Manuel Pellegrini has given a wide-ranging interview with The Independent.
The West Ham United manager sat down to talk about everything from his experiences at previous clubs, to his early coaching career, to Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa.
Pellegrini also discussed his love for ‘technical’ players in football, and go to talking about one of his old players Juan Roman Riquelme from their time at Villarreal together.
Riquelme was a talented midfielder known for his mastery of the number 10 position.
The Argentine ace played for the Yellow Submarines for four seasons from 2003-07, with Pellegrini joining the club in 2004 and lasting till 2009.
Pellegrini said of his former star: “Riquelme, with his quality, can play 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago or now, where he wants.
“As a player, he can do what he wants. He can play in every league where he wants.”
Lanzini Pellegrini’s next Riquelme?
The Irons manager confirmed this week that Manuel Lanzini could return to action against Fulham this weekend (The Daily Mail).
The star has been sidelined since the summer after suffering an ACL injury whilst preparing for the 2018 World Cup finals.
Fans have been waiting patiently for the return of the midfielder, who is loved by fans for his creativity and technical qualities.
Like Riquelme, Lanzini has shown he has the ability to split defences with passes and hit players when they don’t even seem on.
The Argentine duo are of a similar mould, although Riquelme was more of a goalscorer and slightly more physical.
The dimiutive Lanzini’s best position is playing in behind the striker just as Riquelme’s was, and perhaps under Pellegrini, the 26-year-old can become the team’s talisman in their push to return to Europe.