Greatest Soccer Managers of All Time

Improving upon his rapid success with Derby County, Clough took Forest to the First Division in his second season, won the First Division in his third, and won the European Cup in the fourth and fifth. Ironically, given his success as the manager of Manchester United, Busby played for United’s two greatest rivals: their neighbor Manchester City, and northwest rivals Liverpool. Further supporting that theory, Milan also won the Supercup and the Intercontinental Cup after both their European Cups, but lost out on the domestic title. Among the latter, Mourinho is the only manager to win league titles in England, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. He is also known as an astute tactician, favoring different formations at his different clubs, to optimize the performance of the players at his disposal.

Helenio Herrera

Born: October 5, 1922

Died: September 10, 1985

Nationality: Italian

Career: 1960-1985

Teams Managed: Dumfermline Athletic, Hibernian, Scotland, Celtic, Leeds United


Scottish League Championship: Celtic 1965-66, 1966-67, 1067-68, 1968-69, 1969-70, 1970-71, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1976-77

Scottish Cup: Dumfermline 1961; Celtic 1964-65, 1966-67, 1968-69, 1970-71, 1971-72, 1973-74, 1974-75, 1976-77

Scottish League Cup: Celtic 1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1969-70, 1974-75

Summer Cup: Hibernian 1964

Rous Cup: Scotland 1985

European Cup: Celtic 1967

Jock Stein is one of the most successful British managers, and is a venerated name in British football. After losing 10 players to the airplane crash (8 dead, 2 incapacitated), Busby successfully rebuilt his team around the survivors of the crash, and won England’s first European Cup ten years after the crash.

Jupp Heynckes

Jock Stein

Born: April 25, 1947

Nationality: Dutch

Career: 1985-2013 (inactive between 1996 and 2009)

Teams Managed: Ajax, Barcelona, Catalonia


Spanish La Liga: Barcelona 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94

Copa Del Rey: Barcelona 1989-90

Supercopa de España: 1991, 1992, 1994

KNVB Cup: Ajax 1985-86, 1986-87

European Cup: Barcelona 1991-92

UEFA Cup Winners Cup: Ajax 1986-87; Barcelona 1988-89

UEFA Super Cup: Barcelona 1992

Johan Cruyff is one of the best players and managers in soccer history. His attitude and reluctance to stay at a club for a long time led to comparisons between him and José Mourinho. He is the only manager to have won the Champions League, the UEFA Euro Championship, and the World Cup. Lattek was also part of Germany’s coaching squad before joining Bayern, and went to the 1966 World Cup with Die Mannschaft.

Arsène Wenger

Bob Paisley

The following list is the personal opinion of the writer, and in no particular order.

Born: June 18, 1946

Nationality: Italian

Career: 1991-present

Teams Managed: AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma, Juventus, England, Russia


Italian Serie A: AC Milan 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96; Roma 2000-01

Spanish La Liga: Real Madrid 1996-97, 2006-07

Supercoppa Italiana: AC Milan 1992, 1993, 1994; Roma 2001

UEFA Champions League: AC Milan 1993-94

European Supercup: AC Milan 1994

Capello holds the remarkable record of having won a league title with each one of his clubs (Capello’s 2004-05 and 2005-06 titles with Juventus were later discounted because of Juventus and second placed AC Milan’s involvement in the Calciopoli matchfixing scandal). On their way to the trophy, Greece beat defending Champions France and hosts Portugal. He is also one of only 4 managers to have won the Champions League with two clubs, and is one of only five to have won league titles in 4 countries. He is the only manager to win the League-Cup double in both England and Scotland, and the only manager to win the League-Cup-Champions League treble with an English club. Of course, it is impossible to include all the legends of the game in one list, not least because ‘greatness’ is defined and interpreted differently by everyone. His extremely well-drilled, yet swashbuckling Milan teams were based on a preexisting core of Italian players such as Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, and Roberto Donadoni, and Dutch imports such as Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, and Frank Rijkaard. He has polarized fans and critics due to his direct approach and defensive tactics. 1985-86

Scottish League Cup: Aberdeen 1985-86

English Premier League: Manchester United 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-1999, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13

FA Cup: Manchester United 1989-90, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04

English League Cup: Manchester United 1991-92, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10

FA Community Shield: Manchester United 1990 (shared with Liverpool), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 1007, 2008, 2010, 2011

UEFA Champions League: Manchester United 1999, 2008

UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup: Aberdeen 1982-83; Manchester United 1990-91

UEFA Super Cup: Aberdeen 1983; Manchester United 1991

Intercontinental Cup: Manchester United 1999

FIFA Club World Cup: Manchester United 2008

We kick off with the towering giant of the modern game, Sir Alex. Due to his success and commanding personality, he is known as der General.

