Pellegrini confirms Malaga exit, may sign Man City deal

Pellegrini confirms Malaga exit, may sign Man City deal

MADRID - Agence France-Presse/ Reuters
Pellegrini confirms Malaga exit, may sign Man City deal

Coach Manuel Pellegrini led Malaga to a successful quarterfinal run during the Spanish club’s first Champions League appearance. REUTERS photo

Manager Manuel Pellegrini, strongly linked to the vacant Manchester City post, is leaving Malaga at the end of the season, the Chilean announced yesterday.

“Professionally, I am living my last hours in Malaga,” he said at a function to mark his achievements with the club in a report carried by Spanish Sports daily AS. He added: “On Sunday I will manage my last game as Malaga coach at La Rosaleda.

“It will be a very emotional occasion and we hope to leave with the club qualified for Europe, with the mission completed and with the misfortune that the project changed.

“The agreement with the club has been gratifying and satisfactory. Everyone has the right to continue on their on path.

“I am not looking for economic ambitions but a sporting project that allows me to feel fulfilled.” Pellegrini has been a reported long-term target for City, having previously won plaudits for his work at two other Spanish clubs in Real Madrid and Villarreal.

The plum City job is available following Roberto Mancini’s sacking last week.

Historic Champions League campaign

Pellegrini, who has been in charge of Malaga since November 2010, guided the club to its highest ever league finish last season as Los Boquerones qualified for the Champions League for the first time.

And despite financial problems that forced them to sell a number of key players before the start of the this season, Pellegrini’s men remarkably reached the quarterfinals of Europe’s premier club competition, only just missing out on the semi-finals after conceding two controversial late goals against Borussia Dortmund.

However, the club is currently banned from participating in European competition next season pending an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport due to overdue debts owed to employees, other clubs and tax authorities.

Yesterday, UEFA confirmed tat Malaga has had a second “suspended” one-year ban from European competition overturned, although it still faces exclusion from next season’s Europa League should it qualify.

The Costa del Sol club is banned from the next European competition it qualifies for over the next four seasons due to delays in payments to creditors.

The punishment, imposed on the Qatar-owned club in December, also threatened Malaga with an additional year ban from Europe unless it proved by March that it had settled outstanding payments to other teams, staff and tax authorities.