Jose Mourinho and the 15 Best Coaches in Champions League History

James WillisAnalyst IMay 9, 2011

Jose Mourinho and the 15 Best Coaches in Champions League History

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    The Champions League has seen some great coaches. In fact, the European Cup in its entirety has seen many brilliant coaches.

    Starting in 1955, The European Cup has been the premier competition for European clubs, and has seen its fair share of excitement and disaster along the way.

    In the 1992-1993 season, the competition was re-branded as the UEFA Champions League, the name it still has today.

    Many of the clubs who have won the trophy in the past may come as a surprise, but other are simply common knowledge.

    Real Madrid lead the way as the tournament's most successful club, starting out by winning the first five editions of the tournament.

    Here are the top 15 coaches ever seen in the Champions League (or European Cup).

Bob Paisley

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    Number of wins: 3 (Liverpool 1977, 1978, 1981)

    Number of final appearances: 3 (Liverpool 1977, 1978, 1981)

    The only man ever to have won the competition 3 times, Bob Paisley is one of Liverpool's best-remembered coaches of all time, alongside Bill Shankly.

    Bob Paisley built a very successful Liverpool side which contained the likes of Alan Hansen, Kenny Dalglish, Emlyn Hughes and Terry McDermott.

Miguel Muñoz

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    Number of wins: 2 (Real Madrid 1960, 1966)

    Number of final appearances: 4 (Real Madrid 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966)

    One of the less frequently-remembered managers from the European Cup, but not in Spain. Miguel Munoz led Real Madrid to four different European Cup finals during the sixties, winning two of them.

    His teams included the likes of Ferenc Puskás, Alfredo Di Stefano and Francisco Gento. Statistically, by his number of final appearances and wins, Munoz is actually the second most successful manager in the tournament's history.

Sir Alex Ferguson

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    Number of wins: 2 (Manchester United 1999, 2008)

    Number of final appearances: 4 (Manchester United 1999, 2008, 2009, 2011)

    Love him or, more commonly, hate him, Sir Alex Ferguson's record with Manchester United deserves as much respect as any other manager's trophy hauls.

    Equaling Miguel Munoz's record of 4 finals and 2 wins by reaching this years final, Ferguson could surpass Bob Paisley as the tournaments most successful manager if his Manchester United side overcomes the dominant force of Barcelona.

Ottmar Hitzfeld

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    Number of wins: 2 (Borussia Dortmund 1997, Bayern Munich 2001)

    Number of final appearances: 3 (Borussia Dortmund 1997, Bayern Munich 1999, 2001)

    Anyone who's followed football for long enough will immediately know who Ottmar Hitzfield is. His record in the Champions League is unbelievable, winning the competition with both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

    Hitzfield appeared in the final again with Bayern Munich in 1999, and despite leading the match 1-0 until injury time, Manchester United and Alex Ferguson saw out one of their most famous victories by scoring two late goals.

Helenio Herrera

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    Number of wins: 2 (Inter Milan 1964, 1965)

    Number of final appearances: 3 (Inter Milan 1964, 1965, 1967)

    Another manager who may not immediately spring to the minds of most football fans, Helenio Herrera led Inter Milan to two European Cup titles during the 1960's and another final in which they finished as runners up.

    In 1964 they beat Miguel Munoz's Real Madrid in the final, before going on to beat a Benfica side containing Eusebio the following year. It was only in 1967 that they were beaten by a Celtic team managed by Jock Stein, another of the 15 greats.

Carlo Ancelotti

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    Number of wins: 2 (AC Milan 2003, 2007)

    Number of final appearances: 3 (AC Milan 2003, 2005, 2007)

    Say what you will of his time at Chelsea so far, but there was a reason Ancelotti was hired for one of the biggest jobs in English football—His record in Italy.

    Carlo Ancelotti made AC Milan one of the dominant forces of European football in the last decade, taking them to three finals and winning two of them. The only final they lost was the famous "Miracle of Istanbul" match against Liverpool.

Ernst Happel

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    Number of wins: 2 (Feyenoord 1970, Hamburger 1983)

    Number of final appearances: 3 (Feyenoord 1970, Club Brugge 1980, Hamburger 1983)

    The last manager to win the competition with a German side until Ottmar Hitzfield repeated the feat 14 years later, Ernst Happel was definitely one of the best managers the competition has ever seen.

    He won the tournament in 1970 with Feyenoord, beating Jock Stein's Celtic in the final, and then again in 1983 with Hamburger, beating Giovanni Trapattoni's Juventus in the final. He lost in 1980 with Club Brugge to one of Bob Paisley's Liverpool teams, but his record was nonetheless outstanding.

