Blow to Spanish football if Pellegrini goes to Chelsea

Manuel Pellegrini's rumored to be next in line to coach Chelsea but he will be a huge loss to Malaga if he leaves, according to our Latino football expert Mustapha Kamaruddin


Something is brewing in the Chelsea boardroom after Rafa Benitez dropped three points to Newcastle United in the weekend.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is not impressed with the manager and seems to have made an approach for Malaga chief, Manuel Pellegrini.

Punto Pelota reported that there is a lot of hype about Abramovich wanting a reunion with Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, but it is Chilean Pellegrini that he wants most.

Contact has been made with Pellegrini and in preparation for a move to the Premier League, the former Real manager is rumoured to have been taking English language lessons.

This is not good news for Spanish football.

La Liga will surely miss Pellegrini if he goes to London to handle the Blues next season.

No one knows much about this man so let's have a look at his illustrious career.

Pellegrini, 59, was born in Santiago, Chile, and is a vastly experienced manager with great tactical abilities.

He had coaching stints in Chile, Argentina and Spain, and statististics prove that the Chilean is one of the best managers in La Liga at the moment.

Based on the percentage of points gained, Pellegrini is the second most successful South-American club manager in La Liga in the last 25 years - coming after Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

As a player, he was a defender with Chilean club Universidad Chile from 1973-86 and the Chilean national team where he earned 28 caps.

Pellegrini started his coaching career in 1988.

He took over the helm at several local clubs before getting a big break when he was signed to manage River Plate in 2002.

The 59-year-old used his experiences at River Plate as a stepping stone to galvanise his coaching resume.

Two years later, Pellegrini was put in-charge of Villarreal.

This was the beginning of a great adventure for the low-profile tactician, who prefers to do the talking on the pitch rather than off of it.

In Pellegrini's very first season in-charge, Villarreal qualified for the Champions League after finishing third in the league and managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup.

Then the Yellow Submarines qualified for the semi-finals of the 2005/06 Champions League, only to lose to Arsenal.

Villarreal finished seventh in the league that season.

The following two seasons saw Villarreal finishing in fifth and second respectively in La Liga - the latter was a historic milestone for the club.

In 2009, Pellegrini led Villarreal to the Champions League knockout stages, where they drew Arsenal once again in the quarter-finals - the Spanish outfit lost 4–1 on aggregate.

With such a good record, it was no surprise that Real Madrid wanted him to chart their fortunes as well.

Real paid a €4million buy-out fee to bring Pellegrini to the Santiago Bernabeu in June 2009 on a two-year contract.

Real were runners-up to Barcelona in the league that season despite bagging 99 points.

Adding to the misery, Real were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 in by Lyon.

Pellegrini’s achievements were not up to par and he was sacked on May 26 2010, only to be replaced by Jose Mourinho.

All was not over for the Chilean as he was offered to coach the Mexican national team soon after his departure from Real.

However, his love for Spanish football ran so deep that he rejected that offer to take over the managerial duties at Malaga instead.

In his first season, he guided Malaga to a fourth place finish in La Liga with a record-breaking 58 points.

With that, Malaga qualified for the Champions League qualifiers for the first time in the club's history.

Despite being a debutante in the elite European competition, Malaga were unbeaten at the group stages and are now in the last 16 where they will face Porto.

Simply brilliant, Pellegrini.

Malaga can only hope that their Chilean genius is not bought over by Chelsea.

In other manager gossip, Josep 'Pep' Guardiola who is set to coach Bayern Munich in July, is in contact with former Barca defender Gabriel Milito in a bid to bring him to Germany to join his coaching staff at the club.

Milito has yet to comment on this but it has been reported that the Argentinean has rejected offers from his home country.

Nothing is set in stone yet but what an interesting combination this could turn out to be.