In Profile: Mauricio Pellegrino

By SFC Media Fri 23 Jun First team
Photo by Reuters | Pellegrino and Zidane

We take a look at new Southampton First Team Manager Mauricio Pellegrino's journey to St Mary's with our in-depth profile...

 Born on 5th October 1971 in Leones, Argentina, new Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino moves for his first managerial role in England, but he is no stranger to these shores.

 A distinguished professional player career began at Vélez Sarsfield, where the defender helped the club to four league titles as well as two cup successes.

His first foray into Europe’s top divisions came with a loan spell at Barcelona under the stewardship of Louis Van Gaal, before a permanent transfer to Valencia in 1999.

At the Mestalla, he proved to be integral alongside Roberto Ayala at the heart of defence, helping the side to two La Liga titles in 2002 and 2004 with Rafa Benitez as manager.

Pellegrino also won the 2004 UEFA Cup with the Spanish side with a 2-0 success against Marseille in the final, in a side that conceded just five goals throughout that European campaign.

Having amassed over 200 appearances at Valencia and reaching two Champions League finals, he would follow Benitez to Anfield on a short-term deal, making 13 appearances before returning to end his career at Alavés.

In 2008, Pellegrino returned to Merseyside as assistant to his former boss where he remained until 2010 when the pair moved to Internazionale.

With his stock continuing to rise, he replaced Unai Emery at Valencia in May 2012, but was relieved of his duties despite a win percentage of 47.62% and four points off a Champions League spot.

He moved back to his native Argentina for spells with Estudiantes and Independiente, before being appointed manager of newly-promoted Alavés.

Pellegrino is close friends with compatriot and former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino and during their time on a coaching course in Spain 11 years ago, the pair would simulate game situations with salt and pepper pots in the canteen.

And such meticulous studying of the game over a number of years helped him guide an Alavés side tipped for relegation to a ninth-place finish, including a 2-1 away win at Barcelona, and a Copa del Rey cup final, where they lost to the same opponents.

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