first_imgThis column appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app here, and follow on twitter @sportmagukIf I was a young boy in the market for a new grandfather, I reckon I’d be calling Manuel Pellegrini in for a second interview.The Chilean is 62 years old, but at first glance could pass for a man at least a decade older. Under that reassuringly thick mane of hair sits a face like a map – lines everywhere, all somehow meeting to form the quietly benevolent expression that has characterised his time as manager of Manchester City. His skin tone is dark enough to betray his South American roots, while also bearing a pallor that hints at a lifetime of smoking strong tobacco. Fragrant, warming tobacco – the kind that makes you feel better on an icy winter’s night.Pellegrini is not a man to make, nor indeed court, headlines. His one Premier League title was claimed in the shadows, the spotlight shone firmly on Steven Gerrard and the slip that cost Liverpool that elusive maiden Premier League. He is deemed almost incidental to City’s progress or otherwise, his name mentioned only in dispatches as fans speak of Sergio Aguero’s goals, Vincent Kompany’s injuries, Yaya Toure’s unique approach to tracking back.Even in truly beautiful moments – specifically, when Alan Pardew told him to “shut your noise, you f**king old c**t” – Pellegrini has been the silent partner, the straight guy, the stooge.Premier League football is a world of noise. Sky and now BT Sport scream at us weekly, not to mention at each other in an increasingly expensive room. Pundits with little idea what else to do post-retirement bombard us with views we don’t necessarily want, while the few managers who somehow survive a never-ending cull spend much of their time bemoaning the luck and/or decisions that go against them.Some of that noise – we’re looking at you, Herr Klopp – still entertains. But, in the middle of it all, Pellegrini has oozed a dignified, studied tranquillity that has risen above the rabble. If his departure from the Etihad is also one from England, then he will be missed. 1 Manuel Pellegrini last_img