West Ham United appointed one of the finest managerial minds in Premier League history in Manuel Pellegrini in May 2018.
Pellegrini led Manchester City to the title in his first season in English football in 2014 and ended his three-year spell with the Sky Blues with a 61.4% win percentage – the fifth-highest in the competition’s 25-year existence.
But the Chilean's outstanding record in the Premier League was just one of the reasons West Ham supporters were so excited about his appointment as the Club’s 17th permanent manager.
Manuel Luis Pellegrini Ripamonti’s football life began 45 years ago in 1973, when he embarked on a one-club playing career in his home city of Santiago with Universidad de Chile – the same institution from which he graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1979.
A centre-back, Pellegrini the player made 451 appearances for La U between 1973 and 1986, winning the Copa Chile in 1979, and was good enough to earn 28 caps for his country.
After hanging up his boots, Pellegrini the coach began life with Universidad before making his name in club management in his homeland in the 1990s, taking charge of Palestino, O’Higgins and Universidad Catolica and winning the Copa Interamericana and Copa Chile with the latter.
Pellegrini moved across border to Bolivia to manage LDU Quito, leading Los Azucenas to the Serie A title and the knockout stages of the Copa Libertadores – South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League – in 1999, where they were eliminated on penalties by Argentinian giants River Plate.
That run brought the talented manager to the attention of the continent’s biggest clubs and he would move to Buenos Aires in 2001, first with San Lorenzo and, the following year, River Plate.
In 2004, Pellegrini crossed the Atlantic Ocean to join Spanish side Villarreal, where he took a club which had been in the top flight for just five seasons in their history into Europe in five straight seasons, and reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals on their very first appearance in the competition in 2005/06.
A club from a city with just 50,000 inhabitants, The Yellow Submarine became known the world over for their bright-coloured shirts and the outstanding team Pellegrini moulded, including the likes of Juan Roman Riquelme, Diego Forlan, Marcos Senna and future West Ham striker Guillermo Franco.
In June 2009, Pellegrini was appointed Real Madrid manager, signing Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso in the months which followed. Under the Chilean, Real amassed a then-record 96 points in La Liga.
Pellegrini’s next challenge saw him take over Malaga, leading the club to a record-high fourth in the table in 2011/12 and the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in his final season in charge.
Those achievements, among his many others, saw Manchester City move to bring Pellegrini to the Premier League in 2013, and he responded by winning the title in his first season.
With the likes of Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko scoring freely, City netted more than 150 goals in all competitions on their way to winning the Premier League and League Cup.
Over the next two seasons, Pellegrini’s City finished in the top four and reached the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, adding a second League Cup in February 2016.
Later the same year, the South American embarked on a new adventure in the Chinese Super League with Hebei China Fortune in the city of Langfang in north eastern China. There, he led a club which was only formed in 2010 to fourth in the table in his only full season in charge.