The Insurmountable ObstacleIn the 125 years of league football, no manager has won a league title, a domestic cup, a continental club championship, an intercontinental club championship, a continental national championship, and the World Cup.

The job of a manager is virtually limitless. He is also one of only 5 managers who have won league titles in 4 countries. Mirren, Aberdeen, Scotland, Manchester United


Scottish First Division (2nd tier): St. After an unsuccessful term as the coach of Turkish side Be?ikta?, and a three-year hiatus after that, he replaced the Euro-winning coach Luis Aragonés as the manager of the Spanish national team. He got his career off with a bang, coaching the most successful Ajax side since the Cruyff-dominated 1970s. His revolutionary system of ‘Total Football’ caught the world by storm in the 1970s, and is still being applied by numerous successful teams. Busby is best remembered for his youthful ‘Busby Babes’ teams, and his rebuilding of United after the tragic 1958 Munich air disaster. In 2008, he took Russia to their first Euro semifinal appearance, since finishing second in 1988.

Born: December 31, 1941

Nationality: Scottish

Career: 1974 – 2013

Teams Managed: East Stirlingshire, St. He paid attention to the development of Liverpool’s youth system, a change that would serve the club well in the coming glory years. However, he has notoriously failed to replicate his league successes in knockout tournaments, with the 1993-94 Champions League being his only knockout victory (Supercoppa Italiana and the European Super Cup are one-match playoffs). Capello is one of the most well-respected coaches in the modern game. Carrying on Aragonés’ excellent work, del Bosque led Spain to their first ever World Cup and their second successive Euro in 2010 and 2012 respectively.. He has to do all of this while juggling an owner focused on maintaining the budget, and fans intent on seeing their team succeed to no end. His name is most closely associated with Bayern, where he won the 1973-74 European Cup, and laid the foundations of the next two, won in 1974-75 and 1975-76. Stein won 10 Scottish league titles, 9 of them consecutive. The managers who have gone on to become legends in the game are the ones who have been able to balance all of these aspects in one successful, dynamic structure.

Born: November 8, 1946

Nationality: Dutch

Career: 1987-present

Teams Managed: PSV Eindhoven, Fenerbahçe, Valencia, Netherlands, Real Madrid, Real Betis, South Korea, Australia, Russia, Chelsea, Turkey, Anzi Makhachkala


Eredivisie: PSV 1986-87, 187-88, 1988-89, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2005-06

KNVB Cup: PSV 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 2004-05

Dutch Supercup: PSV 1993

FA Cup: Chelsea 2008-2009

Intercontinental Cup: Real Madrid 1998

Hiddink is one of the most diversely successful and respected managers in the world. Born: January 16, 1935

Nationality: German

Career: 1970-2000

Teams Managed: Bayern Munich, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Köln, Schalke


Bundesliga (German Championship): 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1984-85 1985-86, 1986-87; Borussia Mönchengladbach 1975-76, 1976-77

DFB-Pokal (German Cup): Bayern Munich 1970-71, 1983-84, 1985-86

Copa Del Rey: Barcelona 1982-83

European Cup: Bayern Munich 1973-74

UEFA Cup: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1979

UEFA Cup Winners Cup: Barcelona 1981-82

Lattek is one of Germany’s most successful coaches. He decides the starting XI, the strategies and tactics to be used in each match, who has to be left out, and who has to be promoted. Sacchi espoused attacking football, having grown up watching the Magical Magyars and the di Stéfano-led Real Madrid. In fact, his average of more than 2 trophies per season is even higher than Sir Alex Ferguson. Surprisingly, Benfica haven’t won a European Cup since 1962, and have lost in the final five times! What’s more, they have even lost in two UEFA Cup/Europa League finals!

