|Birth Day:||September 16, 1953|
|Birth Place:||Santiago, Chile|
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He earned a degree in civil engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in 1979.
Born in Santiago, to Italian parents, Pellegrini attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, 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 Club Universidad de Chile where he would 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, having not won the national Copa Chile championship since 1969. That changed in 1979, when the club managed to 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 was capped once by the Chile national team, starting in a 1–1 draw away to Brazil on 7 May 1986 in a friendly. He retired as a player later that year after a match against Sandino. He explained: "We were playing in the Copa Chile against Sandino. Our goalkeeper parried the shot of a rival player, I jumped to clear the ball, and from behind me came a 17-year-old boy who jumped half a metre above me, and scored. That day I decided I couldn't keep going". That boy was Iván Zamorano, on loan from Cobresal, 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 have kept playing two more years."
As a coach, Pellegrini has primarily managed teams in Spain, Argentina and Chile. As in his career as a professional player, he also 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 for the first time in its history, 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.
Pellegrini joined Argentine club San Lorenzo de Almagro in 2001, one of only two non-Argentinians 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.
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 team 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. 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.
On 1 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." 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." 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 dismissed if he did not win the La Liga title.
Pellegrini's Real Madrid team 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 dismissed, to be replaced by Mourinho, but that they would have kept him if the opportunity to hire Mourinho had not arisen.
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. Pellegrini, however, eventually signed for La Liga club Málaga on a three-year contract, their coach Jesualdo Ferreira having been dismissed. 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, and watched from the stands as they lost 1–0 to Espanyol the following day. 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, and continued his winning start as new coach of Malaga by beating Levante 1–0 in his league debut four days later. 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.
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. In October 2018, a roundabout in Malaga was named in his honour.
On 30 May 2013, Pellegrini stated he had a verbal agreement to become the new manager of Premier League club Manchester City. On 14 June 2013, Manchester City confirmed Pellegrini's appointment as their new first-team manager on a three-year contract. Pellegrini was quoted saying he was "delighted to accept this hugely exciting opportunity." Upon joining Manchester City, Pellegrini became only the fifth coach from outside of Europe to manage in the Premier League, and the first Chilean.
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 a 20-match unbeaten streak (in all competitions), which included a 6–0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, a 3–2 away win at European champions Bayern Munich, and a 6–3 win over league leaders Arsenal.
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 the 143 scored by Manchester United's "Busby Babes" in the 1957–58 season.
On 2 March 2014, Pellegrini's Manchester City defeated Sunderland 3–1 at Wembley Stadium in 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 Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany at the City of Manchester Stadium, making Pellegrini the first coach from outside of Europe to win the English league title.
On 29 October 2014, City were defeated 2–0 by Newcastle United in the League Cup, thus failing to defend their title. On 24 January 2015, Pellegrini's men were knocked out of the FA Cup, after a 2–0 loss to Championship team Middlesbrough.
On 7 August 2015, Manchester City announced that Pellegrini had signed a one-year contract extension, which would keep him with the club until June 2016. Pellegrini commented, "I am proud to manage Manchester City FC and am therefore very pleased to have agreed to this contract.
On 1 February 2016, Manchester City confirmed Pellegrini would be leaving in June, at the end of his contract, and that Pep Guardiola would be taking over for the 2016–17 season. Pellegrini left Manchester City with the fifth-highest win percentage in Premier League history.
On 27 August 2016, Pellegrini was named manager of Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune, replacing Li Tie. He took charge of his first match on 10 September 2016 in a home game against Guangzhou Evergrande, which Hebei lost 3–0.
On 19 May 2018, Hebei China Fortune confirmed Pellegrini had left the club. Pellegrini's last match in charge of Hebei was a 2–1 win over Chongqing Dangdai Lifan.
On 22 May 2018, Premier League club West Ham United appointed Pellegrini as their new manager on a three-year deal contract. In his first game as West Ham manager, on 12 August, the team lost 4–0 away to Liverpool. His first win with the club came in an EFL Cup match against AFC Wimbledon on 28 August. In the Premier League, having presided over four defeats at the start of the 2018–19 season, Pellegrini oversaw his first win on 16 September with a 3–1 win over Everton. In January 2019, West Ham were knocked out of the FA Cup in the fourth round by Wimbledon losing 4-2. At the time Wimbledon were five points adrift at the bottom of League One and playing in the fourth round for the first time in the club’s history. West Ham finished in 10th position in the Premier League in Pellegrini's first season in charge; their first top-ten finish since 2016.
West Ham broke their transfer record twice under Pellegrini paying £36m for Felipe Anderson in 2018 and £45m for striker Sebastien Haller in 2019. They spent £155m in transfer fees while he was in charge, £71m in the summer before the 2019-20 season. In September they were knocked out from the EFL Cup losing 4-0 to Oxford United of League One. He was sacked by the club on 28 December 2019 after a 2–1 home loss to Leicester City, their fourth straight home defeat, with the club in 17th place and having won only five league games all season. His time at West Ham saw a win rate of 38.98% of all games played.
On 9 July 2020, it was announced that Pellegrini would become the manager of Real Betis in La Liga ahead of the 2020–21 season, replacing Alexis Trujillo who had served as an interim coach following the dismissal of Rubi the previous month.
Currently, Manuel Pellegrini is 68 years, 2 months and 23 days old. Manuel Pellegrini will celebrate 69th birthday on a Friday 16th of September 2022.
Find out about Manuel Pellegrini birthday activities in timeline view here.