In football, having good players is not enough to create a winning team: you need a skilled manager to turn those players into a strong collective force. Behind every successful team there is a brilliant manager pulling the strings.
The following list contains those who are, in my opinion, the 11 best managers in the world. I've based my choice mainly on success, since I believe that, as José Mourinho once said, "the best coach is the one who wins most." I'm aware that I left out some excellent managers, but it's hard to pick 11 when there are so many great managers around.
Here's the list.
How could the World Cup winner be left out? Simply put, he just couldn't.
Del Bosque's career is filled with success. He has won everything with Real Madrid (two La Liga titles, one Spanish Super Cup, two Champions Leagues, one Uefa Super Cup and one Intercontinenal Cup), except the Copa del Rey. Then he has led Spain to World Cup glory for the first time in their history.
One might argue that he always had fantastic squads at his disposal, but in no way does that belittle his success. This amazing tactician has always managed to take the most out of his players, thus building an incredibly successful career.
Winning percent throughout his career: 58.3 percent
Guus Hiddink always takes success and excellent football everywhere he goes. At the club level, he had an incredible career at PSV, leading the club to six Dutch Leagues and a Champions League. He had short stays at Real Madrid and Chelsea, but in both cases managed to win a trophy.
At the international level, he worked a miracle by leading South Korea to the semi-finals at the 2002 World Cup and, in 2006, he led Australia to the knockout stages, something that had never been achieved by the Australians before. He also did a great job with Russia, reaching the semi-finals of the Euro 2008. He is currently coaching Turkey and it's pretty much guaranteed that he will do a great job.
Winning percentage: 57.7 percent
Another manager who takes success everywhere he goes. Van Gaal has won four Dutch Leagues (three with Ajax, one with AZ), two Spanish Leagues with Barcelona and one Bundesliga with Bayern Munich. He has also won the Champions League with Ajax. To this day, he has won 19 trophies in his coaching career. Every club he coached won trophies.
In 2009/2010, in his first season with Bayern Munich, he led the club to the domestic double and reached the final of the Champions League. There's no denying it: Van Gaal is a winner.
Winning percentage: 61.7 percent
Some might not like Rafa, but his success is undeniable. With Valencia, he won two Spanish Leagues, beating the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid. (Galaticos)
Then, in Liverpool, he won the Champions League in his first season, by defying all odds and beating much stronger teams along the way. He then got to the final again in 2007 but couldn't win again. Since 1984, he is the only manager to bring European glory to the Reds.
He was recently appointed as Inter Milan's manager and he'll finally have the chance to lead a star-filled team. If he manages to lead Inter to glory, he will have proved once and for all that he is one of the best managers in the world.
Winning percentage: 54.3 percent
Fabio Capello is one of the most successful managers in the world. He started his coaching career in Milan (1991-1996), where he won four Leagues, three Italian Super Cups, a Champions League, a European Super Cup and an Italian Cup. He won almost everything and became an AC Milan coaching legend.
He was two seasons in Real Madrid (1996-1997 and 2006-2007) and he won La Liga on both occasions. With Roma, he won an Italian League and a Super Cup and, with Juventus, He won two leagues (even if they were revoked later due to the Calciopoli scandal). To keep it short, he triumphed in every club he managed.
He is now trying to lead England to international glory. With Capello at the helm, English fans have some reasons to dream, despite a disappointing World Cup.
He has also a developed the (rather controversial) Capello Index, an on-line player rating system, marking the players' performances out of 100.
Winning percentage: 56.9 percent
Carlo Ancelotti's career as a manager started in Reggiana and Parma. He showed great promise and he was hired by Juventus in 1999. In Juventus, however, he failed to win major trophies (1999-2001).
Still, Milan decided to hire his services. And they didn't regret; with Milan, Ancelotti won one Serie A, one Italian Cup, one Italian Super Cup, two Champions League titles, two Uefa Super Cups, and one Fifa Club World Cup. He parted ways with the Italians giants in 2009 but he is still a hero in the Giuseppe Meazza stadium, since he is one of the most successful managers (and players) of AC Milan's history.
He was then appointed as Chelsea's manager. In his first season, he won the domestic double. With the amazing squad he has at his disposal and his immense tactical knowledge, Ancelotti will certainly keep winning trophies in London.
He is famous, not only for his success, but for his midfield diamond formation.
Winning percentage: 55.6 percent
Along with Vicente Del Bosque, Marcello Lippi is the only manager in the world to have won both the Champions League and the World Cup.
With Juventus, Lippi won five Serie A, one Italian Cup, four Italian Super Cups, one Uefa Champions League, one European Super Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup.
With Italy, he won the World Cup in 2006.
He has proved time and again that his coaching philosophy is undoubtedly a successful one.
Winning percentage: 54.1 percent
Trapatonni is the most successful club coach in Italian history and also the only manager in the world to have won all Uefa club competitions plus the Intercontinental Cup.
He has won the Serie A on seven occasions (six with Juventus and one with Inter). He also won the European Cup (now known as Champions League) once (with Juventus), the Uefa Cup three times, and the Cup Winners' Cup once. All in all, he has won 21 titles in four different countries (he is one of two managers who have won the national league on four different countries).
More recently, he has turned Ireland into a force to be reckoned with and only Henry's hand stopped him from participating in the 2010 World Cup.
Trapattoni is undoubtedly one of the best football coaches in history.
Winning percentage: 52.8 percent
José Mourinho is still a very young coach but he is already one of the most successful ones. He won the national league with Porto, Chelsea, and Inter and the Champions League with Porto and Inter.
You might not like his defensive tactics, but his success is undeniable. If he manages to win the Spanish league with Real Madrid, he'll join Trapattoni as one of the managers who triumphed in four different leagues. And if he manages to win the Champions League, he will become the first coach ever to win the Champions League with three different clubs.
Dethroning Barcelona will be his biggest challenge ever.
Winning percentage: 67.1 percent
In his first season as a coach, Guardiola won more than most managers do during their entire careers. He took charge of a team in crisis and quickly imposed his ideas, leading Barcelona to six trophies in 2009, something that no club had ever managed before. Better yet, he did so with some of the most beautiful football the world has ever seen.
When a manager wins everything there is to win in his first season as a professional coach, one can't doubt his ability. If Guardiola keeps like this, he risks becoming the most successful manager in football history. In two years as a coach, he has already won eight trophies.
Beating José Mourinho, now coaching Real Madrid, will be his biggest challenge to date.
Winning percentage: 71.8 percent
Arguably the most successful manager in football history. He has won 46 titles during his career and 35 in his 24 years with Manchester United. He has won everything there is to win in club football, as well as numerous individual accolades.
When he got to Manchester United, Liverpool was by far the most successful club in England (18-7 in league titles). 24 years later, Manchester has tied 18-18 in league titles with Liverpool and is already the most successful club in England overall, all thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson's work.
Alex Ferguson always managed to rebuild his squad in an amazing way and he never stopped winning trophies. This season, Manchester United is once again a contender in every competition.
Sir Alex Ferguson is considered by many as the best manager in football history.
Winning percentage: 57.5 percent