Born: September 2, 1913

Died: September 29, 1981

Nationality: Scottish

Career: 1949-1974

Teams Managed: Carlisle United, Grimsby Town, Workington, Huddersfield Town, Liverpool


English First Division: Liverpool 1963-64, 1965-66, 1972-73

English Second Division: Liverpool 1961-62

FA Cup: Liverpool 1964-65, 1973-74

FA Charity Shield: Liverpool 1964, 1965, 1966, 1974

UEFA Cup: Liverpool 1972-73

Shankly is mainly remembered for his time with Liverpool, when he transformed the club from second division mediocrity to becoming a feared continental powerhouse. His supporters claim the large number of trophies he’s managed to win, while his critics point to his disinterest in the long-term fortunes of the club. Mirren 1976-77

Scottish Premier Division (1st tier): Aberdeen 1979-80, 1983-84, 1984-85

Scottish Cup: Aberdeen 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84. In a fascism-laden 1930s, the Italian national team emerged as the force to reckon with, winning two of the three World Cups in the decade, as well as an Olympic tournament. He consistently managed to exceed expectations on the international stage. This even includes two one-year spells at Real Madrid, both of which ended in title triumph. He narrowly lost out on becoming one of the few coaches to have won the Champions League twice, when his Juventus team lost the 2003 final on penalties. His philosophy is still the underlying principle at both Ajax and Barcelona, later reinforced by Michels’ best pupil, Johan Cruyff.

Marcello Lippi

Vittorio Pozzo

Brian Clough

Béla Guttman

Matt Busby

Born: August 9, 1938

Nationality: German

Career: 1972-present

Teams Managed: Rockenhausen, Saarbrücken, Kickers Offenbach, Borussia Dortmund, Arminia Bielefeld, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich, Kaiserslautern, Greece, Hertha Berlin


UEFA Euro: Greece 2004

Bundesliga: Werder Bremen 1987-88, 1992-93; Kaiserslautern 1997-98

Bundesliga Second Division: Kaiserslautern 1996-97

DFB-Pokal: Fortuna Düsseldorf 1979-80; Werder Bremen 1990-91, 1993-94

DFL-Supercup: Werder Bremen 1988, 1993, 1994

UEFA Cup Winners Cup: Werder Bremen 1991-92

Rehhagel pulled off probably the best underdog story in European football, when he led Greece to victory in the 2004 Euro Championship. His successes with Ajax correspondingly came with a group of young, malleable, and versatile players, ready to be molded into the way Van Gaal wanted them to play. The highly successful Barcelona team coached by Pep Guardiola use a version of the metodo.

Born: August 8, 1951

Nationality: Dutch

Career: 1991-present

Teams Managed: Ajax, Barcelona, Netherlands, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich


Eredivisie: Ajax 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96; AZ Alkmaar 2008-09

KNVB Cup: Ajax 1992-93

Dutch Supercup: Ajax 1993, 1994, 1995

La Liga: 1997-98, 1998-1999

Copa del Rey: Barcelona 1997-98

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich 2009-10

DFB-Pokal: Bayern Munich 2009-10

DFB-Supercup: Bayern Munich 2010

UEFA Champions League: Ajax 1994-95

UEFA Cup: Ajax 1991-92

UEFA Super Cup: Ajax 1995; Barcelona 1997

Intercontinental Cup: Ajax 1995

Louis van Gaal is one of the most successful and respected coaches in the modern game. Pozzo is known as the inventor and pioneer of the metodo formation, which was the precursor to the modern 4-3-3 formation. Shankly started the now-famous tradition of the Boot Room, a storage room where the coaches would discuss tactics and strategies. He also reached the 1978 World Cup final with Netherlands, making him the first manager (and one of just six) to reach the European Cup final and the World Cup final.

