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Pellegrini aims for stability at Real

NEW Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini said yesterday 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 offseason.

However, Pellegrini wouldn't discuss the possibility of bringing players like Kaka or Cristiano Ronaldo to Real, 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."

Club director Jorge Valdano reiterated that position, but also hinted that Real 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.

Possession football

Pellegrini was applauded by about 40 fans - who came with two Chile flags - at the Santiago Bernabeu as Perez introduced him as a coach who will bring elegance and possession football to Real.

"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, Luis Figo, David Beckham and Ronaldo to Real during his first six-year tenure, also went through five coaches in the final three years before quitting his post in 2006.

Pellegrini is Real'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.

Villarreal, meanwhile, signed Ernesto Valverde to replace Pellegrini.

The Spanish club said on its Website yesterday that it signed Valverde to a one-year deal with an option for an extra year.

Valverde was released by Olympiakos after leading the Greek club to a league-cup double.


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