Pellegrini: I could have been Barca boss

Outgoing Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini has claimed he almost took charge at Barcelona before Pep Guardiola’s arrival on the bench.

However, in an interview for Chilean National TV, the 59-year-old, just days away from leaving the Costa del Sol club, did discount the possibility of taking over from Tito Vilanova at the Camp Nou.

“Right now I am very happy the option to coach Barca is not available because that would mean that Tito was not in good health. But before Guardiola took the job I was very close to signing,” admitted Pellegrini, who is widely expected to be appointed Manchester City manager.

It is a post that has got fans in Chile excited after their compatriot’s frustrating season at Real Madrid, where he was sacked despite taking Los Blancos to a record 96 La Liga points. Now, they are hoping he can back up his reputation as one of the best coaches in the world with titles.

“I have an agreement to listen first to Manchester City, which is what my agent is doing. We will see over the next few days and weeks where it takes me but obviously this is an important option,” continued Pellegrini.

“The Premier League is one that, if not the best in the world, is among the top two or three. To coach a big club there, one that aspires to great things, of course it is a challenge.”

While ‘The Engineer’ prepares his Malaga goodbye he has promised that he will return there one day, although not as Coach.

“I live very well in the area doing things that I like. I hope to come back. Besides, I bought a property there because my intention was to finish my career with Malaga.

“If I’ve not been able to do that it is because, unfortunately, the club has changed its direction.”