50 Best World Football Managers Right Now

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 2, 2012

50 Best World Football Managers Right Now

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    "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one."

    This was two-time European Cup-winning manager Brian Clough's memorable quote

    Every manager should strive to be the best—to be the top one. 

    Here are the 50 best football managers in the world right now. 

Posthumous Mention: Gary Speed

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    Under Gary Speed's management, Wales rose from world No. 116 to world No. 48. 

    Which nation gained the most ranking points in 2011? 


    R.I.P. Gary. 

Brisbane Roar: Ange Postecoglou

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    Five years ago, Ange Postecoglou copped Craig Foster's harsh but truthful spiel about his performances as manager of the Australian youth team. 

    Look at Postecoglou now. 

    He masterminded Brisbane Roar to a 36-game unbeaten streak and all this while playing fluid football. 

    The same philosophy Foster has been harping on about for years. 

Espérance: Nabil Maaloul

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    Only six sides in African history have claimed a treble involving the CAF Champions League. 

    Nabil Maaloul's Espérance was one of those six sides. 

Al-Sadd: Jorge Fossati

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    When Al-Sadd won the Asian Champions League, Jorge Fossati had just broken a five-year East Asian Champions League stronghold.

    At the FIFA Club World Cup, Al-Sadd brushed past Espérance, before being dominated by Barcelona. 

Los Angeles Galaxy: Bruce Arena

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    I'll never forget Bruce Arena's United States defeating a star-studded Portugal during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. 

    Fast-forward to 2011 and Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy sealed a rare treble. 

Anderlecht: Ariël Jacobs

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    Ariël Jacobs is the man who gave Romelu Lukaku a chance.

    By the age of 18, Lukaku had scored 41 goals and provided 14 assists in 98 games. 

    At the same age, Lionel Messi had scored one goal for Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo was playing his first season for Sporting Lisbon. 

    Without Lukaku, Jacobs' Anderlecht were perfect during the Europa League group stages and are currently on top of the Belgian Pro League. 

Niger: Harouna Doula

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    Niger had never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations.

    This all changed this year when Harouna Doula led the Menas to a history achievement.

    They qualified ahead of continental powerhouse Egypt, the more-fancied South Africa and Sierra Leone who had better players than Niger. 

Mexico: José Manuel De La Torre

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    José Manuel De La Torre's Mexico were a joy to watch during the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

    Not only did they win all their games but they averaged 3.7 goals per game. 

    De La Torre's faith in Giovani dos Santos could be the defining point in the youngster's career. 

    He must leave Tottenham Hotspur for greener pastures. 

Dynamo Kiev: Yuri Syomin

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    After 20 league games, Yuri Syomin has managed Dynamo Kiev to an unbeaten record—16 wins and four draws. 

Porto: Vítor Pereira

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    Like José Mourinho and André Villas-Boas, Vítor Pereira is another ambitious and young Portuguese manager. 

    Yes, Pereira has managed Porto to an undefeated league record so far, but why did his more talented side fail to qualify ahead of APOEL in the UEFA Champions League? 

    Now Pereira must win the Europa League in order to just keep up with Mourinho and Villas-Boas. 

Athletic Bilbao: Marcelo Bielsa

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    I was shocked to hear Marcelo Bielsa was taking over Athletic Bilbao, a club with a history of playing unsophisticated football. 

    Bielsa has changed the entire philosophy of Athletic Bilbao to the extent that the club is the third-best club when it comes to monopolising possession—with an average of 57.3 percent of possession per game. 

Newcastle United: Alan Pardew

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    Bye-bye Andy Carroll, Joey Barton, José Enrique and Kevin Nolan.

    It should be bye-bye to Newcastle United's chances of finishing in the top half. 

    Ironically if Newcastle Untied weren't so stingy, they wouldn't have taken such a leap of faith with Demba Ba, who failed a medical at Stoke City. 

    Alan Pardew's faith in Ba has been instrumental in Newcastle United exceeding expectations. 

    Buying Yohan Cabaye was an excellent decision. 

    The only negative for Pardew is his faith in playing James Perch, who has been horrible. 

Bayer Leverkusen: Robin Dutt

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    Robin Dutt needs Bayer Leverkusen to be more consistent in the Bundesliga. 

    Yes, he may have managed Leverkusen to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, but if his team had beaten Genk, they would be facing Napoli instead of Barcelona. 

Greece: Fernando Santos

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    Fernando Santos has continued the stereotype of the Greek national team as his side only conceded five goals during the Euro 2012 qualifiers—Spain conceded six goals and they played two fewer games. 