Guus Hiddink

Born: May 26, 1909

Died: January 20, 1994

Nationality: Scottish

Career: 1944-1981

Teams Managed: Manchester United, Great Britain, Scotland


English First Division: 1951-52, 1955-56, 1956-57, 1964-65, 1966-1967

FA Cup: 1947-48, 1962-63

FA Charity Shield: 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967

European Cup: 1968

The second-most successful Manchester United manager in history may not have ended up at Old Trafford at all. He is also known to be flexible with his formations, adopting the formation best suited for the team, rather than forcing the formation on unsuitable players.

Fabio Capello

Ottmar Hitzfeld

Vicente del Bosque

Born: November 29, 1925

Died: November 14, 1992

Nationality: Austrian

Career: 1962-1992

Teams Managed: ADO Den Haag, Feyenoord, Sevilla, Club Brugge, Netherlands, Harelbeke, Standard Liège, Hamburg, Tirol, Austria


Eredivisie: Feyenoord 1970-71

KNVB Cup: ADO Den Haag 1967-68

Belgian First Division: Brugge 1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78

Belgian Cup: Brugge 1976-77; Standard Liège 1980-81

Belgian Supercup: Standard Liège 1981

Bundesliga: Hamburg 1981-82, 1982-83

DFB-Pokal: Hamburg 1986-87

Austrian League: Tirol 1988-89, 1989-90

Austrian Cup: Tirol 1988-89

European Cup: Feyenoord 1969-70; Hamburg 1982-83

Intercontinental Cup: 1970

Happel’s career is littered with landmarks. He made his name as a player for Ajax and Barcelona, and later managed the same clubs to numerous honors. Paisley reigned over the most glorious period in the history of Liverpool. He is, as yet, the only manager to win 3 European Cups/Champions Leagues. Rehhagel’s seemingly old-fashioned tactics, employing a libero, strong, uncompromising defenders, and high pressure from the wings, invited criticism in the modern era of fluid, ball-playing defenses, but Rehhagel backs up his continued usage of the system with his successes. His scintillating teams in the early noughties dazzled fans and opposition defenses alike. 1979-80

European Super Cup: Nottingham Forest 1979

Brian Clough is considered one of the greatest British managers ever. He has won the UEFA Cup three times, which is a record. Wenger is only the second manager in history (after Sir Alex Ferguson) to guide the same team to 15 consecutive European Cup/Champions League campaigns.

Udo Lattek

Born: February 9, 1928

Died: March 3, 2005

Nationality: Dutch

Career: 1965-1992

Teams Managed: Ajax, Barcelona, Netherlands, Los Angeles Aztecs, Köln, Bayer Leverkusen


Euro 1988: Netherlands

Eredivisie (Dutch league): Ajax 1965-66, 1066-67, 1967-68, 1969-70

KNVB Cup (Dutch Cup): Ajax 1966-67, 1969-70, 1970-71

Spanish La Liga: Barcelona 1973-74

Copa Del Rey: Barcelona 1978

European Cup: Ajax 1970-71

DFB-Pokal: Leverkusen 1983

Rinus Michels is probably the most influential tactician in football history. He is the only manager to reach the European Cup final with three clubs, taking Brugge to the 1978 final, where they were beaten by Liverpool. At the time of writing, he has never stayed at one club for more than 3 seasons. He tragically died while managing Scotland, just after securing Scotland’s place in a playoff for the 1986 World Cup.

Born: March 17, 1939

Nationality: Italian

Career: 1972-present

Teams Managed: AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Cagliari, Fiorentina, Benfica, Stuttgart, Red Bull Salzburg, Republic of Ireland


Italian Serie A: Juventus 1976-77, 1977-78, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1983-84, 1985-86; Inter Milan 1988-89

Coppa Italia: Juventus 1978-79, 1982-83

Supercoppa Italiana: Inter Milan 1989

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich 1996-97

DFB-Pokal: Bayern Munich 1997-98

DFB-Ligapokal (German League Cup): Bayern Munich 1996-97

Portuguese League: Benfica 2004-05

Austrian League: Red Bull Salzburg 2006-07

European Cup: Juventus 1984-85

UEFA Cup: Juventus 1976-77, 1992-93; Inter Milan 1990-91

UEFA Cup Winners Cup: Juventus 1984

UEFA Super Cup: Juventus 1984

Intercontinental Cup: Juventus 1985

Nations Cup: Republic of Ireland 2011

Giovanni Trappatoni is one of the most successful managers to be around. After winning his second European Cup, he asked the Benfica board for a raise, but was declined. Van Gaal is known for his development of youth players. Hiddink has also succeeded while working as a short-term coach, winning the Intercontinental trophy in a one-year spell with Real Madrid, and winning the FA Cup in a 4-month spell with Chelsea. The ultimate one-club man, Paisley remained at Liverpool as a player, physiotherapist, assistant manager (to the legendary Bill Shankly), manager, adviser, and director from 1939 to 1992 — a whopping 53 years!

