Manuel Pellegrini Biography

Sat 14 August 2021 | 7:30

He is the only non-European football coach who managed to win the English Premier League in the history of the competition. In this article, we will take a look at Manuel Pellegrini biography.

Manuel Pellegrini, born 16 September 1953 in Santiago, is a Chilean football coach who is currently working as the head coach of Real Betis. He was a former professional footballer who played as a centre-back for Universidad de Chile throughout his career. He graduated as a civil engineer in 1979, from which he earned the nickname El Ingeniero.

As a professional footballer, Pellegrini spent his entire career playing for Universidad de Chile between 1973 and 1986, appearing in a total of over 400 matches in Chile's top division, the Primera División de Chile.

In 1988 he made his coaching debut with Universidad de Chile, but in the middle of the season, he left the club to focus on coaching courses abroad. In that year, the club was relegated to Division Two for the first and only time in its history.

Internationally, Pellegrini has enjoyed great success mainly in




, which makes him widely regarded as the best Chilean coach at present. While in Ecuador, he won the domestic league with LDU Quito in 1999 and guided the club to the last eight of the Copa Libertadores.

He went on to win league titles in Argentina with San Lorenzo and River Plate, which led to his recruitment by the Spanish side Villarreal. With Villarreal, he managed the club to the quarter-finals of the 2005 UEFA Cup and the semi-finals of the 2005/2006 UEFA Champions League, their biggest international success.

During the 2007/2008 season, the club reached its best-ever La Liga finish, second behind Real Madrid. As a result, they qualified automatically for the 2008/2009 UEFA Champions League, where they reached the quarter-finals.

Pellegrini was appointed coach of Real Madrid on 1 June 2009, the first Chilean to hold that position. He only stayed there for one season as the club wanted José Mourinho as a coach. Pellegrini was dismissed as coach of the Spanish giants in May 2010 after a title-less season. He took over at Spanish club Malaga on 4 November that year, where he stayed until 2013.

All You Need to Know About Manuel Pellegrini Biography

Pellegrini was named coach of English giants Manchester City on 14 June 2013. Manchester City officially announced on 1 February 2016 that Pep Guardiola would be taking over the club for the 2016/2017 season following the expiry of Manuel Pellegrini's contract.

Later on, he signed for the English side West Ham, however, Pellegrini was fired after the loss to Leicester on 28 December 2019. Pellegrini was introduced as the new head coach of the Spanish side Real Betis on 9 July 2020.

Manuel Pellegrini Information

Now that we know him better, in this section of

Manuel Pellegrini biography

, we will share some general information about him such as

Manuel Pellegrini nationality

to let you know him even more.

Manuel Pellegrini Bio

  • Full Name: Manuel Luis Pellegrini Ripamonti

  • Nickname: El Ingeniero

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Manuel Pellegrini Physical Stats

  • Weight: 78 Kg

  • Height: 1.84 m

  • Eye Color: Blue

  • Hair Color: Grey

Manuel Pellegrini Football Information

  • Position: Defender

  • Jersey Number: 4

  • Professional Debut: 1973

Manuel Pellegrini Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 16 September 1953

  • Birth Place: Santiago, Chile

  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo

  • Nationality: Chilean

In this section of

Manuel Pellegrini biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about

Manuel Pellegrini childhood

and more.

Manuel Pellegrini Early Life

Pellegrini first began as a youth player at Audax Italiano, then moved to Universidad de Chile, for whom he played throughout his entire professional career. He debuted in August 1973, and played a total of 451 games in the Chilean Primera División over thirteen years, becoming the fourth most-capped player at the club. He scored seven goals during his playing career, including a goal against arch-rivals Colo-Colo, and was red-carded seven times.

According to his teammates, Pellegrini was a somewhat limited but hard-working defender; for example, he would spend up to an hour after training sessions working on headers and (being right-footed) shooting with his left foot; this was because his right foot was - according to Pellegrini himself - shaped in a way that made it impossible not to miss the ball, which made him decide to improve his shooting with his other leg. Therefore, he devotedly worked at it until he became a left-footed player.

The club was going through its worst crisis at the time and they had not won a national title since 1969, but they were able to win the Copa Chile in 1979 and the Liguilla Pre-Libertadores in 1980, overcoming Colo-Colo on both occasions.

It was during a Copa Chile match in 1987 against Cobreandino - Trasandino's name at the time - that he decided to retire from playing football when their goalkeeper knocked the ball away and he was preparing to head it clear with a leap when a 17-year-old player jumped in behind him and was able to head the ball in and score the goal.

