New Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini said Tuesday he would bring stability — and new players — to the club as part of a "great project" to revitalize a team that failed to keep up with rival Barcelona this year.
New club president Florentino Perez presented the 55-year-old Chilean to the media, one day after the former Villarreal coach signed a two-year deal with the Spanish powerhouse.
Perez instituted the "galactico" policy of signing the game's biggest stars during his first tenure with the club, and has pledged a similar approach to the transfer market this off-season.
However, Pellegrini wouldn't discuss the possibility of bringing players like Kaka or Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid, even though his first season is expected to be characterized by a number of big new signings.
"I don't feel like a galactico trainer," Pellegrini said. "Without giving names, if this club is going to sign, it's going to sign great players. We can go on naming all these names, 20 names if we want but it doesn't matter since it is all part of this great project planned."
Transfer talk brewing?
Club director Jorge Valdano reiterated that position, but also hinted that Madrid was already in talks to bring in a superstar.
"We don't want any of the negotiations to become public because, then, the negotiations become complicated," Valdano said.
Pellegrini was applauded by about 40 fans — who came with two Chile flags — at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium as Perez introduced him as a coach who will bring elegance and possession football to Madrid.
"It's going to be difficult because expectations are high," Pellegrini said. "The pressure motivates me."
Perez, the construction magnate who paid big money to bring players like Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Ronaldo to Madrid during his first six-year tenure, also went through five coaches in the final three years before quitting his post in 2006.
Bringing back stability
Pellegrini is Madrid's third coach since December after Bernd Schuster and Juande Ramos, but said he expects to bring back a sense of stability to the club.
"Teams with a long-term project usually end up having greater success," Pellegrini said. "We'll try to make as few errors as possible."
The Chilean's fluid style of attacking football — often compared to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal — got Villarreal into the Champions League twice during his five years in charge, including a run to the semifinals in 2006. Villarreal finished fifth in La Liga this season.
Perez presented Pellegrini by saying that "the obstacles we have to overcome are some of the greatest in our history."
Perez returned as president after running unopposed to replace Vicente Boluda, who took over for Ramon Calderon after he resigned in January amid a vote-rigging scandal.
Madrid was knocked out of the Champions League at the first knockout stage for the fifth straight year and surrendered the domestic title to Barcelona following a 6-2 loss at the Bernabeu. Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win three major trophies in a season.