Born: May 9, 1945

Nationality: German

Career: 1979-2013

Teams Managed: Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich, Athletic Bilbao, Eintracht Frankfurt, Tenerife, Real Madrid, Benfica, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen


German Bundesliga: Bayern Munich 1988-89, 1989-90, 2012-2013

DFL-Supercup (German Supercup): Bayern Munich 1987, 1990, 2012

Supercopa de España: Real Madrid 1997

UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid 1997-98; Bayern Munich 2012-13

UEFA Intertoto Cup: Schalke 2003, 2004

Heynckes is one of only 4 managers to win the Champions League with two different teams. Guttman was openly arrogant and brash. With his longtime assistant Peter Taylor, Clough took Derby County from the second division to the premier title in 5 years, before resigning from the post. After developing a core of young, talented Dutch players at Ajax, he continued with the policy, and notably brought forth current German internationals Thomas Muller and Holger Badstuber while at Bayern. Hitzfeld is thus a highly respected manager in Germany and Europe. On a lighter note, Trappatoni is notorious for his quirky, and often mistake-filled press conferences in the regional language of his clubs.

Born: April 10, 1910

Died: November 9, 1997

Nationality: Argentine

Career: 1944-1981

Teams Managed: Puteaux, Stade Francais, Real Valladolid, Atlético Madrid, Málaga, Deportivo de La Coruña, Sevilla, Belenenses, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Roma, Rimini


Spanish la Liga: Atlético Madrid 1949-50, 1950-51; Barcelona 1958-59, 1959-60

Copa Eva Duarte (Supercopa de España): Atlético Madrid 1950

Copa Del Rey: Barcelona 1958-59, 1980-81

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup: 1955-58, 1958-60

Italian Serie A: Inter Milan 1962-63, 1964-65, 1965-66

European Cup: Inter Milan 1963-64, 1964-65

Intercontinental Cup: Inter Milan 1963-64, 1964-65

Coppa Italia: Roma 1968-69

Helenio Herrera is notorious as the inventor of the catenaccio system, but his massive trophy haul is often not given due credit. The Barcelona team of the early ’90s comprising international and Spanish stars such as Romario, Hristo Stoichkov, Michael Laudrup, and Pep Guardiola, won the Spanish league in four successive seasons, and is known as the Dream Team. He is one of only 6 managers in history to lead his team to a League-Domestic Cup-European Cup treble, achieving it with PSV in 1987-88. This led to criticism when he was appointed at AC Milan (in spite of just having promoted Parma from the Italian third division), which Sacchi silenced by coining the famous phrase – “You don’t have to have been a horse to become a jockey”. These greats, however, definitely have their name carved in golden letters in the annals of soccer.

Born: January 26, 1963

Nationality: Portuguese

Career: 2000-present

Teams Managed: Benfica, União de Leiria, Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid


Portuguese Primeira Liga: Porto 2002-03, 2003-04

Taça de Portugal (Portuguese Cup): Porto 2002-03

Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira (Portuguese Super Cup): 2003