That young player happened to be

Iván Zamorano

, who later confessed that "if I knew where I was going to end up, I wouldn't have retired, I would have carried on for two more years".

Chile National Team

Pellegrini played one match for the

Chilean national team

, on 7 May 1986 against Brazil, who were preparing for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. During that match, Pellegrini put on a good performance as a defender in a one-goal draw between the two teams.

Manuel Pellegrini Profile

Pellegrini attended the trainer's course in 1982, and the coaching course between 1983 and 1984. In 1985 he went to study in Coverciano, Italy, where the Italian Football Federation had its training centres for coaches.

Within 45 days he completed the course and received his degree, qualifying him to coach regional teams. Subsequently, this course was recognised by the Chilean Football Federation and the Chilean College of Coaches, thereby entitling him to coach in Chile.

Universidad de Chile

His coaching debut came in 1988 at

Universidad de Chile

. Pellegrini went on a three-week coaching course in Lilleshall,


, in May of that year, where the team was left in charge of his assistants. They lost all three matches during that time, and at the end of the season, Universidad de Chile was relegated for the first and only time to the Second Division by a one-goal difference.


, O'Higgins and Universidad Católica

After two stints at Palestino between 1990 and 1992, and at O'Higgins between 1992 and 1993 as a coach, he joined Universidad Católica in early 1994, managing a squad that featured star signings Alberto Acosta and Néstor Gorosito.

He won the 1994 Interamerican Cup at Católica, thus becoming the first Chilean coach to win an international title with a Chilean team, as well as the 1995 Chilean Cup. Following two consecutive runners-up finishes in the league, he was fired in 1996 when he had the team nine points behind leaders Colo-Colo at the middle of the season. He then returned to manage Palestino in 1998, this time for a few months.

In this section of

Manuel Pellegrini biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about his coaching career in Ecuador.

LDU Quito

Rodrigo Paz, the Ecuadorian politician and leader of Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, became political friends with Chilean ambassador Jorge Burgos and asked him if he could suggest a coach for LDU, which in 1998 was left without a coach. He recommended Arturo Salah, who was in charge of Cobreloa, and Pellegrini, who joined the Ecuadorian club in 1999, becoming the Ecuadorian champions.

In the same year, he qualified for the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores de América but was knocked out by Club Atlético

River Plate

of Argentina in a penalty shoot-out. He left Liga de Quito in mid-2000 in spite of qualifying for the final stages of the league.

Differences in salaries and in the dressing room as a result of a salary reduction after the Ecuadorian exchange rate resulted in the termination of Pellegrini's contract and that of three foreign players, a decision that cost the club relegation at the end of the season.

San Lorenzo

Afterwards, he signed for the Argentinian football club Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro and managed to become the champion of the Argentinian football league. At this club, he set two records that still stand today in the Argentinean league: highest number of points in a short tournament (47) and highest number of consecutive victories (13), and he also overturned a five-point gap with River Plate.

In addition, he won the first international title in the club's history: the 2001 Mercosur Cup, by overcoming the mighty Flamengo in the final, a club which at the time had players of the stature of Juan Silveira dos Santos, goalkeeper Júlio César, and Dejan Petković.

River Plate

Following this, he was recruited by River Plate, where he spent a year and a half, and where he managed to win the 2003 Clausura Tournament. He also finished runner-up in the 2003 Copa Sudamericana with River Plate prior to leaving the club at the end of the year.

In this section of Manuel Pellegrini biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his




He was subsequently appointed as head coach of Villarreal Club de Fútbol in Spain. Later he said about why he chose to sign for the Spanish team: "I felt that a period of my career in America had been finished. I was able to go and coach in Mexico, with a very strong financial contract. However, I always thought that nobody goes from Mexico to Europe, but from Argentina to Europe, they do. [I knew Villarreal was a very small club, but it was also a very well-organised one. I knew that I wasn't going to be a champion there, but it was a big step forward.”

For Pellegrini, Villarreal was a golden opportunity. The club was an ambitious, attractive, long-term project that had yet to be defined, which perfectly matched what the coach from Santiago was and what he was looking for. There was already a small South American colony at Villarreal with the likes of Arruabarrena, Coloccini, Riquelme and Marcos Senna, meaning that the equation could not have been more clear: El Madrigal was the ideal place for Manuel. And Pellegrini proved perfect for Villarreal.

Pellegrini went on to win the UEFA Intertoto Cup with the club in 2005 and made it to the quarter-finals of the 2004-05 UEFA Cup with Villarreal CF.

