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Debating with your friends who’s the best soccer coach?

Sir Alex Ferguson, JosΓ© Mourinho or Pep Guardiola?

Here is our list of the best soccer coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Soccer Coaches:

  1. Sir Alex Ferguson
  2. JosΓ© Mourinho
  3. Pep Guardiola
  4. Brian Clough
  5. Carlo Ancelotti
  6. Johan Cruyff
  7. Rinus Michels
  8. Arrigo Sacchi
  9. Franz Beckenbauer
  10. Giovanni Trapattoni
  11. Ernst Happel

#1 Sir Alex Ferguson

  • πŸ† Achievements: 38 trophies with Manchester United
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1974–2013
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: East Stirlingshire, St Mirren, Aberdeen, Scotland, Manchester United
  • 🌐 Nationality: Scottish

At Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues. His 26-year reign at United is celebrated for the consistent dominance in English and European football.

Ferguson’s mastery in building teams across different football eras, highlighted by his nurturing of young talents like the iconic “Class of ’92”, set the foundation for Manchester United’s sustained success.

His success made him a legendary figure in the sport. Ferguson transformed Manchester United into a global brand.

#2 JosΓ© Mourinho

  • πŸ† Achievements: Multiple league titles in England, Spain, Italy, and Portugal; 2 UEFA Champions Leagues
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 2000–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Benfica, UniΓ£o de Leiria, Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, AS Roma
  • 🌐 Nationality: Portuguese

JosΓ© Mourinho, known as “The Special One”, is celebrated for his tactical acumen and psychological mastery in football.

He has won league titles in four different countries and clinched the UEFA Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan. Mourinho’s approach is characterized by a pragmatic style of play and exceptional management of star players.

His notable achievements include transforming Porto into European champions and leading Inter Milan to a historic treble in 2010.

#3 Pep Guardiola

  • πŸ† Achievements: Multiple league titles in Spain, Germany, and England; 2 UEFA Champions Leagues
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 2007–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Barcelona B, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City
  • 🌐 Nationality: Spanish

Pep Guardiola is renowned for his revolutionary tactics and emphasis on possession-based play.

His tenure at Barcelona resulted in an era of dominance both domestically and in Europe, including winning the UEFA Champions League twice.

At Bayern Munich and Manchester City, Guardiola continued his success, adapting his style and dominating domestic leagues.

#4 Brian Clough

  • πŸ† Achievements: 2 European Cups with Nottingham Forest; multiple domestic titles
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1965–1993
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Hartlepools United, Derby County, Brighton & Hove Albion, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest
  • 🌐 Nationality: English

Brian Clough is remembered as one of football’s greatest personalities and an exceptional manager.

His most remarkable achievement was leading Nottingham Forest to back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980.

Known for his outspoken and charismatic style, Clough had a unique ability to motivate his players and maximize their potential.

#5 Carlo Ancelotti

  • πŸ† Achievements: 3 UEFA Champions Leagues; multiple domestic league titles in Italy, England, France, Germany, and Spain
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1995–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Reggiana, Parma, Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Napoli, Everton
  • 🌐 Nationality: Italian

Carlo Ancelotti is one of the most successful and respected coaches in football history.

Known for his tactical flexibility and calm demeanor, Ancelotti has won the UEFA Champions League three times, along with numerous domestic titles across Europe’s top leagues.

Ancelotti’s ability to manage star-studded squads and adapt to various football cultures is exemplary.

#6 Johan Cruyff

  • πŸ† Achievements: 3 European Cups; multiple league titles in Spain and the Netherlands
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1985–2016
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Ajax, Barcelona
  • 🌐 Nationality: Dutch

Johan Cruyff was not just a revolutionary player but also an influential coach who changed the way football is played.

His philosophy, known as “Total Football,” was characterized by high pressing and fluid positional interchanges.

As a coach, he led Barcelona to their first European Cup in 1992 and laid the foundations for the club’s future successes.

#7 Rinus Michels

  • πŸ† Achievements: 1 European Cup; 1 UEFA Super Cup; multiple domestic titles
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1960–1992
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Ajax, Barcelona, Los Angeles Aztecs, Cologne, Netherlands
  • 🌐 Nationality: Dutch

Rinus Michels, often credited as the father of “Total Football,” was a pioneering figure in modern football.

His management of the Netherlands national team and clubs like Ajax and Barcelona left a lasting imprint on the sport. Michels’ teams were known for their fluid playing style and tactical flexibility, showcasing football as both an art and a science.

He led the Netherlands to the 1988 European Championship, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest football tacticians.

#8 Arrigo Sacchi

  • πŸ† Achievements: 2 European Cups; 2 UEFA Super Cups; 1 Intercontinental Cup
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1974–2001
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Parma, AC Milan, Italy, AtlΓ©tico Madrid
  • 🌐 Nationality: Italian

Arrigo Sacchi revolutionized Italian football with his non-Italian philosophy of pressing and collective play.

His tenure at AC Milan is most notable, where he led the club to two consecutive European Cups in 1989 and 1990. Sacchi’s AC Milan is often cited as one of the greatest football teams ever, known for their dominant style and tactical discipline.

He also took Italy to the 1994 World Cup final, showcasing his adaptability and tactical nous on the international stage.

#9 Franz Beckenbauer

  • πŸ† Achievements: Bundesliga titles; 1 UEFA Cup; 1 World Cup as manager
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1974–1996
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: West Germany, Marseille, Bayern Munich
  • 🌐 Nationality: German

Franz Beckenbauer, known as “Der Kaiser,” successfully transitioned from a legendary player to a highly successful coach.

He led West Germany to World Cup glory in 1990, becoming one of the few individuals to win the tournament both as a player and a coach.

His influence on German football is immense, having shaped the national team’s playing style for years.

#10 Giovanni Trapattoni

  • πŸ† Achievements: Multiple league titles in Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Austria; 1 European Cup; UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup; 3 UEFA Cups
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1974–2013
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Fiorentina, Benfica, Stuttgart, Salzburg, Republic of Ireland
  • 🌐 Nationality: Italian

Giovanni Trapattoni, one of the most successful club coaches in history, is renowned for his tactical knowledge and ability to win.

With a career spanning over four decades, he has won numerous domestic and international titles, particularly with Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Trapattoni’s teams were known for their tactical discipline, resilience, and ability to perform in big matches.

#11 Ernst Happel

  • πŸ† Achievements: 2 European Cups; multiple league titles in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1962–1992
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: ADO Den Haag, Feyenoord, Club Brugge, Hamburger SV, Swarovski Tirol, Austria
  • 🌐 Nationality: Austrian

Ernst Happel was a highly respected coach known for his strategic acumen and innovative tactics. He led Feyenoord to their first European Cup in 1970 and repeated the feat with Hamburger SV in 1983.

Happel’s approach to the game was characterized by flexibility and an emphasis on teamwork.

His ability to transform teams into European contenders, despite not always having star players, marked him as a master tactician and a key figure in the history of European football.

The impact of these coaches on player development is critical, especially for those prone to common soccer injuries.



Who is the greatest soccer coach of all time?

Sir Alex Ferguson is the greatest soccer coach of all time, celebrated for his 26-year tenure at Manchester United where he won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues.

Who was the most successful soccer coach?

Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful soccer coach. He led Manchester United from 1986 to 2013, winning 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues. His teams dominated English football for decades, achieving record-breaking successes and transforming United into a global powerhouse.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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