English Premier league: Chelsea 2004-05, 2005-06

FA Cup: Chelsea 2006-07

English League Cup: Chelsea 2004-05, 2006-07

FA Community Shield: Chelsea 2005

Italian Serie A: Inter Milan 2008-09, 2009-10

Coppa Italia (Italian Cup): Inter Milan 2009-10

Supercoppa Italiana (Italian Supercup): Inter Milan 2008

Spanish La Liga: Real Madrid 2011-12

Copa Del Rey (Spanish Cup): Real Madrid 2010-2011

Supercopa de España (Spanish Supercup): Real Madrid 2012-2013

UEFA Champions League Cup: Porto 2003-04; Inter Milan 2009-10

UEFA Cup: Porto 2002-03

Despite a relatively short career, José Mourinho is already being counted among the best managers in soccer history. The Ajax team of the 1970s was also similarly deadly against continental opposition, and won three successive European Cups, with Michels winning the first. Van Gaal is a self-confessed slow starter as a manager, and demands time to let his teams learn his way of playing. His stint as the coach of the Swiss national team has been relatively successful. When things go wrong, the manager is often the one who has to bear the brunt, even though it may not be his fault. Bosque spent 14 years as a player for Madrid, and started his coaching career with the Madrid ‘B’ team, Castilla. After ending his playing career at the latter, he was offered the post of assistant manager there. The administration system put in place by Cruyff at Barcelona is said to be the source of Barcelona’s current success. He won every major trophy available to a Dutch club, and then emulated Cruyff by moving to Barcelona. His name is synonymous with Manchester United’s rise in the English league, but he was a household name even before he signed for the English giants in 1986. The Inter team, in this famous period, came to be known as Grande Inter. Rehhagel used similar tactics and the famous motivational ability to inspire Kaiserslautern to the second and first division titles in successive years — a first in German football, and a general rarity.

These were 25 of the greatest managers in the history of the beautiful game. Shankly’s coaching team in the Boot Room included assistant Bob Paisley, who would succeed Shankly as Liverpool manager, and Joe Fagan, who in turn would replace Paisley.

Ernst Happel

Johan Cruyff

Born: April 1, 1946

Nationality: Italian

Career: 1985-2001

Teams Managed: Parma, AC Milan, Italy, Atlético Madrid


Italian Serie A: AC Milan 1987-88

Italian Serie C1: Parma 1986-87

Supercoppa Italiana: AC Milan 1988

European Cup: AC Milan 1988-89, 1989-90

European Supercup: AC Milan 1989, 1990

Intercontinental Cup: AC Milan 1989, 1990

Saachi is one of the very few managerial legends not to have played soccer professionally. He achieved qualification for the 2010 World Cup, where Switzerland were the only team to beat eventual champions Spain. In his playing days, he was a pioneer of ‘total football’, and used the same system in his managerial career to great effect. Inter’s defensive catenaccio system was so spectacularly overrun by Stein’s Celtic, that the Scottish team came to be known as ‘Lisbon Lions’, after the location of the match. He declined and chose to join United instead. On the international stage, he led England to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2010, and achieved qualification for Euro 2012, before resigning from the post over differences with the English FA just before the tournament proper.

Born: January 27, 1899

Died: August 28, 1981

Nationality: Hungarian

Career: 1933-1973

Teams Managed: Hakoah Vienna, Enschede, Újpest, Vasas, Ciocanul Bucharest, Budapest Honvéd, Padova, Triestina, Quilnes, APOEL, AC Milan, Vicenza, São Paulo, Porto, Benfica, Peñarol, Austria, Servette, Panathinaikos, Austria Vienna


Hungarian League: MTK Hungaria 1919-20, 1920-21; Újpest 1938-39, 1946-47

Austrian League: Hakoah Vienna 1924-25

Portuguese League: Porto 1958-59; Benfica 1959-60, 1960-61

Campeonato Paulista: São Paulo 1957

Portuguese Cup: Benfica 1961-62

Mitropa Cup: Újpest 1939

National Challenge Cup: New York Hakoah 1929

European Cup: Benfica 1960-61, 1961-62

Guttman was one of the first great ‘nomads’ of soccer. Excelling in this multifaceted job is no child’s play. He was promoted to the senior job in 1999, and led the club to several major trophies, before being sacked in 2003. Herrera is also known as a pioneer of psychological motivation techniques. Wenger, who espouses entertaining football, is credited with revolutionizing the Premier League. Clough is highly respected in the UK for his stunning achievements, and is often considered the greatest manager England never had.