During the 2004-2005 Spanish

La Liga

season, Pellegrini guided Villarreal CF to third place in the standings, leading them to qualify for the

Champions League

for the first time. He then reached the semi-finals of the Champions League the following year in his first appearance in this tournament, making it one of the greatest achievements in the club's history at the international level up until that time.

Pellegrini reached his 200th league match with Villarreal CF on 23 March 2008, in a match against Levante Unión Deportiva. The game ended in a 2-1 win for the yellow team. He reached the biggest milestone in the club's history on 7 May 2008 by finishing runner-up (77 points) for the first time and directly qualifying for the 2008-09 Champions League, where they reached the quarter-finals.

Real Madrid

He was introduced as the new coach of the

Real Madrid

club by the new president of the institution, Florentino Pérez, on 1 June 2009. He was not the first option, nor the second and, as it was later revealed, neither the third nor the fourth, but his name was on the list on its own merits. This was especially true of his style, which had been the basis of Villarreal's success.

Having taken over, the goal was clear: Real Madrid needed to reclaim their place in the Champions League with victories and titles. FC Barcelona was coming off the back of a historic sextuple, but at that time there was still no real sense of what that team was going to be.

Defeating them was just another possibility, particularly after the summer investment. In theory, if Manuel Pellegrini could implement his model, success would come. However, this was not entirely the case, nor was "El Ingeniero" going to be able to turn it around.

He remained at Real Madrid CF for a single season, which finished without winning any official title. Nevertheless, he achieved certain record statistical results for the club: highest percentage of points from a possible 96 points out of 114, the highest number of home wins (18), the highest number of away wins (13) and the highest number of total wins (31), coming only five goals short of the team's record (102 goals scored).

In addition, he was the most successful manager in the history of the Spanish club, with a winning percentage of 81.58% in La Liga. A record that lasted 3 years, until José Mourinho was crowned champion with the Merengues with 100 points and 121 goals scored.

The club was eliminated in the

Copa del Rey

by a Second Division B team, Agrupación Deportiva Alcorcón, following a 4-0 defeat in the first leg, which brought him much criticism, especially from the club's fans. Then they were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Olympique Lyon. By the end of the season, they finished second in La Liga behind FC Barcelona, with a total of 96 points, 3 less than the champions.

He was dismissed on 26 May 2010. Some weeks later, Pellegrini explained in an interview that the main reason for his departure from the club had been a lack of communication with president Florentino Pérez, which was due, in turn, to a difference in views regarding transfers.


He signed a three-year contract as coach of

Málaga CF

on 4 November 2010, and his immediate objective was to prevent the club from relegation. Malaga CF was purchased by Abdullah ben Nasser Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family, who provided the club with 70 million euros for strengthening the squad.

He decided to release some members of the squad and strengthen it with players such as Julio Baptista, Enzo Maresca, Ignacio Camacho and Martín Demichelis. Following an inconsistent start to the season, in which Málaga finished last in La Liga for four matchdays, the team bounced back towards the end of the league and finished in eleventh place with 46 points. He extended his contract with the club at the end of the season.

Between June and July 2011, the club signed several players for the 2011/2012 Liga BBVA season, notably Ruud van Nistelrooy, Jerémy Toulalan, Joaquín Sánchez, Isco and Santi Cazorla, for an estimated 60 million euros. Though they had a dubious start to the 2011-2012 season, they soon found consistency.

Their highest scoring of the season came against Real Zaragoza on the twenty-fifth matchday of La Liga when they won with a 5-1 scoreline. After matchday 27, Pellegrini and his team were battling in the top 4 of the table. The press named Málaga as one of the leading and best teams in the league. At the end of the 2011/2012 season, Málaga enjoyed its best season in its 100-year history30 and the club qualified for the 2012/2013 UEFA Champions League qualifiers.

The fourth-place finish for Málaga, with a total of 58 points, 17 wins, 7 draws, 14 defeats, 54 goals scored and 53 conceded, established Manuel Pellegrini as one of the best coaches in the history of the Malaga team, setting the club's record for points in the First Division in a single season.

Roque Santa Cruz arrived at the club in August 2012, joining Manuel Pellegrini's team on loan from Manchester City Football Club. Pellegrini's journey was more than successful, as in the same month Málaga defeated Panathinaikos FC in the Champions League qualifiers by an aggregate score of 2-0, thereby achieving the feat of qualifying for the final phase of the continental competition.

