10 Greatest Football Managers of all time

Modified 10 Aug 2020
Top 5 / Top 10

#8 Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is a tactical genius
Pep Guardiola is a tactical genius

Pep Guardiola has become the torchbearer for the evolution of football in the modern era. The Catalan manager has experienced extraordinary success with his revolutionary methods and will likely go down in history as the most successful coach to have ever graced the beautiful game.

Guardiola's tactical nous stems from his time as a player in Johan Cruyff's legendary 'Dream Team' at Barcelona. The Dutch tactician instilled a powerful sense of identity in Pep Guardiola and relied on his midfield pivot to study his opponents on the pitch.

Pep Guardiola took over a struggling Barcelona side in 2008 and transformed them into treble-winners in the span of a season. The likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta thrived in a Barcelona side that is widely considered the best club team in history.

The Catalan manager won three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies in four years at Barcelona and also went on to win league titles with Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Pep Guardiola is only 49 years of age and may well find himself much higher up on this list at the end of his career.

#7 Sir Matt Busby

Matt Busby is a Manchester United legend
Matt Busby is a Manchester United legend

Sir Matt Busby finds himself behind only one other Scottish legend in Manchester United's extraordinary list of great managers. The Red Devils owe more of their success over the years to Busby's mythical tenure at Manchester United. Over a span of 25 years, Sir Matt Busby led Manchester United to five league titles and its first European Cup.

Formerly a Liverpool and Manchester City player, Sir Matt Busby signed on as Manchester United's head coach after disagreements with the Liverpool board. The Scotsman was an excellent man-manager and assembled the legendary 'Busby Babes' - a team that would dominate English football and win three league titles before the tragic Munich air disaster.

Sir Matt Busby lost many of his star players to the Munich tragedy and had to rebuild most of his side after 1958. The Manchester United legend launched the careers of Bobby Charlton and Denis Law and went on to win two more league titles with his new-look Manchester United side.

#6 Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley is a Liverpool legend
Bob Paisley is a Liverpool legend

Bill Shankly may have laid Liverpool's strong foundations and offered the club a powerful launchpad but his faithful student Bob Paisley arguably exceeded both his expectations and his achievements. Paisley was appointed as Liverpool's manager after Shankly's retirement and took the Merseyside giants to astronomical heights in England and in Europe.

The Red did experience success in the league with Bill Shankly but under Bob Paisley, Liverpool became arguably the best team in England and in Europe. Over a period of nine years at the club, Bob Paisley won six league titles and an incredible three European Cups and made Liverpool the most successful English club in Europe's premier competition.

The likes of Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, and Graeme Souness became Liverpool legends under the great manager and went on to enjoy fruitful careers at Anfield. Bob Paisley is widely considered as the best manager in Liverpool history.

#5 Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff transformed football
Johan Cruyff transformed football

Of all the names on this list, Johan Cruyff has arguably had the biggest impact on modern football as we know it. Cruyff is also the only name that is likely to be present on lists of the best players and the best managers of all time.

The Dutch manager was the heart and soul of every team he played for and led a tactical revolution that stunned teams across Europe. In addition to being the greatest player of his time, Johan Cruyff learnt his trade as a manager from the legendary Rinus Michels and championed the philosophies of 'Total Football'.

After gaining valuable experience with Ajax at the start of his managerial career, Cruyff moved to crisis-hit FC Barcelona and revolutionised the administration of the club. The Dutch legend brought in the likes of Pep Guardiola, Hristo Stoichkov, and Romario and won four consecutive La Liga titles and a European Cup with Barcelona's 'Dream Team.'

Johan Cruyff's 'Juego de Posicion' philosophy prioritised space on the football pitch and finds application across European teams today. The likes of Pep Guardiola, Marcelo Bielsa, and Tito Vilanova have championed the Dutch manager's legendary teachings and claim that he is the most important figure in the history of the game.

Also Read: Top 5 Barcelona performances in the Champions League

Published 10 Aug 2020
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