). "Jose Mourinho's is right - Manchester City have a duty to win title". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  33. ^ "Premier League review: Man City landmark and did Suarez dive?". BBC Sport. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  34. ^ "Man City 2-0 West Ham". BBC Sport. 
  35. ^ Managers Málaga CF

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Juande Ramos
Miguel Muñoz Trophy
Succeeded by
Pep Guardiola