His side's 3-1 win over Levante Unión Deportiva on 15 September 2012 marked the best start to a league campaign in Málaga's history. Following their impressive campaign in Europe, Málaga advanced to the next round as leaders and unbeaten in their group, thereby becoming one of the best rookie teams in the history of the competition.

Topping off a year full of historic figures, Pellegrini's team defeated Real Madrid by three goals to two at La Rosaleda, establishing themselves in fourth place in the La Liga that year and finishing Real Madrid's 29 years of unbeaten record against Málaga.

For the first time, Málaga made it into the top 8 teams in Europe after defeating FC Porto in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Porto had won the first leg by one goal to nil. However, in the second leg, the Malaga side's first-choice starter scored a memorable victory that will go down in history.

In the 42nd minute, Isco scored the 1-0 for the home side, but it was not until the 76th minute that Málaga's second goal arrived, with the Estadio La Rosaleda exploding with joy with a goal from Paraguay's Roque Santa Cruz.

Pellegrini became the first coach to qualify two debutants in the Champions League to the quarter-finals of the competition. Ultimately, Malaga lost 3-2 to Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals in an exciting and highly controversial match.

The Chilean coach confirmed on 22 May 2013 that he would be leaving Málaga at the end of the 2012-13 season after Malaga had managed to qualify for the UEFA Europa League by finishing 6th in the Spanish league. In this section of Manuel Pellegrini biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his career with the Citizens.

Manchester City

Pellegrini was officially appointed

Manchester City

FC's new manager for the next three seasons on 14 June 2013. To reach the European elite, the club acquired players such as Jesús Navas, Stevan Jovetić, Álvaro Negredo, Martín Demichelis and Fernandinho. Meanwhile, Pellegrini changed the English team's style of play, focusing more on tactical play and less on direct football.

Pellegrini debuted in a friendly in South Africa against Supersport United Football Club, a game which ended in a 2-0 defeat for the engineer's team, followed by a second friendly against AmaZulu Football Club ending in another 2-1 defeat; Pellegrini's first victory with Manchester City came against South China AA, which ended 1-0 with a goal by Edin Džeko.

On 19 August, he made his debut in charge of the Citizens in official competition in a 4-0 win against Newcastle United on the first matchday of the English Premier League. In his first match against city rivals Manchester United on 22 September, Pellegrini's players won 4-1.

He managed to qualify Manchester City for the last 16 of the Champions League on 10 December 2013 which the English side had failed to do in the previous two competitions and finished second in their group with the same 15 points as reigning champions Bayern Munich, having beaten them 2-3 away.

Manchester City finished the first half of the season in second place in the Premier League, trailing only Arsenal. Manchester City won the League Cup on 2 March with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland in the final, which was Pellegrini's first title with the English side and his first since the Intertoto Cup with Villarreal ten years earlier.

He was not as successful in the Champions League and was knocked out by Barcelona. Ultimately, on 11 May, Manchester City clinched their fourth Premier League title after having taken the lead on the penultimate matchday, cutting Liverpool's lead. Thus, Pellegrini was the first non-European manager to win the English Premier League.

Manchester City kicked off the 2014-15 season with some uncertainty and again finished the first round of the Premier League in second place, this time three points behind Chelsea. They also made it to the last 16 of the Champions League again, losing to Barcelona. Meanwhile, Pellegrini's side ended the season without silverware, finishing runners-up in the Premier League.

Pellegrini renewed his contract with the club for a further year on 7 August 2015. Manchester City were leaders of the 2015-16 Premier League for 12 of the first 14 matchdays, but they ended the first round as 3rd in the table. In a statement issued by Manchester City on 1 February 2016, it was announced that Pellegrini would leave his position at the end of the 2015/2016 season and be replaced by the Spanish

Josep Guardiola


He successfully qualified Manchester City for the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club's history on 12 April 2016, defeating Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals. They were drawn against Real Madrid in the semi-final, playing at home on 26 April, but failed to make the difference. With a 0-0 draw, they went to the Santiago Bernabéu on 3 May, eventually losing by a 1-0 scoreline. The English team finished fourth in the Premier League that season.

Hebei China Fortune

It was announced in late August 2016 that Pellegrini will take charge of Hebei China Fortune of the Chinese Super League. His first match as the new coach of the Chinese team came on 10 September 2016, in the 24th Chinse Super League match against Guangzhou FC, which ended in a 0-3 home defeat.

During his first four matches in the league, he only managed to secure one point out of a possible of 12, so it was not a start that Manuel Pellegrini had wished for when he signed for the Chinese club. The Hebei China Fortune team got their first win under Pellegrini on the 28th matchday, thrashing the Tianjin Jinmen Tiger team with a score of 0-5.

