Will Manuel Pellegrini be able to engineer success at Manchester City?
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With Sir Alex's retirement, Mancini's sacking, and Rafa's CV now refined, the top three jobs in the Premier League were up for grabs this summer. The press in England has enjoyed the recent game of managerial musical chairs devoting significant coverage to 'the special one (Jose Mourinho)' and 'the chosen one (David Moyes)'. Little though has been said about Manuel Pellegrini, who earlier this week announced that he has reached a verbal agreement to take over at Manchester City come next season.
Born in Santigao, Pelligrini, aged 17, joined Club Universidad de Chile and went on to register over 450 appearances as a centre back but not before completing his degree in civil engineering, one that has earned him the nickname El Ingeniero (The Engineer). He spent the first 15 years of his managerial career in South America winning two league titles in Argentina and one in Ecuador.
In 2004, Pellegrini moved to Spain to take over at Villareal, then, a relatively unknown and underfunded club. He guided them to four top-five finishes in his five years and transformed them to Champions League regulars (Villarreal reached the semi-finals of the competition in Pelligrini's second season). In 2007-08 Villareal sandwiched Real Madrid and Barcelona to finish second in La Liga, a feat that made current Manchester City Sporting Director (then Barcelona director of football) Txiki Begiristain take note. In 2009, he departed for Real Madrid, where in spite of guiding them to second place he was let go to make way for Mourinho. The following year he joined Málaga, in doing so he took over a team battling for relegation and led them to ninth place following that up with a fourth-place finish. In 2012-13 despite losing a number of top players in the summer the team finished sixth and came within seconds of reaching the Champions League semifinals.