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Manuel Pellegrini marked his unveiling as Manchester City manager by revealing he turned down the chance to take over at the Etihad Stadium in 2007.
The Chilean, who was appointed as Roberto Mancini’s successor, said he was offered the chance to move to England in 2007, when then City owner Thaksin Shinawatra ended up appointing Sven-Goran Eriksson instead.
Pellegrini was also a target of Liverpool’s in 2010 when he had been sacked by Real Madrid and Rafa Benitez left Anfield. Instead, the Spaniard was replaced by Roy Hodgson.
Pellegrini said: “Twice, I had chances to arrive here [England] before. One was to Manchester City but with the other owners, not these owners [Sheikh Mansour]. It was one year before these owners bought the club.
“I was very near, after [leaving] Real Madrid, to arriving at Liverpool. It was not the right moment but now it is the right moment.”
Pellegrini, whose only trophy in Europe is the Intertoto Cup, mounted a defence of his managerial record.
“I won a lot of trophies in South America,” he said. “It is impossible for Villarreal to win the title. Malaga are exactly the same as Villarreal.”
Pellegrini won 96 points in his sole season in charge of Real Madrid and remains convinced he should have been given longer at the Bernabeu.
He added: “We played a whole year against a great Barcelona with [Pep] Guardiola. I am sure if we continued at Real Madrid we could win a lot of trophies.”