During his first season, he finished seventh with 40 points, while in his second year he came fourth with 52 points, coming just 2 points short of qualifying for the 2018 AFC Champions League.

Pellegrini started his third season in China on 3 March 2018, clinching a 1-1 draw against the TJ Teda team. The match against Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic on 19 May 2018 was his last game managing the Chinese team when he was fired after just 11 matches into the league for disappointing results.

West Ham United

He signed a three-year contract on 22 May 2018 as the new head coach of Premier League side

West Ham United

, marking his second spell in the Premier League and his fifth on the European continent. During his first season, he guided the English side to 10th place in the Premier League. Nevertheless, on 28 December 2019, he was fired by the London club after a poor run of results that left the Hammers just one point clear of the relegation zone.

Real Betis

Pellegrini was appointed head coach of Spanish La Liga side

Real Betis

from the 2020-21 season on 9 July 2020 and signed a three-year contract. He debuted on the Real Betis bench on 13 September 2020, in a 0-1 away win against Deportivo Alavés. A week later, Pellegrini’s team also managed to win their second La Liga match, this time with a score of 2-0 against Real Valladolid CF.

During the 2020/21 season, Pellegrini was able to put together a great team, surprising both fans and the pundits with great performances both in La Liga and the Copa del Rey. In the league, they finished 6th with 61 points in the 38 matches, thus qualifying for the UEFA Europa League.

In Copa del Rey, Real Betis managed to make it to the quarter-finals, having eliminated the likes of Sporting Gijón and Real Sociedad but was defeated against Athletic Bilbao with a score of 2-5 at home.

Style of Play

Manuel Pellegrini is a truly technical manager and plays entertaining football. In his teams, tactical work is done from midfield to the back. From that point forward, his players have freedom. He likes to play with two central midfielders, one with more technique than the other, and occupy the flanks, but not with fixed players. According to Pellegrini himself, that would make them more predictable. He also always play two strikers because he doesn't believe in playmakers.


Pellegrini is widely regarded as one of the best Chilean football coaches and even some sources introduce him as the best coach in the history of Chilean football and the only one to achieve great success in Europe.

Manuel Pellegrini outside Football

At the same time as his playing career, in 1978 he obtained a degree in civil engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Together with a brother, he started working on various real estate projects and was involved in a number of projects as part of the rebuilding of the central zone of Chile after the 1985 earthquake.

Manuel Pellegrini Personal Life

In this section of Manuel Pellegrini biography, we will take a look into his personal life and share some info about Manuel Pellegrini life story and Manuel Pellegrini religion.

Family, Children and Relationships

Manuel Pellegrini was born in 1953 in the city of Santiago into a family of Italian origin. Manuel Pellegrini's paternal grandfather was a native of Picerno, which is a small town in the province of Potenza in Basilicata, while part of his family has Roman origins. He has a degree in Civil Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Manuel Pellegrini is married to his wife Carmen Gloria Pucci for so many years. She is a civil engineer as well as the technical director, and also a member of the board of directors of the Gasco company, one of the largest in the energy sector in Chile. The couple has three sons, Nicolas, Manuel and Juan Ignacio.


From time to time, he attends charity events and is active in philanthropic activities. For instance, during his time as head coach of Citizens, he attended a VIP dinner hosted by Point Halsey, to raise funds for cancer research.

Legal Issues

At the time of writing this article, there are no reports of legal issues or disputes regarding Manuel Pellegrini on English or Spanish media.

Manuel Pellegrini Career Statistics

In this section of Manuel Pellegrini biography, we will take a deeper look into his career stats, both as an international and club player.


Manuel Pellegrini has spent all of his playing career just in one club and appeared in a total of 315 league matches for the Chilean club Universidad de Chile between 1973 and 1986.


In 1986, Manuel Pellegrini played one match for his country in a match against Brazil.


Manuel has a win ratio of 47.5 percent as a coach, with 624 wins, 318 draws and 373 defeats in a total of 1315 matches he had managed his teams as of 22 May 2021.

Manuel Pellegrini Honors

He has won many titles and awards during his managing career, including Copa Chile, Ecuadorian Serie A, Argentine Primera División, UEFA Intertoto Cup, English Premier League and English League Cup, among others.

His individual awards list include Miguel Muñoz Trophy and Málaga Provincial Council Gold Shield. He has also been named English Premier League Manager of the Month on several occasions.

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