Who are the best football coaches in history? With no doubt you have to agree that football is one of the most respected sports in the world, taking a critical look at the greatest football managers of all time is of great importance to sports lovers all over the world.
Normally we see how serious footballers are in their career path same is applicable to football coaches all over the world as this is very crucial to the success of football and to make the game more interesting and competitive.
The game of football has transformed over years from one phase to the other, much more innovations have been integrated and football managers and strategist has been at the top of their games in acquiring the necessary skills to excel in their field.
The best coaches in football history are defined by their longevity and their transformative effect on the game likewise trophy won.
Without further ado let us go straight to the list of the top 10 best football coaches of all time. Enjoy reading this piece.
Top 10 Best Football Coaches of All Time
#1. Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson is the unanimous choice when it comes to legendary coaches and for good reason, he is currently ranked as the best football coach of all time. The Scottish coach took charge of a Manchester United team that was in the shadow of archrival Liverpool and promised to change the English football scene. Over a legendary career spanning almost three decades, Sir Alex Ferguson has made Manchester United the most successful club in England.
The Scottish coach has built several legendary Manchester United teams and dug up jewelry like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Cristiano Ronaldo over his long career.
In a span of 20 years, Sir Alex Ferguson has won an astonishing 13 Premier League titles and has dominated one of the most competitive seasons in English football alone. Manchester United owes most of its success and brand value to the best coach the game has ever seen.
#2. Arrigo Sacchi
At its peak, the AC Milan team from Arrigo Sacchi was a sight to behold. The Italian giants dominated European football in the late 1980s and early 1990s and Arrigo Sacchi’s tactical genius was the main driving force behind his incredible success.
Arrigo Sacchi successfully built a team that was based mainly on the defensive principles of Italian football, this has placed him on the list of the best football coaches of all time.
With names like Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten at his side, Sacchi destroyed teams from Italy and Europe with a type of football that may never be seen again. While Sacchi benefited from the intelligence of midfield Carlo Ancelotti and the tenacity of Frank Rijkaard, his team’s trademark was a defensive unit that is arguably the best in football history.
With a line of defense from Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and Mauro Tassotti, Arrigo Sacchi perfected the out-of-the-way trap and created a defensive giant who did not seem to take a wrong step during his tenure.
Sacchi while handling AC Milan won two consecutive European Cups in the late 1980s and also won the European Cup. The Italian coach’s mark of perfection at Milan did wonders for the club in the following decade and produced a generation of legendary players.
#3. Rinus Michels
Although the two coaches above Rinus Michels on this list may have more illustrious careers, the Dutch revolutionary is primarily responsible for the intricacies of modern football.
Rinus Michels was the ideal precursor to Johan Cruyff and is widely credited with the invention of “Total Football”. Rinus Michels spent his entire career as a player at Ajax and took over as head coach of the club in 1965.
The Dutch strategist had names like Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens in the young Ajax and won the championship in his first season at the club. The Dutch coach spent the following years perfecting the art of “Total Football” and transformed his team into a fascinating juggernaut who was the first to attack and defend as a cohesive unit of eleven players in complete synergy.
Rinus Michels’ football brand was the antithesis of the defensive mentality that dominated teams across Europe. Rinus Michels built one of the greatest Ajax teams in history and teamed up with Johan Cruyff to win three consecutive European Cups in the 1970s. Michels also coached the Dutch team to European glory in 1988.
#4. Helenio Herrera
Italian football has a wonderfully rich heritage and “Catenaccio” became famous in the 1960s and 1970s for confusing Europe’s most powerful offensive forces with impressive defensive solidity.
Italy may have produced the defenders that allowed their practical style, but coaches like Helenio Herrera and Nereo Rocco have renamed Serie A as a fortress of defensive football.
Although Catenaccio’s traditional style may not be as popular these days, Inter Milan’s legendary coach Helenio Herrera is remembered as the likely inventor of one of the most effective football styles in history.
The famous Argentine tactician despised football based on possession and achieved extraordinary success in Serie A with his defensive tactics. The exploits of Inter Milan, under the command of Helenio Herrera, earned the team the nickname “Grande Inter”.
