A kingdom needs a king to execute orders to their generals to win wars. In the same way, a football team requires a manager to lead them to glory. A manager’s role may seem as simple to the public, but the pressures that come with the job are something that only can relate to.
During a manager’s term at a club, they have to meet the expectations of many people. These people can be the administrators, players, staff, or even the fans who spend a pretty penny on a season pass to support their teams.
To meet their expectations, managers have to keep the consistency of form from stagnating. To do that, he/she needs time to understand the workings of each player.
By doing that, they come to a conclusion on how to utilize their players to the best of their capabilities. Without a manager, players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would have never been the G.O.A.T they are today.
Like any other role in football, managers have a variety, and they fall into two categories.
One is a manager who receives a competent team ready to face and overcome any obstacle. The other category falls upon managers who prefer teams with raw talent and just need someone to sharpen them with time and effort.
Following a shift in time and change, managers have chosen to forego the first category. Thus, their path to the second category begins, and their achievements feel more fulfilling.
The managers who have made this change in their path have found themselves in the list mentioned below.
But, before that, a few names missing from the list by a narrow margin need to be addressed.
The Honorable mentions are:
1. Zinedine Zidane:
For a footballer to shine as a player and as a manager is no mean feat. For the same player to achieve both at their former club can be deemed as a massive achievement.
50 – This will be Zinedine Zidane’s 🇫🇷 50th game as a manager in the @ChampionsLeague. The @realmadriden boss has won 30 of his first 49, while the only manager to have won more through their first 50 games in the competition is Josef Heynckes 🇩🇪 (32). Celebration. pic.twitter.com/CTlHLYgHNh
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 6, 2021
Zidane Zidane, fortunately, belongs to such a classification. Zizou’s talent as a player won him many laurels. But now, as the manager of Real Madrid who played during two different terms, the Frenchman had won the Champions League for the same number of times as he did when he donned the white jersey of Los Blancos.
If doing that does not make him a great manager, then nothing else will.
2. Diego Simeone:
Another great player and manager, however, Simeone has one-upped Zizou because he pushes his players for a better result all the time. Simeone’s suit and physique would often make people misunderstand him for a mafia boss, yet his quality as a manager cannot be underestimated.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 13, 2020
During his fifteen years as a manager, Simeone has won the Champions League only once. Yet, his players trust his process because of the vast experience the Argentinian has under his belt.
3. Giovanni Trapatonni:
The last name to be honored on the list happens to be Giovanni Trapattoni.
Who is he?
Trapatonni is that manager who did what most other managers can only dream about. He successfully managed two of Italy’s biggest clubs and did so in a manner that made his name appear on this list.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 17, 2018
The achievements he accumulated accounted for seven Serie A titles, and of them, he won six with Juventus and one with AC Milan. In short, he proved that regardless of the team, his tactics will win them the league title.
The list for the Top 10 Best Managers of All Time shall commence now, and the manager who finds himself at number 10:
#10. Antonio Conte:
For Chelsea fans, he fits the term ‘one season wonder’ that most newspapers use to describe players with short-term success as he fell down to his doom in the following season, after a promising debut season.
Nonetheless, in his short term with the Blues, he won three Premier League manager of the month awards consecutively, thus creating history as the first manager to have achieved the milestone.
Ancelotti secured the double by winning the Premier League and the FA Cup in his debut season with the Londoners. But he had won awards of such prominence in his days as the manager of Juventus as well.
Now, he is on track to win his fourth season at the San Siro with Inter Milan, whose reemergence gives significant credit to the Italian, and they have the talent to win the Champions League next season.
#9. Jurgen Klopp:
If Conte belonged to the first category of managers and transitioned to the second, Klopp always belonged to the second category, who believe that challenges make a manager’s victory that much sweeter.
Klopp came to be known first as the manager who shocked the big shots in the Bundesliga with a mediocre team like Main 05. In the 2003-04 2.Bundesliga (second tier) season, the German-made a terrific charge with Die Nullfünfer and gained promotion for them to the Bundesliga.
From then on, the career of Klopp can be seen as a climb up the ladder because the relegation of Mainz gave Klopp the chance to take up the head coach role at Borussia Dortmund.
With BVB, Klopp came close to winning the Champions League during the 2012-13 season, and his failure to do that triggered talks of a move away. Soon his wish came true, and he moved to Liverpool.
The move to Liverpool gave Jurgen the break he needed, and he has won the Champions League and Premier League with the reds in six years. His time at Liverpool now may be a question mark (due to current league position). However, the fans and his players refuse to leave the German’s side.
#8. Carlo Ancelotti:
Carlo Ancelotti has spent his time with the biggest clubs in the world. The identity that he left at the clubs he managed granted him the praises of his successors when they took over.
Of all the clubs he has graced with his presence, AC Milan holds a special place in his heart. We can state the reason for it he announced to the world his arrival in Milan. At the San Siro, he won the Serie just once. Nonetheless, he accommodated that by winning the Champions League on two occasions in the 2002-03 and 2006-07 seasons.
This dominance came under Chelsea’s observation, and they took him under their wing in the year 2009. The Blues recruited him to replace Luiz Felipe Scolari (after the Brazilian had a disappointing season).
In just under a season, Ancelotti won the double with Chelsea in his first season (like another Italian) and repaid the trust shown to him by the Londoners.
Though his start had been great, he did not stay for long, and Carlo left Chelsea soon enough in 2011. The next venture for him came two years later at the Santiago Bernabeau, and with Real Madrid, he won the Champions League for the third and final time. Now Ancelotti heads up Everton, and they seem to be entirely rejuvenated under the Italian, with a Champions League qualification possible for the next season.