José Mourinho

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    Number of wins: 2 (Porto 2004, Inter Milan 2010)

    Number of final appearances: 2 (Porto 2004, Inter Milan 2010)

    Controversial and with a love for the spotlight, many fans all around the game hate Jose Mourinho and his attitude. Whether or not his behavior contributes to his success is another discussion, but his achievements cannot be denied.

    Still young enough to equal Bob Paisley's record of three wins, Mourinho has already coached Porto and Inter Milan to Champions League titles despite them both teams coming in as the underdog. Despite failing with Chelsea, he may well have another shot with Real Madrid next season.

Vicente Del Bosque

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    Number of wins: 2 (Real Madrid 2000, 2002)

    Number of final appearances: 2 (Real Madrid 2000, 2002)

    Perhaps best known as the current Spain boss who led the team to extraordinary triumph at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Del Bosque has also had his share of success as a club manager.

    Del Bosque was in charge of the famous 'Galacticos' team at Real Madrid at the start of the last decade, and earned the club two more titles in 2000 and 2002 with teams that would never be forgotten due to their wealth of talent.

Brian Clough

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    Number of wins: 2 (Nottingham Forest 1979, 1980)

    Number of final appearances: 2 (Nottingham Forest 1979, 1980)

    One of the most controversial and exciting managers the game has ever seen, Brian Clough is recognised as an English football legend and his record in Europe is a major reason.

    He may have had another chance in Europe with his Derby County side had they not been banned one season, but following that (and his infamous 44 day stint at Leeds United) "Cloughie" took over at Nottingham Forest. He went on to win the European Cup two successive times during an era in which European Football would be dominated by English teams.

Béla Guttmann

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    Number of wins: 2 (Benfica 1961, 1962)

    Number of final appearances: 2 (Benfica 1961, 1962)

    Bela Guttmann was, until Porto's 1987 success, the only manager to win the European Cup with a Portuguese side.

    He took Benfica to the cup final in 1961, the first year since the tournament's beginning that Real Madrid failed to appear in the match. That year, his side overcame a hugely talented Barcelona team, while the following year he overcame Miguel Munoz's Real Madrid, a side featuring Eusebio.

José Villalonga

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    Number of wins: 2 (Real Madrid 1956, 1957)

    Number of final appearances: 2 (Real Madrid 1956, 1957)

    Jose Villalonga became the first winner of the European Cup when he led his Real Madrid side to the tournament title in its inaugural year, 1956.

    He then repeated the feat one year later in 1957, beating Fiorentina. The side that he had assembled included Alfredo Di Stefano, Raymond Kopa, and was captained by none other than Miguel Munoz, whose name has already been mentioned multiple times on this list.

Louis Van Gaal

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    Number of wins: 1 (Ajax 1995)

    Number of final appearances: 2 (Ajax 1995, 1996)

    Perhaps not one of the managers that would have expected on this list, despite winning fewer trophies, his time at Ajax deserved a mention.

    Louis Van Gaal built Ajax into a side that was truly considered a European heavyweight, reminiscent of the club's glory days. He won the European Cup with them once in 1995, and reached the final again the following year. The squad he assembled went on to become world superstars playing all around Europe, and included both Edwin van der Sar and Clarence Seedorf, both of whom remain active to this day.

Sir Matt Busby

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    Number of wins: 1 (Manchester United 1968)

    Number of final appearances: 1 (Manchester United 1969)

    Perhaps he would have won more than one European cup, a tragic "what if". Having reached the semi-finals of the 1958 European Cup, disaster struck as the 'Busby Babes' lost 7 players and many other officials in the Munich Air Disaster.

    Eventually, Sir Matt Busby managed to pick himself back up and build a new team which featured Bobby Charlton (a survivor of the crash), George Best and Nobby Stiles, who went on to win the competition on the tenth anniversary of the horrific disaster.

Jock Stein

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    Number of wins: 1 (Celtic 1967)

    Number of final appearances: 2 (Celtic 1967, 1970)

    Celtic's most iconic manager of all time, and understandably so. Stein led Celtic to the only tournament championship won by a Scottish side, the first British side to do so as well.

    His team in 1967 went on to become known as the "Lisbon Lions" (Lisbon being the host of the final) thanks to their determination in the final. All the players in his winning squad had been born within 30 miles of the home city of Glasgow. Stein went on to reach the final again in 1970, only just losing out to Ernst Happel and Feyenoord.