World’s Greatest Soccer Managers of All Time

José Mourinho

Arrigo Sacchi

Born: March 2, 1886

Died: December 21, 1968

Nationality: Italian

Career: 1912-1948

Teams Managed: Italy, Torino, AC Milan


FIFA World Cup: Italy 1934, 1938

Central European International Cup: Italy 1927-1930, 1930-1935

Olympic Men’s Football: Italy 1936

Pozzo is, as yet, the only manager to win the World Cup twice. He has been voted as the best Scottish manager in history, beating the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, and the best Celtic manager ever. Something of a knockout specialist (in direct contrast to his successor at Milan, Fabio Capello), Sacchi is also one of the very few coaches to have won more European Cups than domestic leagues. Trappatoni is the only manager who has won the European Cup, UEFA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners Cup, European Supercup, and the Intercontinental Cup. The tactical flexibility afforded by the formation was strikingly effective against the established formations, and carried the Netherlands to successive World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978, though they lost both. The victory reaffirmed Rehhagel’s fame as one of the best motivators in the modern game. He is the first manager to win the European Cup with two clubs. He didn’t stay at any club but Benfica for more than two years; he stayed at the Portuguese giants for three! Despite winning numerous other trophies, Guttman is most closely associated with Benfica’s two European Cups, and his mentoring of the legendary Eusébio. With 49 major trophies, he is the most successful British manager of all time.

Giovanni Trappatoni

Rinus Michels

Louis van Gaal

Born: April 12, 1948

Nationality: Italian

Career: 1985-present

Teams Managed: Pontedera, Siena, Pistoiese, Carrarese, Cesena, Lucchese, Atalanta, Napoli, Juventus, Inter Milan, Italy, Guangzhou Evergrande


FIFA World Cup: Italy 2006

Italian Serie A: Juventus 1994-95, 1996-97, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2002-03

Coppa Italia: Juventus 1994-95

Supercoppa Italiana: Juventus 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003

Chinese Super League: Guangzhou Evergrande 2012

Chinese FA Cup: Guangzhou Evergrande 2012

UEFA Champions League: Juventus 1995-96

European Supercup: Juventus 1996

Intercontinental Cup: Juventus 1996

Marcello Lippi is the first manager to win top global honors in club and international football, winning the intercontinental cup with Juventus in 1996, and the World Cup with Italy 10 years later (this record is now shared with Vicente del Bosque). He remains a respected adviser to both Ajax and Barcelona.

Born: January 23, 1919

Died: February 14, 1996

Nationality: English

Career: 1974-1983

Teams Managed: Liverpool


English First Division: 1975-76, 1976-77, 1978-79, 1979-80, 1981-82, 1982-83

League Cup: 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83

FA Charity Shield (Community Shield): 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982

European Cup: 1976-77, 1977-78, 1980-81

UEFA Cup: 1975-76

UEFA Super Cup: 1977

Bob Paisley is one of the most successful managers of all time. He won the first hat-trick of league titles in German football, emulating the achievement in the next decade. Staying true to his quirky manner, Guttman immediately left and “cursed” Benfica that they would not win another European Cup in the next 100 years. Stein and Celtic were the first British manager and team, respectively, to win the European Cup, beating Helenio Herrera’s famous Grande Inter in the 1967 final. After winning numerous titles with Atlético Madrid and Barcelona, he joined Inter Milan, and heralded the greatest period in the club’s history. The only trophy he has failed to win is a domestic cup. On the other hand, when he succeeds, critics are often ready with arguments such as the owner’s financial strength, or the quality of the players themselves being responsible for the success.

Emerging from this maze of obstacles and being counted as one of the game’s legends takes an indomitable will, a knack of spotting talent, sound tactical acumen, and most importantly, the ability to motivate the players to perform to the best of their capabilities. He is a master of psychological battles, and is known as a master motivator. He led the club to promotion to the First Division in just 3 seasons, and won the premier league title just 2 years after promotion. Lippi’s coaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of team spirit, and he is a firm believer of the philosophy that the sum of 11 players working for the team produces better results than 11 better players working ‘for themselves’.