Liverpool: Kenny Dalglish

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    This season, Liverpool are unbeaten against Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League. 

    Though the hard work put in to achieve those results are undone by dropping points against Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Norwich City, Stoke City, Swansea City and Wigan Athletic. 

Russia: Dick Advocaat

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    Not since 1996 had the Russians won a Euro qualifying group and Dick Advocaat has been a strong factor in the Russians' qualification. 

Lazio: Edy Reja

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    Edy Reja's decision to buy Miroslav Klose has been a masterpiece—the German has scored 10 goals in 15 games. 

    Lazio are currently on a six-game unbeaten run. 

Schalke: Huub Stevens

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    When Huub Stevens took over Schalke, they were in ninth position; they're now third. 

France: Laurent Blanc

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    Laurent Blanc has so much talent as his disposal yet the French are playing some ordinary football—only averaging 1.5 goals per game during the Euro 2012 qualifiers. 

Benfica: Jorge Jesus

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    Jorge Jesus' Benfica are unbeaten in the Portuguese Primeira Liga and, unlike Porto, are into the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. 

Valencia: Unai Emery

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    Unai Emery has watched Valencia sell David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata, yet he has still managed Los Che to respectability in La Liga. 

    Exiting the UEFA Champions League was disappointing. 

Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Redknapp

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    With Chelsea in shambles, Liverpool without Luis Suárez for eight games (possibly more if they appeal) and Arsenal an injury away from ending their season—Harry Redknapp must like his chances. 

Montpellier: René Girard

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    René Girard has inspired Olivier Giroud and Henri Bedimo to play at a level that would ultimately lead to their departures for bigger and better things in the summer. 

    Montpellier should be happy with a top-half finish; instead they're just four points away from overtaking Qatar Investment Authority-backed Paris Saint-Germain. 

England: Fabio Capello

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    Built up as the saviour of English football, Fabio Capello has so far failed to live up to expectations. 

    The FA should cut ties with Capello after Euro 2012, unless he wins the tournament, but I doubt England will do well. 

    The side needs to revamped with youth but Capello refuses to do so. 

Chelsea: André Villas-Boas

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    For a so-called a genius, André Villas-Boas will be a genius without a job, if he keeps up his dire form—finishing third is desirable but fourth is a must. 

Manchester City: Roberto Mancini

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    The rotation system isn't an issue until you start losing. 

    Twice against Napoli and Sunderland, Roberto Mancini has tinkered with his team thinking it wouldn't be detrimental but it was. 

    Both times, Manchester City lost. 

    This Premier League is in the bag for Mancini and how did he stuff it up? 

    He better not suffer a meltdown like Kevin Keegan. 

Zenit St. Petersburg: Luciano Spalletti

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    Luciano Spalletti has built up quite a formidable back line with Aleksandr Anyukov, Bruno Alves, Nicolas Lombaerts and Domenico Criscito. 

    Spalletti's solid management of Zenit St. Petersburg could see him back in the Serie A. 

Napoli: Walter Mazzarri

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    Supposedly Eduardo Vargas is headed to Napoli and if so, then it would be another master stroke from Walter Mazzarri.

    His triumvirate of Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek HamŠík has been so pivotal to Napoli's success. 

Denmark: Morten Olsen

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    Morten Olsen served 19 years as a player for Denmark and it seems like he will be doing the same as a manager. 

    So far, it's been 11 years. 

Udinese: Francesco Guidolin

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    Francesco Guidolin lost Alexis Sánchez, Cristián Zapata and Gökhan İnler yet somehow Udinese are still third. 

Arsenal: Arsène Wenger

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    A season-ending injury to Robin van Persie and say bye-bye to Arsenal's season. 

    Arsène Wenger's longevity should be admired but he needs to start winning. 

    It won't be the UEFA Champions League this season but the Premier League is up for grabs as long as Manchester City and Manchester United keep dropping points. 

Netherlands: Bert Van Marwijk

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    With a 68.2 winning percentage as manager of Netherlands, Bert Van Marwijk generally wins.

    Having managed the Dutch to a surprise 2010 FIFA World Cup final; can he take them all the way at Euro 2012? 

Borussia Mönchengladbach: Lucien Favre

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    The unsung hero of Borussia Mönchengladbach's shock rise into Bundesliga relevance is Lucien Favre.

    He's inspired Marco Reus, Marc-André ter Stegen and Dante to play at a level that boarders world class. 

Borussia Dortmund: Jürgen Klopp

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    I was so disappointed with Borussia Dortmund crashing out of the UEFA Champions League because  Jürgen Klopp has made them into such a great footballing side. 

