Former Argentina defender Mauricio Pellegrino has become the latest addition to Rafael Benitez’s backroom team at Liverpool. The 36-year-old has been appointed first team coach and follows Sammy Lee, who became Benitez’s assistant manager last month, in returning to Anfield.
Pellegrino made 12 appearances for Liverpool during a short spell in 2005.
“His role will be first-team coach and he will also carry out specialist training sessions. He can also work specifically with the defence, and also the reserves.
Pellegrino has a winning mentality. He won the Intercontinental Cup before going to Spain with Barcelona and Valencia.
He has a lot of passion. When I asked him to come he was very pleased, but first he wanted to find out if there was a school where his three children could play good football. He is a football man.”
Benitez signed Pellegrino on a free transfer from Valencia in January 2005, but he was released that summer and returned to Spain to play with Alaves.
Since his retirement in 2006, Pellegrino has been on the coaching team at Valencia, looking after the youth team.
The Liverpool boss has looked to strengthen Liverpool’s backroom team ahead of the new season following the departure of Alex Miller, who left to manage JEF United in Japan, at the end of last season. The appointment also coincides with the official departure of former coach Pako Ayestaran who had been on ‘gardening leave’ for much of last season after a reported fall-out with Benitez.
The Spaniard welcomes back 18 players for pre-season training on Monday, with the players involved in Euro 2008 given an extended break.