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Pellegrino returns to Argentina to coach Velez Sarsfield


Buenos Aires (AFP) – Former Barcelona and Liverpool footballer Mauricio Pellegrino has been appointed coach at Argentines Velez Sarsfield, the club said on its social media, replacing former Manchester United and Real Madrid defender Gabriel Heinze.

“Mauricio Pellegrino is returning home! Welcome Flaco!” said Velez on its official Twitter account on Thursday night, using their former player’s nickname.

Argentine Pellegrino, 48, began his career as a center-back with Velez during the Buenos Aires club’s golden era in 1990s, winning four Argentine titles and the continental Copa Libertadores.

He ended the decade with a season-long loan to Barcelona, winning La Liga, before joining Rafael Benitez’s Valencia where he won two more La Liga crowns and played in two UEFA Champions League finals.

He reunited with Benitez at Liverpool for six months in 2005 but was cup-tied for the Reds’ epic Champions League victory over AC Milan.

He ended his playing career in 2006 after a short spell with Alaves, one of two of his former clubs he went on to coach, along with Valencia.

Pellegrino joined Premier League Southampton in 2017 but lasted just eight months before he was fired with the club just one point above the relegation zone.

He also coached Spaniards Leganes, and Estudiantes and Independiente in his homeland.

He has signed a deal with Velez until June 30, 2021, however given Argentina’s lockdown induced by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not clear when he will be able to begin work.

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