El Centrocampista

Mestalla moves for Pellegrino and Viera herald new dawn for Valencia

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It’s been a good week in Spain for assistant managers; first Tito Vilanova was named Pep Guardiola’s successor at FC Barcelona and now Mauricio Pellegrino is set to take over the reins at Valencia when Unai Emery’s contract expires this summer.

Both men have 0% experience as a first team coach and although all managers have to start somewhere, there’s very little precedent of taking over a clubs so big, two of the three biggest in La Liga in fact.

Unlike Vilanova, Pellegrino is not stepping up from the position of assistant, but conversely unlike Vilanova he was an extremely prominent figure in his clubs history. The Argentine spent six seasons at Valencia and was one of the most important players in what many consider the best period in the clubs history. Pellegrino formed an extraordinary partnership at centre back with fellow countrymen Roberto Ayala that helped the club win two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup. Two Champions League runners up medals and two UEFA Super Cup wins were also achieved during Pellegrino’s time at Valencia.

After Rafael Benitez departed Valencia for Liverpool Pellegrino soon followed, although his career as a football player was coming to an end, he left for Alaves early on where he retired shortly after before going back to Anfield to become Benitez’ assistant, he then followed him to Internazionale where the Spaniard and his coaching staff were later dismissed.

Club president Manuel Llorente announced the decision to give Pellegrino a two year contract to the media yesterday evening and when asked why he made the decision he replied “Because the club has chosen.” A dismissive answer but this is a decision that has clearly had a great deal of thought put into it, Llorente began looking for a new manager in January when he approached Espanyol’s Mauricio Pochettino and since then the club have assessed a great deal of options open to them before coming to this decision.

One of the considerations however, was not that of former league winning manager Rafael Benitez who confirmed in an interview about Pellegrino that had he been approached for the job, he would not be on the phone discussing his former assistant. It is thought that Benitez’ wages may have been too high for the board to consider and that his fractured relationship with Llorente has not been repaired to the extent many assumed it was.

Manuel Llorente announced the decision after the club had publically renewed their sponsorship deal with Jinko Solar; the energy company will continue as the clubs main sponsor and remain on the teams shirts for the next two seasons, a huge relief for the club bringing in a great deal of extra sponsorship money that will be essential for progression. Added to that the confirmation of direct entry into the Champions League group stages after a 1-0 victory over Villarreal the club have had a very good season on a financial level.

Previous to this news, Valencia also made the announcement that attacking midfielder and Spanish U21 international Jonathan Viera has signed from Las Palmas on a five year deal. The Canary Island native is yet to undergo a medical but is seen by many as one of Spain’s most gifted youngsters outside of La Liga and could well provide the link between midfield and attack that has been missing too many times this season.

Whatever positive or negative thoughts on the news over the past few days, Manuel Llorente has once again shown that Valencia’s future is of principle concern and the short-termism that tore the club to pieces no longer exists.




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  1. Pingback: Pellegrino named as new Valencia coach – Zee News

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