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Manuel Pellegrini Moves Closer to Manchester City After Malaga Resignation

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 08:  Malaga CF head coach Manuel Pellegrini reacts  during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Malaga CF at estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 8, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterMay 22, 2013

Manuel Pellegrini has opened the door for a move to Manchester City after announcing his departure from Malaga at the end of the season.

Pellegrini was linked with the City role in February when Roberto Mancini shrugged off the speculation, as The Times highlighted.

However, the speculation refused to go away and resurfaced on the eve of the FA Cup final against Wigan Athletic, as The Independent reported on the morning of the Wembley match.

Two days after the defeat to the Latics, Mancini was axed by the City hierarchy following the team's surrender of the Premier League title to Manchester United and their failure to qualify out of their Champions League group for the second consecutive season.

Now Pellegrini, 59, has called time on his career with the Costa del Sol club and is widely expected to take over at City after citing "sporting reasons" for his exit to Spanish sports newspaper Marca (via ITV.com).

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 has a good pedigree in the European game after moving to Villarreal in 2004. He guided the team to a fourth-place finish in La Liga in his first season in charge before leading them to the Champions League semifinals against Arsenal the following year.

In 2008, Villarreal split Barcelona and Real Madrid in the La Liga table with their second-placed finish.

Pellegrini joined Real Madrid in 2009 but left after a disappointing season with the club. He joined Malaga in June 2010 where he progressed the team to the top four in 2012.

Subsequently, he led the Costa del Sol team to the Champions League quarterfinals this season, where only two late Borussia Dortmund goals denied them a place in the last four.

Malaga have been dubbed "the Manchester City of football" (via Footballspeak.com) after the money spent by club owner Sheikh Al Thani following his takeover in June 2010.

But it's not just finances which are required to forge a team. Pellegrini is the only manager to lead two different clubs to the last eight of the Champions League in their debuts in UEFA's elite tournament.

The former Chile international has already received the backing of Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri, as Sky Sports reported.

Now it appears likely that Pellegrini will be given the opportunity to prove himself in the Premier League.

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