#7. Arrigo Sacchi:
The third Italian on the list and by far the best compared to others.
Arrigo Sacchi existed as an international manager during the years of Bobby Robson and Glenn Hoddle. Leading a national side who had won the FIFA World Cup three times, Sachi came into the 1994 FIFA World Cup to add a fourth.
After the first loss to the Republic of Ireland in their first round of the tournament and a challenging group stage, Sacchi led his team on an unbeaten run to the finals of the tournament.
There Gli Azzuri succumbed to a defeat against Brazil on penalties and threw water on the hopes of a WC title for Sacchi. But, he did not get disappointed as at the club, he has achieved the equivalent of the Cup (European Cup- 1988-89 and 1989-90).
#6. Bob Paisley:
Liverpool has seen their fair share of talented managers before Jurgen Klopp, with names like Gerard Houllier, Bill Shankly, and Kenny Dalglish. Of these names, Bob Paisley would be placed at the top for the tactics that he possessed that helped the Merseyside Reds win many laurels in his fifteen years at Anfield.
During his tenure, the Englishman won the European Cup three times and the Premier League six times between 1976 and 1983.
For a manager to have achieved this at Liverpool is a feat on its own.
#5. Johan Cruyff:
Legend. Hero. Statement-maker
These three words best describe Johan Cruyff as a player. Then he turned into a manager who met the criteria of those three words as well. The player turned manager decided to visit his old stomping grounds.
In Cruyff’s visit to his old joints, he first took the manager role with Ajax. Unfortunately, the former Dutch striker could not fire his former club to any significant trophies.
Then came his most awaited move to Barcelona, and with the Blaugrana, Cruyff saw better days. At the Camp Nou, he won the La-Liga title four times in a row and then led Barcelona to win the UCL title in the 1991-92 season.
#4. Pep Guardiola:
In comparison to Cruyff, Guardiola never became a big star when he plied his trade as a professional football player. But, after his retirement, he took on the role of coach for Barcelona’s B division.
His success soon caught the attention of the heads at Barcelona, and when Frank Rijkaard bid adieu to the Spanish Giants, Guardiola received a promotion.
As Barcelona’s head coach, Pep led his team to the La Liga title win in his debut season. The season did not end there for Guardiola as he won two more trophies and thus secured the treble.
As a manager who won the treble in his first season, the Spaniard received many managers and players’ adulations. Being under such pressure would have made any other manager lose their stability, but Pep kept his cool.
Through his calm but stern demeanor, the Spanish manager won La Liga consecutively for five seasons. Pep even opened his Champions League account by recording two titles in his time with the Catalans.
Pep then received an offer to manage Bayern Munich, and after taking over, he won the Bundesliga for three seasons straight. Though, a lack of Champions League and the need for a new challenge pushed him to move to England with Manchester City.
With City, he won the Premier League title twice, and then soon Pep, the manager, had more fans than Guardiola, the player.
#3. Jose Mourinho:
A manager of the same mold as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho took a newly formed FC Porto side to the Champions League finals in the 2003-04 season against Monaco and beat them 3-0.
After this win, the Portuguese manager proclaimed himself as the special one.
Chelsea, who were a part of the Champions League campaign, paid a considerable amount and brought the ‘special one’ to Stamford bridge in the 2004-05 season.
For the next three seasons, Mourinho proved his worth by winning the Premier League in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. But, his attitude could not be entertained at Stamford Bridge, and he left the Londoners for fresher pastures and soon found his next calling at Inter Milan.
At the San Siro, Jose once again won the Champions League in the 2009-10 season. Thus he proved that Chelsea made a mistake in sacking him.
However, he returned to Chelsea in the year 2013, he led the Blues to his last and final EPL title, showing everyone just how good Chelsea really is.
#2. Arsene Wenger:
Manager of Nagoya Grampus Eight???
Who is that?
When Arsenal legend Bruce Rioch said his final goodbyes to the fans at Highbury, questions lingered in the mind of the fans.
Who will take over as the manager of Arsenal?
The answer came to be in the form of a French manager who leads a Japanese team by Nagoya Grampus’s name in the J league. The revelation of the new manager resulted in pure contempt from the Gooners.
Though Wenger received admonishments, he kept his head high and decided to prove the Gunners supporters wrong in the first season itself.
By the time Wenger had finished, Arsenal had secured the third position, placing them just out of the UCL Q/F spots. However, the following season came to be more fruitful for the Frenchman as his recruitment of specific player’s pushed his time to give Wenger his first taste of the Premier League.
From then on, the Frenchman led his team to two more EPL titles, with the last one making history since Wenger and his mean achieved an invincible season courtesy of a 49 games unbeaten run in the 2003-05 EPL season.
After that, Arsenal failed to win further PL titles until Wenger’s departure remained trophy-less in that department, despite winning countless FA CUP trophies.
#1. Sir Alex Fergurson:
The man to crack the top of the pyramid is none other than the Englishman who received the knighthood purely for his contributions to football, Sir Alex Ferguson.
When he first set foot into Old Trafford, he had one set path of thinking: creating a Manchester United team that fit the model he had in his mind.
For this, he first introduced Fergies Fledglings to the world, and the player that comprised of the fledglings included Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, and Paul Scholes, etc.
They thus made the foundation of the success envisioned by Ferguson and helped the Englishman secure twelve Premier League titles, five FA Cup trophies, and two UCL titles.
Though the trophies stood as proof that Fergie is a great manager, his real achievement came in the way that he motivated young players and challenged them to take over the spots of more established players. This level of competitiveness that he showcased places him on top of the list.
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