FC Barcelona: Ranking the Top 10 Managers in Blaugrana History

Roberto Alvarez-GallosoChief Writer IJanuary 17, 2012

FC Barcelona: Ranking the Top 10 Managers in Blaugrana History

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    FC Barcelona was founded in 1899 and has since been active in world football. La Blaugrana have seen managers come and go in their history.

    The achievements of Pep Guardiola during his tenure as Barca manager serves as an inspiration, the latest of which is ranking in the top 10 managers of La Blaugrana.

    Ranking the top managers is not an easy task since each has his own style and personality.

    The invitation is set for B/R readers to sit back, relax and read about the top 10 managers of Barca.

10. Louis Van Gaal

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    Louis Van Gaal was manager of La Blaugrana two times. His first period was from 1997 to 2000 and his second was from 2002 to 2003.

    According to the FC Barcelona website, Van Gaal was not an easy person to deal with on the field. The first days were marked with the intent to have Barca players understand his vision of football.

    Van Gaal was able to win trophies for the team in spite of these difficulties. La Blaugrana won the La Liga, Copa Del Rey and the European Super Cup in the first year of Van Gaal.

    Barca won La Liga in his second season as manager only to finish without trophies in 1999-2000. Van Gaal resigned as manager in 2000 only to return in 2002.

    The second period of Van Gaal was a disaster since Barca won six matches, lost eight and drew five. The result was that Van Gaal was forced to resign as Barca manager in 2003.

9. Jose Luis Romero

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    Jose Luis Romero was briefly (1983) in charge of FC Barcelona after the club fired Udo Lattek. His only activity was the match between FC Barcelona and Salamanca in the Helmantico Stadium.

    The result of the match was a 1-1 draw. It's unknown what would have transpired if Romero remained manager.

8. Udo Lattek

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    Udo Lattek was manager of FC Barcelona from 1981 to 1983. I remember hearing the Bundesliga matches transmitted by Deutsche Welle on shortwave radio in the 1970s.

    The name of Lattek would appear in the matches since he was great as manager of Bayern Munich. Lattek had the misfortune of being unable to duplicate in Barca what he did in Germany.

    In his first year as manager, La Blaugrana started on the top of the list of La Liga. The end of the season was marked with a humiliating defeat to Real Sociedad. Lattek went from bad to worse when Diego Armando Maradona joined Barca in Lattek's second season.

    Maradona did not help the situation, for Lattek, and Barca lost to Racing Santander. The result was the firing of Udo Lattek from La Blaugrana. 

7. Laureano Ruiz

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    Laureano Ruiz served a brief stint as FC Barcelona manager in 1976.

    Ruiz loved world football, but this was not enough for Barca, and he was just a transitional figure between the two periods of Marinus Michels.

    Ruiz later founded an academy to train world football players, and he deserves to be admired since he wanted to teach future generation of world football players.

6. Radomir Antic

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    Radomir Antic was the manager of FC Barcelona for a brief period in 2003.

    He replaced Louis Van Gaal, who was fired, and served as a transitional figure until the arrival of Frank Rijkaard.

5. Marinus Michels

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    Marinus Michels was manager of La Blaugrana from 1971 to 1975 and again from 1976 to 1978. During his first season, Barca defeated Leeds United in the Fairs Cup in the club's only victory.

    Michels was able to win one trophy in the second season only to have a dry spell in 1974-1975. While Michels was a strict manager who wanted perfection, he was forced to leave secondary to lack of results.

    Michels returned briefly from 1976 to 1978 and left after Barca won the Copa Del Rey trophy.

4. Luis Aragones

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    Luis Aragones was manager of FC Barcelona from 1987 to 1988. He took over at a time when the players demonstrated against the Presidency of Josep Lluis Nunez.

    Aragones was remembered for supporting the players against the President Nunez.

    Unfortunately, he was unable to produce for the team secondary to personal problems and resigned.

3. Frank Rijkaard

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    Frank Rijkaard arrived at FC Barcelona in the year 2003 to become manager. The Rijkaard years (between 2003 to 2008) saw the club defeat Arsenal to win its second UEFA Champions League trophy.

    La Blaugrana won the European Super Cup and was able to win two League titles. Rijkaard stressed defense, pressure and an attacking football style.

    Rijkaard was awarded for his style by being selected the World's Best Manager by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). He managed 283 matches with 167 victories, 52 defeats and 64 draws.

    La Blaugrana was able to score 544 goals and concede 254 of them. Rijkaard's victory percentage was 59 percent, with 112 victories within the Spanish league.

    Rijkaard was succeeded by Pep Guardiola in 2008.

2. Johann Cruyff

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    Johann Cruyff once said: "Football is simple. You are in time or too late. When you are too late, you should start sooner." 

    He served as manager of La Blaugrana from 1988 to 1996 and was the honorary president.

    Under Cruyff, FC Barcelona became known as the "dream team" with the presence of players such as Romario, Salmas and (the future manager) Guardiola.

    Cruyff was a believer in "total football" and applied it during his career as manager.

    Cruyff managed to win the following titles: La Liga, Copa Del Rey, European Cup, the European Super Cup and the Supercopa de Espana. He also introduced a new form of play called the tiki-taka.

    The tiki-taka is comprised of short passing and movement of the ball while maintaining possession. The method was used with success by the Spanish national world football team during Euro 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

1. Pep Guardiola

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    Pep Guardiola took over as FC Barcelona coach in 2008, and the club has not looked back. He was named the world's best coach for a second consecutive time by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.

    Guardiola also won the FIFA Best Manager Award for 2011. He defeated Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, who were also in consideration.

    FC Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League two times, with the last victory in the year 2011 at Wembley Stadium. The opponent was Manchester United.

    La Blaugrana won the UEFA Super Cup two times, the Spanish Super Cup three consecutive times and El Clasico. Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez, David Villa and Javier Mascherano joined La Blaugrana during his era as coach.

    Guardiola was also famous for using the 4-3-3 tactic and taking Barca to China. La Blaugrana won 143 of its 200 matches (72 percent) under Guardiola, which was more than Rijkaard and Cruyff.

    Barca also scored 99 goals within 44 UEFA Champions League matches under Guardiola. It remains to be seen what can transpire for La Blaugrana if Guardiola continues his success as coach. 

Honorable Mention: Ferdinand Daucik

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    Ferdinand Daucik deserves to receive an Honorable Mention in this article. Daucik was coach of FC Barcelona from 1950 to 1954 during the club's difficult time.

    The club won various trophies including: The Eva Duarte Cup two times, Spanish Cup three times, League Cups two times and the Latin Cup once.

    While Daucik had good intentions and the club was placed on sound footing, his disagreements with the players led him to resign in 1954.

Conclusion

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    FC Barcelona has had its share of coaches who were great, and some who were not so great. This Top 10 was determined based on my personal opinion.

    FC Barcelona is about to face Real Madrid in another La Copa Del Rey. It remains to be seen what will transpire between the traditional rivals.

    I would like to thank you for your time spent reading this article, and I hope it can inspire discussion on the subject.