Mauricio Pellegrino returned to Spain just months after he was sacked from Southampton in March and he took charge of Leganes in the summer.
During his playing career, he spent the 1998/99 season on loan at Barcelona when Louis van Gaal was in charge at the Camp Nou. With the Catalan club, he won the title and it also provided him an opportunity to make a switch to Valencia.
Rafael Benitez was appointed as Los Che’s manager in 2001 and Pellegrino won two league titles and the UEFA Cup under the guidance of the current Newcastle United manager. His time at Valencia was the most successful period in his career, in terms of trophies won.
The La Liga manager has spoken about the influence both men have had on his career.
“It was my first European experience and it was a great learning to understand another type of football and training [at Barcelona]. It gave me the chance to make myself known and opened the doors for me to go to Valencia,” Sport quoted Pellegrino as saying.
“I learned a lot of things because Van Gaal has been one of the great coaches I’ve had in my life, together with Rafa Benítez. They are the people from whom I can say I’ve copied more as a coach.”
Pellegrino was signed as a free agent by Benitez when the now Newcastle manager was in charge at Liverpool, but didn’t do enough during a six month contract to earn a longer deal.