Five: Things You Didn’t Know About New Hammers Boss Manuel Pellegrini
64-year-old Chilean Manuel Pellegrini was unveiled as the new manager of West Ham United this morning, signing a three-year deal at the London Stadium, but what do you know about the South American? Join us today to relay five things that you probably didn’t know about the interesting former Premier League winner.
He’s A Qualified Engineer
Yes, it’s true, during his playing career in his native Chile, a young Pellegrini opted to take a university degree in civil engineering in his hometown of Santiago, Chile’s capital.
He studied at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and graduated in 1979 with flying colours, looking into the idea of becoming a full-time civil engineer after his playing days.
However, football got in the way of the dream as, by the time he passed his degree, Pellegrini was already six years into a 13-year spell with Universidad de Chile.
Thankfully for many fans around the world, the veteran chose coaching at the conclusion of his playing career in 1986, although he would complete his only noted work as an engineer before heading into management, helping out with the clean up in the wake of the 1985 Algarrobo earthquake in his homeland.
While he never truly got to prove his skills as a civil engineer, his meticulous and precise footballing tactics are believed to be inspired by his impressive qualification, West Ham fans will be hoping that he can engineer some success in East London.
He Was One Of The Original One-Club Men
As a player, Pellegrini represented the aforementioned Universidad de Chile, spending his whole career at the club, making him an early example of a South American one-club man.
He joined the capital city team as a youth in 1973 and retired in 1986, subsequently departing from the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos 13 years later, making close to 500 appearances.
A centre-back, the fourth in a row at West Ham after Sam Allardyce, Slaven Bilic and David Moyes, Pellegrini also worked his way into the Chilean national team, appearing 30 times in that period and constantly resisting offers from elsewhere in order to remain loyal to his domestic side.
The defender’s only real success whilst with the Santiago outfit came in the same year he passed his engineering degree, as they lifted the Copa Chile for the first time in ten years and went on to feature in the Copa Libertadores.
Once he had decided to go into management, a profession he has kept up with great success for 30 years, his first posting would be with Universidad, though he failed to see out the 1988–1989 campaign, leaving before the club were relegated, to learn to coach in Europe.
He Has Had The Same Assistant For 20 Years
Much like many great managers, Pellegrini has relied on his trusty assistant for the best part of a 1/3 of a century now, sticking with the coach he first hooked up with at Argentina’s San Lorenzo in 1998.
Ruben Cousillas is his name and assisting Pellegrini is his game, an Argentinian, who himself, enjoyed a professional playing career, representing the likes of Lorenzo and Velez Sarsfield between 1977 and 1991.
Cousillas is slightly younger than the manager, at 61 years of age and is expected to be imminently unveiled as the new Hammers assistant manager, within the next few hours or days.
The former Real Madrid and Manchester City coach, much like Pellegrini, will bring his experience to the table in East London, having followed the ex-Chile International all over the world.
He has proved on several occasions that he can step in to fill the boss’ boots when he is unavailable or suspended, such as in the Citizens‘ UEFA Champions League knockout tie with Bayern Munich in spring 2014, there will be a huge shock if he doesn’t make the move to join his friend in East London.
He Has Lifted A Trophy In Nearly All Of The Countries He’s Managed In
The veteran of football management Pellegrini has had the pleasure of working in three different continents throughout his 30-year career and five different countries, lifting a trophy in all of them, baa one.
Pellegrini’s first accolade came all the way back in 1995, triumphing in the aforementioned Copa Chile, whilst in charge of Universidad Catolica, he then followed that with two league titles with Lorenzo and River Plate in Argentina, while an Ecuadorian Serie A with LDU Quito was sandwiched in between.
When he made the brave move to Europe, first with Villareal in 2004, in under a month of taking the job at Estadio de la Ceramica, he had a crown, etching the Yellow Submarine’s name into a UEFA Intertoto Cup.
While his time in charge of Madrid lasted a mere season and he enjoyed a revolutionary spell at Malaga, that would, remarkably, be his last trophy in Spain, although he soon got back into the swing of things in England.
At the Etihad Stadium, he led Blue Moon to their second Premier League title in three years, holding off Liverpool and Chelsea and ironically, sealing it by defeating West Ham on the final day, he also won a pair of English League Cups in his first and last campaigns with the Sky Blues, but he would go trophy-less in China with Hebei China Fortune.
He’s One Of The Greatest Premier League Managers Of All-Time, Well, Statistically
Our final fun Pellegrini fact is another very little-known one and without doubt, the most statistical on this list, the stat that he is in the top seven PL bosses in history, in terms of win percentage, at seventh.
Had it not been for the man who replaced him in Manchester Pep Guardiola, who currently leads the way, he would be in the top six and was when he swapped Europe for Asia.
As well as taking his pride of place high in the managerial list, Pellegrini was also the first non-European gaffer to triumph in the English Top-Flight and only the fifth non-European to manage in the division altogether.
In the highest win percentage chart, Pellegrini is only beaten by Roberto Mancini, Carlo Ancelotti, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Guardiola, the Chilean has an overall win percentage of a staggering 61.4% in what he calls “The best league in the world.”
This would have been a big pull for names such as David Sullivan and David Gold, who had promised their supporters a manager with a proven track record of success at the highest level, and they have certainly got one.
So, now that you know five things about new Hammers boss Pellegrini that you didn’t already, be sure to stay across all of our platforms, including this website and our Twitter account @WestHamMatters_, for further reaction to his appointment, throughout the day.