Manuel Pellegrini reveals Manchester City deal is agreed despite interest from PSG
Malaga coach admits he has made a verbal agreement to take over at the Etihad Stadium
Thursday 30 May 2013
Manuel Pellegrini claims he has agreed to take over as manager of Manchester City at the end of the season and just needs to put pen to paper on his new contract to finalise the move. The 59-year-old Chilean coach also confirmed in an interview with Malaga's Canal Sur radio station that he had chosen City over Paris Saint-Germain despite strong interest from the French club.
City are likely to wait for Malaga, his Spanish club, to play their last game of the season away to Barcelona on Saturday before they officially announce his arrival, and Pellegrini said: "City have shown a lot of interest in me becoming their new coach. My agent has spoken at length with them. There is nothing signed still so I cannot say that I am their coach but I don't see that there will be any problems. I have a verbal agreement and I hope that it can be executed."
Asked about interest from other clubs, Pellegrini added: "PSG is a very important institution – one of the most important in Europe – and they put themselves in contact [with me] but the priority was to work with [Manchester City]."
A move to the Premier League will put Pellegrini up against one of his current La Liga foes, Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea-bound Real Madrid manager famously said he could not be compared to Pellegrini, his predecessor at Madrid, because if he was fired he would not "end up at Malaga".
But Pellegrini said: "If we meet again then there will be no problem with Mourinho. We are two very different people who just happen to do the same job. We have two different ways of behaving and of going about doing that job. I was proud to come to Malaga; it was one of the best decisions I have ever made."
Pellegrini's agent, Jesus Martinez, has also been instrumental in moving Malaga's 21-year-old Spain international Isco close to a move to City. Earlier this week the midfielder dismissed attention linking him with Real Madrid, saying: "My priority is to play. This is a very important decision for my future and I don't want to get it wrong. Pellegrini has been my footballing father and I know that he wants me in his new project and I would like to continue with him because he has always put his faith in me."
Former Villarreal coach Pellegrini, who also won the league in Argentina with both San Lorenzo and River Plate, does not want to be seen to be stealing away his current club's best player and was guarded in his appraisal of Isco's situation.
He said: "Wherever he [Isco] goes he will be a success. He has tremendous potential and I am happy that I was able to give him his chance in the first division. He will go as far in football as he wants to go."
Most Malaga supporters are resigned to losing their best player this summer. A banner unfurled at the team's last home game of the season read: "Isco, someone else will enjoy you next season; we will enjoy your triumphs from afar." The same applies to Pellegrini. Such is the depth of gratitude felt for the out-going coach that a roundabout near Malaga's La Rosaleda stadium is to be named after him. "I don't deserve it," he said, "the roundabout, the badge of merit [awarded to him last week by Malaga's town council] and the general affection of the people. I will never forget the send-off last week in the last home game or the minute's silence from the supporters against Osasuna in April after my father passed away."
Malaga's visit to Camp Nou at the weekend brings to an end their extraordinary season. "No one would have believed back in July we would have achieved the things we have achieved," Pellegrini said.
The club have finished in a Europa League position but have been handed a one-season ban by Uefa for outstanding debts, a penalty they are appealing against at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A decision is expected at the start of June.
"I hope they lift the ban; they deserve it. The club has made an effort to put its finances in order," Pellegrini added.
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