Ralph Rangnick – Image source: xtranews.de, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
To be a successful football club, you need great leaders as well beside talented players. Sporting directors have one of the most important roles as they are responsible for managing the teams and signing new players. The best sporting directors in football also know a lot about business and can make a real difference just like the following experts did.
The sporting director position is relatively a recent role at most football clubs. Their main responsibility is to be a bridge between the owners and the players, managers. They need very good communication skills but also extensive knowledge of business in order to make beneficial decisions. Like when they sign a new player or extend a contract. The directors also deal with sponsorships and other financial matters. So it is a very complex role and it’s crucial for the top clubs to have a great sporting director. But even smaller clubs can benefit from a great one like we can see in the next examples.
Best sporting directors in football
5. Ralph Rangnick (RB Leipzig)
The former coach of Stuttgart, Hannover and Schalke 04, Ralph Rangnich became the sporting director of RB Leipzig in 2012. Since then his decisions helped the club to rise to the best clubs in Germany and even in Europe. He is fantastic to spot young talents like he has done with Naby Keita, Sadio Mane or Joshua Kimmich. While he could also sell them with huge profits later. Rangnick is also great in the signing of managers as he brought to the club Ralph Hassenhuttl in 2016 who led the team to the second place in the Bundesliga.
Then in 2019 Rangnick signed Julian Nagelsmann who was only 32 at that time. It proved to be a great decision as the club has already achieved huge successes under him. Like reaching the semi-finals in last year’s Champions League. Rangnick has also developed a new youth system and made huge profits for the club. Which is in the favorites to win the Bundesliga this season by online sportsbooks in Germany.
4. Michael Edwards (Liverpool)
Fans of Liverpool could witness great changes in the last few years at the club. All starting with the appointment of Michael Edwards as the director of football four years ago. The 39-year-old was a former player and analyst at Portsmouth where he has learnt his trade. After joining Liverpool in 2016, he signed the current stars of the team from Mohamed Salah to Virgil van Dijk. At the same time he has also made several great sales with huge profits like Philippe Coutinho’s transfer to FC Barcelona for £105 million.
Liverpool have also become one of the best brands in the world thanks to his commercial decisions and the latest triumphs. As the club won the Champions League in 2019 and last year the Premier League after 30 years of their last victory. Even though the Reds have been struggling a bit this season, they’ve just defeated RB Leipzig 2-0 in the Champions League. Where online gambling sites in Germany expect Bayern Munich in the final along with the next club.
3. Txiki Begiristain (Manchester City)
Staying in England we have another key member of an English club in the best sporting directors in football. Manchester City’s sporting director, Txiki Begiristain. The Catalan expert had a great career as a player of Real Sociedad and FC Barcelona where he won four La Liga titles. He became the director of football at Barcelona in 2003 and had an important role to bring Pep Guardiola as the manager of the team. He spent 7 years at the Catalans who won everything then before moving to Manchester City. Txiki had similar influence at his new club where he could bring Guardiola too. Since then City have won three Premier League titles and can win their fourth one this season. Thanks to their new, tiki-taka style and the great signings of Kevin de Bruyne or Raheem Sterling who are both key members of the team.
2. Michael Zorc (Borussia Dortmund)
One of the most successful sporting directors is Michael Zorc, who managed to make a top European team from Borussia Dortmund. The former player of the club with 463 appearances in 17 years. He has become sporting director after his retirement in 1998. Since then the club has won three Bundesliga titles and two Cup trophies. And also reached the final of the 2013 Champions League. Top managers like Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchell have worked here. Along with players like Mario Gotze, Thomas Hummels or Ilkay Gundogan. But Zorc spotted Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele or Jadon Sancho as well who is one of the most promising young players right now. He could sell all of these great players with big profits and earn millions for the club.
1. Guiseppe Marotta (Inter)
Giuseppe Marotta joined Juventus in 2010 when the club was facing a tough period. The Zebras were relegated to Serie B a few years earlier due to their match fixing scandal. And even though they returned back to the top division after just one season, the club wasn’t on the same level as before. But with the arrival of Marotta and the signing of 14 new players, a new chapter has begun.
He also brought Antonio Conte as the new manager. And signed players like Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Sami Khedira for free. While Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez or Andrian Barzagli joined the club on a very cheap deal. The Old Lady has won the Serie A since then in all seasons, while Marotta joined Inter in 2018. Where he continued his great work. Thanks to his great signings the club has become a huge candidate for winning the 2020-21 Serie A title.