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5 top European sides and their greatest-ever managers

Arsene Wenger is Arsenal
Arsene Wenger is Arsenal's greatest ever manager
Omene Osuya
Modified 22 Dec 2018
Top 5 / Top 10

If a football coach from the early 50s were to be brought back today, his first feeling will probably be one of shock.

Coaching a football team nowadays is radically different from what it used to be. The advent of technology, sports science and data have revolutionized the sport. Now, it's not uncommon to hear about professionals like data analysts or nutritionists et al being actively involved in football teams.

This has given rise to the era of the nomadic super-coach: men whose early successes have led them to constantly being invited to take the top jobs in European football.

In this category, you have the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti amongst others (Jurgen Klopp may soon join this pantheon).

However, the old cliche about things changing a lot and yet remaining the same still rings true. Coaches are still the most important element that determines a team's success or failure.

Lots of top European sides owe their present status to great coaches. These often-underappreciated men have played significant roles in building the pedestal these sides currently occupy.

Here is a look at 5 top clubs and the coaches who have made the most impact till date;

#5 Valeriy Lobanovskyi (Dynamo Kiev)

Lobanovskyi is believed to be the greatest coach to ever come out of Eastern Europe
Lobanovskyi is believed to be the greatest coach to ever come out of Eastern Europe

It may strike some readers as odd that a team like Dynamo Kiev is in a list of top European clubs. However, that would mean that such readers are unaware of the club's rich pedigree. A pedigree that is mostly down to the genius of the great Lobanovskyi


Competing in the then Soviet League, the Ukranian giants were in the shadows of the richer, better-funded Russian sides, the Moscow giants; Spartak, Dynamo, and CSKA. This was until the return of Lobanovskyi as a manager to the club he represented very well as a player.

The native of Kiev was a man ahead of his time. Collaborating with the dean of the Dnipropetrovsk Institute of Physical Sciences at that time, Anatoly Zelentso, Lobanovskyi used computer simulations, videos, and physical profiling to create an unstoppable juggernaut.

Like the Total Football of Rinus Michel, Lobanovskyi's system required players to be smart enough to play in a variety of positions while always pressing the opponent (the forerunner to Klopp's gegenpressing style).

His hard-running, technically gifted Dynamo Kiev side took to his tactics like a fish to water. Before his arrival, the team had won just one league title. In his 20 years at the club (over three different spells), he won 28 trophies including two UEFA Cup Winners Cups and a UEFA Super Cup.

The "Father of Ukranian Football" also led an unfancied Soviet Union side all the way to the final of the 1988 European Championship.

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Published 22 Dec 2018, 17:22 IST
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