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Pellegrini confirms Malaga exit

Marca journalist Juan Castro believes Malaga head coach Manuel Pellegrini would be the perfect candidate to replace Roberto Mancini as Manchester City manager.

Manuel Pellegrini says he is leaving Malaga at the end of the season to take charge of a club where he can 'fulfil his sporting ambitions'.

• Nasri would back Pellegrini

Pellegrini is widely expected to be named the new Manchester City manager in the coming weeks, but neither he nor the Premier League side have yet confirmed this.

The Chilean coach announced his departure when speaking at a civil ceremony on Wednesday morning where he was awarded a gold medal for his services to province of Malaga. These services have included qualifying Los Boquerones for a first ever Champions League campaign, and also maintaining his dignity when financial and moral support from the club's erratic Qatari owner Abdullah Al-Thani dried up.

Sunday's Primera Division game at home to Deportivo la Coruna would therefore be a chance for him to say goodbye to the club's fans after almost three rollercoaster seasons in charge, Pellegrini said.

"Professionally, I am living my final hours in Malaga," he said. "On Sunday I will take charge of my last game as Malaga coach at La Rosaleda. It will be very emotional, and we expect to leave the club qualified for Europe, with the mission completed and with the misfortune that the project changed."

The former Villarreal and Real Madrid boss did not say what his next step in football would be, but suggested he had already agreed to take charge of a new club where he would have to deal with less off-field strife.

"The agreement with the club has been satisfactory and is appreciated," Pellegrini said. "Each person has the right to keep to his own path. I am not leaving for financial reasons, but to a sporting project which allows me to feel fulfilled."

Malaga later confirmed the news themselves, with a statement from Pellegrini on their official website which read: "Everyone has the right and obligation to follow his path and Malaga has to take another. The club has the need and the obligation to have a realistic project.

"Malaga has a story without Manuel Pellegrini, and [is] also going to have a future without Manuel Pellegrini. [I have] an eternal gratitude to the club's owners, who trusted me blindly."

An eventful morning on the Costa del Sol also saw Malaga receive confirmation from UEFA that the second suspended year of the club's European ban had been lifted, leading director general Vicente Casado to predict the entire suspension will be thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) next month.

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