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Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:01 UK

Pellegrino returns as Reds coach

Mauricio Pellegrino
Pellegrino returns to the club where he made 12 appearances

Former Argentina defender Mauricio Pellegrino has become the latest addition to Rafael Benitez's backroom team at Liverpool.

The 36-year-old has been appointed first-team coach and follows Sammy Lee, who became Benitez's assistant manager last month, in returning to Anfield.

Pellegrino made 12 appearances for Liverpool during a short spell in 2005.

"His role will be first-team coach and he will also carry out specialist training sessions," said Benitez.

"He can also work specifically with the defence, and also the reserves.

"Pellegrino has a winning mentality. He won the Intercontinental Cup before going to Spain with Barcelona and Valencia.

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"He has a lot of passion. When I asked him to come he was very pleased, but first he wanted to find out if there was a school where his three children could play good football. He is a football man."

Benitez signed Pellegrino on a free transfer from Valencia in January 2005, but he was released that summer and returned to Spain to play with Alaves.

Since his retirement in 2006, Pellegrino has been on the coaching team at Valencia, looking after the youth team.

The Liverpool boss has looked to strengthen Liverpool's backroom team ahead of the new season following the departure of Alex Miller, who left to manage JEF United in Japan, at the end of last season.

The appointment also coincides with the official departure of former coach Pako Ayestaran who had been on 'gardening leave' for much of last season after a reported fall-out with Benitez.

The Spaniard welcomed back 18 players for pre-season training on Monday, with the players involved in Euro 2008 given an extended break.

I am very proud of him and what he has achieved.

Rafael Benitez on Fernando Torres

Liverpool's successful Spanish contingent, which includes match-winner Fernando Torres, have been given an extra three weeks off to recover from their exertions in Austria and Switzerland.

And the Liverpool manager praised the contribution of the club's record signing who scored Spain's only goal against Germany in Sunday's final in Vienna.

"I am very proud of Fernando, especially after he has been criticised from some journalists in Spain," Benitez said.

"Everyone in Spain remembers the Marcelino goal from 44 years ago (when Spain were last European champions), and the last final Spain were in was 24 years ago.

"Now people will talk about Torres in the same way, I am very proud of him and what he has achieved."



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see also
Lee clinches return to Liverpool
16 May 08 |  Liverpool
Assistant Ayestaran leaves Reds
14 Oct 07 |  Liverpool
Alaves sign defender Pellegrino
17 Jun 05 |  Europe
Liverpool seal Pellegrino signing
05 Jan 05 |  Liverpool
Germany 0-1 Spain
07 Jul 10 |  Euro 2008


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