It’s impossible, isn’t it? The 100 greatest football managers of all time are simply beyond ranking. How can you compare performance between eras, clubs and dugouts?
That won’t stop us from giving it a try though. They have adapted, crafted, designed and developed football for decades – often with the most beautiful prizes waiting for them at the end. Now is the time to honor these pioneers.
present FFT‘s list of the best football managers in history…
Hodgson’s career reads like crazy Soccer Manager save: eight countries, 21 outposts and challenges ranging from the Swedish second division to European finals.
Five consecutive titles with Malmö launched him, and his innovations left a legacy across Scandinavia. Although Hodgson particularly stumbled at Liverpool, he worked wonders with the likes of Switzerland and Copenhagen and even got Inter back on track.
But his greatest hour came at Fulham, who he miraculously saved from falling before leading them to the Europa League final after a shock seventh-place finish.
99. Fatih Terim
As a player, Terim was a crafty defender and as a manager his teams were much the same.
‘The Emperor’ has coached Turkey three times – leading them to the semi-finals of Euro 2008 – and Galatasaray four times. from 1997-2000, as well as the UEFA Cup Final against Arsenal.
“He is extraordinary,” former prosecutor Gheorghe Hagi once said. “He can coach any side.”
98. Vaclav Jezek
Jezek took charge of Sparta Prague in 1964 and introduced an aesthetic style of play that caught everyone in Czechoslovakia by surprise, going on to take on the national team.
He molded the Czechs into his image and watched his country shock the world champions, West Germany, with Euro 76.
Antonin Panenka’s iconic penalty won out, but the mix of brawn and grace, woven from the fabric of great Eastern European sides of the past, was all Jezek did.
97. Roberto Mancini
As a youngster at Bologna, Mancini demanded every corner, free kick and penalty kick. If coaches resisted, he would walk away.
The similar no-compromise approach in management has seen Mancini win six league cups and four league titles since leaving Leicester on loan in 2001 to take his first job at Fiorentina, including Manchester City’s first in 44 years.
The Italian then turned his hand to international play and led the Azzurri to European Championship glory in 2021.
96. Gerard Houllier
“When I go to Liverpool I’m surprised people are so nice to me,” said Houllier in 2019.
Why the late Frenchman thought any red would dishonor the man who delivered a triple cup in 2001 is a bummer; although Houllier failed to win a league title at Merseyside, he recovered silverware at Anfield after a six-year hiatus.
Before that he had won PSG’s first league title in 1986, and although his tenure as French boss in 1992/93 was disastrous, he went on to become a two-time Ligue 1 champion with Lyon.
95. Hassan Shehata
Shehata led Egpyt to the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations as a man under pressure. Knives were sharpened as he knocked out furious star striker Mido with 12 minutes left in their semi-final against Senegal, only for substitute Amr Zaki to bring in the winner within two minutes.
Egypt went on to win it. They repeated the feat in 2008 and 2010, becoming the first country to win three consecutive AFCON titles and climbing to ninth place in the FIFA rankings.
94. Ferruccio Valcareggi
There’s no shame in losing a World Cup final, especially when it comes to a particular 1970 Brazil team; yet the Italians felt that Valcareggi’s negative tactics had cost them Mexico City, and he required a police escort upon landing in Rome.
Yet Valcareggi (third right, above) had revived the Azzurri after their disastrous group stage exit at the 1966 World Cup – via defeat to North Korea – and made them European champions in 1968, making some difficult moves along the way. made decisions.
Conte is a contradiction of a manager. Icy cool in interviews, he’s supercharged on the sidelines. His football is relentless, but intelligent.
And while his title victories in Italy and England have been shaped by full-backs and high-octane attacking moves that have earned him a reputation as a force of nature, he is very sharp-witted. Tottenham fans can now vouch for that.
“He’s the best coach I’ve ever worked with,” said Andrea Pirlo. “He makes sure you always give your best – so if he loses, he’s a demon.”
92. Juan Lopez Fontana
Fontana was the first man ever to cause Brazil to question their football philosophy.
In 1950, his disciplined Uruguayan side silenced the free-scoring Selecao in one of the major setbacks of the World Cup. line-up.
Fontana later led Uruguay to the 1954 semi-finals and also took two league titles in Penarol.
91. Raymond Goethals
With a signature cigarette hanging over his lips, Goethals was a meticulous coach with detective demeanor. In Marseille, the Belgian immediately reached the 1991 European Cup final, lost on penalties and triumphed against Milan two years later.
Subsequent revelations of match-fixing in Ligue 1 rocked l’OM – Goethals was not involved – but their manager’s work is all too easily neglected: a pioneer of zone marking and maestro of the offside trap, he was way ahead of its time.
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