Herrera was one of the first to adopt a 5-3-2 system and used full-back Giacinto Facchetti and Tarcisio Burgnich for lethal effect in the final third.
#5. Johan Cruyff
Of all the names on this list of best football managers of all time, Johan Cruyff has probably had the biggest impact on modern football as we know it. Cruyff is also the only name likely to be on the lists of the best players and coaches of all time.
The Dutch coach was the heart and soul of each team he played for and led a tactical revolution that surprised teams across Europe. In addition to being the greatest player of his time, Johan Cruyff learned his profession as a coach from the legendary Rinus Michels and defended the “Total Football” philosophies.
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After gaining valuable experience with Ajax early in his career as a coach, Cruyff moved to FC Barcelona, which was in crisis, and revolutionized the club’s management. The Dutch legend brought names like Pep Guardiola, Hristo Stoichkov and Romário and won four consecutive La Liga titles and a European Cup with Barcelona’s “Dream Team”.
#6. Bob Paisley
Another on the list of the top ten best football coaches of all time is no other than Bob Paisley. Bill Shankly may have laid the groundwork for Liverpool and offered the club a powerful launchpad, however, his loyal student Bob Paisley has undoubtedly exceeded his expectations and achievements.
Paisley was appointed Liverpool coach after Shankly’s retirement and took the Merseyside giants to astronomical heights in England and Europe. Liverpool became arguably the best team in England and Europe.
Over a period of nine years at the club, Bob Paisley won six league titles and three incredible European Cups and made Liverpool the most successful English club in Europe’s top competition.
People like Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and Graeme Souness became Liverpool legends under the command of the great manager and continued to have fruitful careers at Anfield. Bob Paisley is widely considered the best coach in Liverpool’s history.
#7. Sir Matt Busby
The Red Devils owe more of their success over the years to Busby’s mythical management at Manchester United. Over 25 years, Sir Matt Busby led Manchester United to five league titles and their first European Cup.
A former Liverpool and Manchester City player, Sir Matt Busby became the Manchester United coach after disagreements with the Liverpool board. The Scotsman was an excellent coach and set up the legendary “Busby Babes”, a team that dominates English football and win three league titles before the tragic Munich air disaster.
Sir Matt Busby lost many of his stars in the Munich tragedy and had to rebuild most of his team after 1958. The Manchester United legend launched the careers of Bobby Charlton and Denis Law and won two more league titles with his new ”look at the Manchester United side”.
#8. Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola became the torchbearer of the evolution of football in the modern era. The Catalan coach has had extraordinary success with his revolutionary methods and is likely to go down in history as the most successful coach of all time.
Guardiola’s tactical mind comes from his time as a player on Johan Cruyff’s legendary “Dream Team” at Barcelona. The Dutch strategist instilled a powerful sense of identity in Pep Guardiola and relied on the midfield pivot to study opponents on the field.
Pep Guardiola took charge of Barcelona in 2008 and made him a triple winner in one season. Players like Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta thrived on a Barcelona team that is widely considered the best club team in history.
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The Catalan coach won three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies in four years at Barcelona and also won league titles with Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
#9. Bill Shankly
What followed was a masterpiece in management by one of the greatest managers Liverpool can call its own. Shankly won the English league title in 1964 and 1966 and put Liverpool and used his sagacious decision-making and management skills to put the Reds back on the European map.
Although Bill Shankly may not have as many trophies as some of the other names on the list, the magnitude of his impact on Liverpool’s tough side makes him one of the greatest coaches of all time.
#10. Giovanni Trapattoni
Giovanni Trapattoni is widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches in Serie A history. The veteran coach spent most of his career as a player at AC Milan, where he honed his tactical understanding of the game with the legendary Nereo Rocco.
Trapattoni firmly believed in Italy’s traditionally defensive school of thought and shaped one of the best Juventus teams in history in the late 1970s. The Italian spent 10 years with the Bianoneri and set a record by winning all the UEFA trophies offered by the club.
At Juventus, Giovanni Trapattoni won an impressive 6 Serie A titles and also won the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. The great Italian has transformed the career of Michel Platini, Gaetano Scirea, Paolo Rossi and Marco Tardelli and is arguably the greatest coach of Juventus of all time.