Fernando Hierro has lauded Manuel Pellegrini as the best coach in Malaga's history.
Hierro was Malaga's general manager during the 2011-12 season, working alongside Pellegrini to sign players such as Santi Cazorla to help the club secure a first ever Champions League qualification. The former Spain international then left La Rosaleda in May 2012 after it became clear that the club's Qatari owners' commitment had faltered.
Pellegrini stayed one more season, guiding Malaga to the Champions League quarter-finals despite Cazorla and other important players leaving amid turmoil behind the scenes, but revealed this week he was now set to leave - with Manchester City his expected destination.
The Chilean coach's achievements at Malaga had made him a hero with Boquerones fans, Hierro told AS.
"We know what he has done for the club, for the city," he said. "He is a man who works fantastically each day, who has left his mark on the city, the fans, all malaguenos and he has given a lot to Malaga. His departure is not positive, but he has found his path and made his decision. Possibly he is the best coach in Malaga's history."
Ex-Real Madrid defender Hierro has been included in Spain in speculation about a potential, if unlikely, challenger to Blancos president Florentino Perez in June 16's election at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. He answered carefully when asked if he would back a potential challenger to Perez in next month's poll.
"From here there will be a 'dance of names'," Hierro said. "Each time there are elections it is like that. Everything is up for debate. I was at the club for 14 years and I cannot say if I would like to [be involved] or not. Everyone knows that all the names that come out will be those the board calls. Everyone knows what Real Madrid means for me, it is the club of my life. Nobody has been in contact with me."