Born: October 22, 1949

Nationality: French

Career: 1984-present

Teams Managed: Nancy-Lorraine, AS Monaco, Nagoya Grampus Eight, Arsenal


French Ligue 1: Monaco 1987-88

Coupe de France: Monaco 1990-91

Emperor’s Cup: Nagoya Grampus 1995

J-League Super Cup: Nagoya Grampus 1996

English Premier League: Arsenal 1997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04

FA Cup: Arsenal 1997-98, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05

Community Shield: Arsenal 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004

Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal were the most successful and tenacious threat to Sir Alex Ferguson’s monopoly of the English Premier League. He is best remembered for his two spells with Juventus, the first being one of the most decorated eras of the team. He famously broke the Celtic-Rangers duopoly over the Scottish league, by winning the premier title with Aberdeen, and even claimed a continental trophy with the Scottish side. Shankly signed with Liverpool in 1959, and revolutionized the way the club was run, to the extent that within a year of his arrival, 24 players had been sold. Sacchi’s Milan remain the last team to retain the European Cup/Champions League.

Born: March 21, 1935

Died: September 20, 2004

Nationality: English

Career: 1965-1993

Teams Managed: Hartlepools United, Derby County, Brighton and Hove Albion, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest


English First Division: Derby County 1971-72; Nottingham Forest 1977-78

English Second Division: Derby County 1968-69

English League Cup: Nottingham Forest 1977-78, 1978-79, 1988-89, 1989-90

Anglo-Scottish Cup: Nottingham Forest 1976-77

European Cup: Nottingham Forest 1978-79. His Champions League victory with Dortmund was the first in the club’s history, while Bayern hadn’t won the prestigious title for 35 years before 2001. He is one of only 5 managers to have won league titles in 4 countries, and Happel and José Mourinho are the only two managers in history to win the league and a domestic cup in 4 countries. After a mediocre spell at Brighton and a disastrous 44-day tenure as the manager of Leeds United, Clough joined second division strugglers Nottingham Forest. He took South Korea and Australia to their first ever knockout rounds in World Cups, incredibly reaching the semifinals with the former in 2002. Despite the lack of longevity, Mourinho is already one of the most successful managers ever; He and Earnst Happel are the only two managers in the history of the game to have won league and domestic cup honors in 4 countries. He put up inspirational quotes in the dressing rooms and around the ground, and had his players recite them as they trained.

Born: December 23, 1950

Nationality: Spanish

Career: 1999-present

Teams Managed: Real Madrid Castilla, Real Madrid, Be?ikta?, Spain


FIFA World Cup: Spain 2010

UEFA European Championship: Spain 2012

Spanish La Liga: Real Madrid 2000-01, 2002-03

Supercopa de España: Real Madrid 2001

Copa Iberoamericana: Real Madrid 1994

UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid 1999-2000, 2001-02

UEFA Super Cup: Real Madrid 2002

Intercontinental Cup: Real Madrid 2002

Having won the Spanish league, the Champions League, the Intercontinental Cup, Euro 2012, and the World Cup 2010, del Bosque comes closest to the ‘insurmountable obstacle’ mentioned above. His name is primarily associated with the meteoric rise of Derby County and Nottingham Forest. In 2004, Wenger’s Arsenal made history by becoming the first team to go an entire season unbeaten since Preston North End in the inaugural season of the English League in 1888. He has played or managed over 1,000 games in the Bundesliga, making him only the second, and as yet last man to achieve this milestone (after Otto Rehhagel).

Sir Alex Ferguson

Otto Rehhagel

Bill Shankly

Born: January 12, 1949

Nationality: German

Career: 1983-present

Teams Managed: Zug, Aarau, Grasshopper, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Switzerland


Swiss Super League: Grasshopper 1989-90, 1990-91

Swiss Cup: Aarau 1985; Grasshopper 1989, 1990

Swiss Supercup: Grasshopper 1989

Bundesliga: Dortmund 1994-95, 1995-96; Bayern Munich 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2007-08

DFB-Pokal: Bayern Munich 1999-00, 2002-03, 2007-08

DFB-Ligapokal: Bayern Munich 1998, 1999, 2000, 2007

DFL-Supercup: Dortmund 1995, 1996

UEFA Champions League: Dortmund 1996-97; Bayern Munich 2000-01

Intercontinental Cup: Bayern Munich 2001

Hitzfeld is one of only four managers to have won the UEFA Champions League with two clubs

Posted August 18th, 2015 in Uncategorized.

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