It’s been expected for about a month now, but Manuel Pellegrini will take over as manager of Manchester City, replacing the sacked Roberto Mancini.
I’ve held that Mancini was sacked based on unrealistic expectations he himself helped to create following their Premier League championship two seasons ago.
It was a terrible sacking, but that’s old news now as the deal is done and dusted, and Pellegrini will be the next in line to attempt to return City to the top of the table.
The Chilean comes over from Malaga after bringing them to the Champions League quarterfinals this past season, as well as guiding Villareal to the semis in 2006, both higher than the respective clubs were expected to achieve.
The delay in announcing Pellegrini’s hire is due to Malaga’s failure to pay Pellegrini his final few months’ salary. However, now that the La Liga club announced German Bernd Schuster will take over, it gave Manchester City the green light. UEFA punished Malaga for their financial issues by handing the club a 1-year European ban.
This season allows the 59-year-old the chance at a bit of vindication. He was sacked by Real Madrid in 2010 after just one season in charge as Los Blancos chose instead to go with Jose Mourinho. The Madrid front office said after the switch that had the opportunity to hire Mourinho not been presented, they would have stuck with Pellegrini, but the manager expressed his disappointment at not being given the chance to build the club.
Now, with a three-year deal, Pellegrini not only has the opportunity to build on a strong squad given to him by Mancini, but also to possibly get back at Mourinho who is now in charge at Chelsea.
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarek said of the hiring, “We have been greatly impressed throughout the selection process by his philosophy, his attitude and his commitment to the long term development of Manchester City. I am delighted that he has joined us.”
Pellegrini brings three assistants with him from Malaga – Argentinian assistant Ruben Cousillas, goalkeeping coach Xabier Mancisidor and fitness coach Jose Cabello.