Manchester United: Sir Alex Ferguson

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    Manchester United's predicament is a good excuse for Sir Alex Ferguson to throw the likes of Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison into the deep end. 

    The decision to buy Phil Jones seems solid in hindsight. Surprised at how well good he's been but then again, he's just living up to his transfer fee. 

    Ferguson needs to start thinking about changing this entire Manchester United team because exiting the UEFA Champions League against Basel is a major concern. 

Bayern Munich: Jupp Heynckes

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    With Jupp Heynckes at the helm, instead of being fourth, third or second, Bayern Munich are back on top. 

    If Heynckes does not win the Bundesliga then he'll be looking for a new job. 

Basel: Heiko Vogel

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    No professional footballing experience as a footballer and Heiko Vogel outmanaged Sir Alex Ferguson in the most important club competition.

    Vogel is a manager to watch out for. 

APOEL: Ivan Jovanovic

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    How does APOEL progress out of a group containing Zenit St. Petersburg, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk?

    Not just in second but they won the group.

    Ivan Jovanovic deserves the plaudits.  

Universidad De Chile: Jorge Sampaoli

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    Jorge Sampaoli did it his way. 

    Inspired by Marcelo Bielsa, Sampaoli's loosely based 3-3-1-3 has facilitated Universidad De Chile's treble-winning season. 

Italy: Cesare Prandelli

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    Cesare Prandelli's Italy were rock solid at the back as they only conceded two goals in 10 Euro 2012 qualifying games. 

    Again, not a favourite for Euro 2012, but this could be the 2006 FIFA World Cup all over again. 

    What I mean is an un-fancied Italian side going all the way. 

Germany: Joachim Löw

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    Joachim Löw has made this German team such a joy to watch. 

    I see them winning Euro 2012. 

Santos: Muricy Ramalho

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    Santos may have been comprehensively outplayed against Barcelona but Muricy Ramalho managed Santos to a Copa Libertadores victory. 

Uruguay: Óscar Tabárez

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    A Copa América triumph justified Óscar Tabárez's unbelievably talented Uruguayan side. 

    What is underrated in Tabárez's great year was the uncovering of Sebastián Coates, who had a sensational tournament. 

AC Milan: Massimiliano Allegri

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    The fact that Massimiliano Allegri has managed the explosive personalities of Zlatan Ibrahimović, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Antonio Cassano well is testament to Allegri's man-management.  

    The signing of Antonio Nocerino was genius and is perhaps the bargain of the season. 

Juventus: Antonio Conte

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    Antonio Conte's hardworking and intensive pressing philosophy has rubbed off on this Juventus side. 

    Someone as talented as MiloŠ Krasić can't get a game simply because he's lazy. 

    Conte's Juventus are legitimate contenders to win Serie A. 

Spain: Vicente Del Bosque

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    With no world-class forward, how are Spain going to win Euro 2012? 

    I guess if they won the FIFA World Cup carrying Fernando Torres then they should be able to win Euro 2012. 

    It will be a stern test of Vicente Del Bosque's managerial prowess because the Germans look so dangerous. 

Levante: Juan Ignacio Martínez

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    According to transfer markt, Levante's most valuable player is Xavi Torres at £2.6 million. 

    Levante are currently third in La Liga. No way will they finish there because if they do finish in the top four, then Juan Ignacio Martínez is the manager of the year. 

    This is a side that can't afford ProZone statistics. 

Japan Women: Norio Sasaki

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    In the last three FIFA Women's World Cups, Japan had failed to get past the group stages. 

    Inspired by the hope of their compatriots, Norio Sasaki managed the Japanese women to an emotional World Cup triumph. 

Real Madrid: José Mourinho

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    P8, W1, D3, L4.

    That is José Mourinho's unimpressive record against Barcelona as a Real Madrid manager. 

    If he wins La Liga this season then it will be memorable. 

    But if Barcelona then go and win the UEFA Champions League, it renders Real Madrid's La Liga triumph useless. 

    Sort of like last season when Barcelona celebrated their La Liga League victory and Real Madrid shamelessly celebrated their Copa del Rey victory on the same day. 

Barcelona: Pep Guardiola

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    I'll give Pep Guardiola his props when he manages an underdog to a UEFA Champions League triumph like José Mourinho did with Porto. 

    Guardiola was fortunate to have Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi. 


    Comment below with managers you believe should be on this list. 

    Is José Mourinho a better manager than Pep Guardiola? 

    Please also read 15 Best Box-to-Box Midfielders in the World Right Now

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