Best Football Managers of All Time

  • Italian manager Arrigo Sacchi made one of the best teams from Milan
  • Ajax manager Rinus Michels invented Total Football
  • Sir Alex Ferguson won 48 trophies during his career

To manage a football team is never easy, especially on the top level, where teams are full of superstars with really big egos. The following coaches all managed to make a great team from them, achieved big successes and were treated with respect by the players and fans as well. Let’s see the best football managers of all time in history, in no particular order. 

It’s not easy to compare managers of different teams playing in different football eras, from the early times to the most recent years. But they have many common things no matter when they’ve worked. They all made their teams successful and world famous. The following managers also introduced new tactics, training methods or ideology, which affected the whole world of football. Most of them won several tournaments and cups during their careers, but it wasn’t the only reason their work was recognized. 

Italian legends in the best football managers of all time

Marcello Lippi | Marcello Lippi al Teatro Pavone IJF10 23.04… | Flickr
Marcello Lippi – Image via Flickr

Marcello Lippi had his first managerial successes at Napoli, which he led to an UEFA place in the 1993-94 season. Then he joined Juventus and spent 5 great seasons there. He guided the team to three Serie A and one Coppa Italia titles. The club also won the Champions League under him in the 1995-96 season. In his coaching philosophy Lippi emphasized the importance of team spirit, where all the players play for each other and not for themselves. His biggest result was probably to lead the Italian national team to victory in the 2006 World Cup. 

Arrigo Sacchi was the manager of one of the greatest teams of football history, AC Milan between 1987 and 1991. He won the Serie A in his first season with the team, followed by two victories in the European Cup in 1989 and 1990. It wasn’t only the result but also the style of the team which amazed the fans and experts. Sacchi believed in the Dutch methods, when all players could play in every position. He invented high pressing which was later followed by many other coaches. Sacchi was also the manager of the national team which reached the final in the 1994 World Cup but lost there against Brazil. Brazil has the odds of 8.00 to win the next World Cup in 2022 on Unibet. 

Great managers from Iberia

To jump a few years ahead we can meet two superb managers who are still active. Jose Mourinho and his big rival, Pep Guardiola. The Portuguese has an incredible record, as he won the local championships with four different clubs, in four different countries. Plus twice the Champions League and once the Europa League. He made a winning team from any team he worked with from Porto to Inter, always using the best strategy against the opponents. His main focus is usually on defending, so his teams don’t play the nicest football but they were all very effective. At the moment he is the manager of Tottenham Hotspurs, but the team is far from becoming champions right now. 

Pep Guardiola has already met Mourinho several times, in different leagues and competitions. The Spanish trainer is as successful as his rival, he won the La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Premier League with his actual teams, which were all top teams. Guardiola probably reached his biggest successes with Barcelona where he also played earlier. He won two Champions League titles with them in 2009 and 2011. He made a team which is considered as one of the best of all time, playing a very entertaining and effective football. Guardiola is using the same tactics at his other clubs as well, now at Manchester City. 

The Dutch master

In the best football managers of all time we have to mention two great managers from the Netherlands. First a real legend, whose impact on football can still be seen today. It’s Rinus Michels, the manager of the great Ajax team in the 1970s and the creator of the ideology, Total Football. Michels thought that every player should be able to play in every position and switch to a different position. He used this tactic at Ajax when the team won the European Cup in 1971. Also at his other club, FC Barcelona during their La Liga title. 

Michels was appointed as the manager of the Netherlands national team in 1974, and he reached the World Cup final in 1974. In few years later he achieved the country’s biggest success so far. His team won the European Championship in 1988. Online gambling sites in the Netherlands are hoping for similar success in 2021 Euros where the team is in the favorites with the odds of 8.00

Football, Barcelona Fc, Camp Nou, Aston Villa, Fan
Barcelona stadium

The Young Follower

Johann Cruyff was the most important member of Michels’ teams at Ajax, Barcelona and the national team. Cruyff won the Golden Ball in the 1974 World Cup and the Ballon D’or three times. After his career as a player, he also became a great manager, working for Ajax and Barcelona. He was a big supporter of building youth academies at the clubs and using local talents. Cruyff pieced together the Dream Team in Barcelona which won the European Cup. His ideas like the 3-4-3 formation and the importance of ball possession changed football.  They are still used by various managers as online sportsbooks news in the Netherlands are mentioning. 

The Scottish genius

Most experts would say that he is the No1 from the best football managers of all time. Sir Alex Ferguson won 38 major trophies in his 27 years at Manchester United, including 13 Premier League, 5 FA Cup and 2 Champions League titles. He built several great teams in Manchester from different sets of players between 1986 and 2013. What is less known is that he also managed Scottish side Aberdeen earlier. He won three Scottish titles and the European Cup Winner’s Cup in 1983 with the club. 

But he reached his biggest successes with United where he is still loved by the fans. Nothing shows his greatness more than after his retirement, the club is still struggling to find his replacement. Even though they tried several different managers in the last few years. Manchester United is currently in 5th place in the Premier League under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

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