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Pellegrini enjoyed a 13-year playing career, spending the entire time at one club: Universidad de Chile (via UEFA). After he played for one of the biggest and most successful clubs in Chilean football, Pellegrini's love affair with the club would continue when he returned to manage them between 1987 and 1990.
A rugged defender, Pellegrini made 451 appearances during his time as a player, but he retired hastily in 1986 when he was beaten to the ball by a young Ivan Zamorano. Of course, Zamorano went on to become a fine player on the world stage, and Pellegrini now admits "Had I known, I might not have quit so soon" (via the Independent).
He demonstrated a loyalty to one club that is rarely seen in modern football. Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher are notable exceptions, but, in a quest for higher salaries and big signing on fees, the majority of players in the modern game move around frequently.
Manuel Pellegrini only ever felt comfortable in the blue of Universidad de Chile.