Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Manuel Pellegrini circling new City circle

Manuel Pellegrini says he is leaving Malaga 'for sporting reasons'

Manchester City's hopes of landing Manuel Pellegrini as their next manager look to have increased after the Chilean announced he was definitely leaving Malaga.

City have been heavily linked with Pellegrini in recent weeks and speculation has intensified since last year's Premier League-winning boss Roberto Mancini was sacked last week. Chief executive Ferran Soriano was quizzed about the matter by a US television reporter as the club formally announced the launch of their new Major League Soccer team.

When asked what Mancini did wrong, Soriano told CNN: "He did very good things for the club. He stayed there for three years, which is a lot of time. He brought the club to a winning club. Now we are just looking for the next step, the next cycle."

He added: "We have a fantastic squad. We want to play better football and we want to continue winning. It is not that Mancini did anything wrong. We are just in another cycle, in another era."

Pellegrini has previously indicated a desire to leave Malaga at the end of the Spanish season and has now claimed he will definitely not be at the club next term. This has not been confirmed by Malaga, who have enjoyed relative success under the 59-year-old, including reaching the Champions League quarter-finals this year.

Pellegrini, quoted by Spanish newspaper website Marca.com, said: "My coaching staff and I are separating from Malaga but our union with this city will be eternal. I'm going for sporting reasons."

Pellegrini, who was speaking at a function at Malaga Provincial Council, denied earlier this month he had an agreement in place with City.

His team currently sit in the Europa League places in the Primera Division but are banned from European competition next season due to unpaid bills in breach of UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations. A further one-year suspended ban was overturned on appeal.

Pellegrini said: "We leave the club qualified for Europe with the mission accomplished but it is unfortunate that this project changed. We had a time with the club that was very rewarding. Everyone has the right to move on. Sunday will be my last match at La Rosaleda and will be very exciting for me."

Pellegrini has been at Malaga since November 2010 after previous spells with Villarreal and Real Madrid. His team have two games of their season remaining, against Deportivo la Coruna and Barcelona.

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