Sir Alex Ferguson and the 25 Greatest Managers in World Football History

Lindsay EanetCorrespondent INovember 23, 2011

Sir Alex Ferguson and the 25 Greatest Managers in World Football History

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    Sir Alex Ferguson just celebrated his 25th anniversary at Manchester United, marking a quarter-century chock full of accomplishment, silverware and more memorable moments on the pitch than you can shake a prawn sandwich at. But Fergie is hardly alone at the top of the uppermost echelons of football management, oh no—there are many who join him, which made narrowing this list down very, very difficult, and some tough calls were made. 

    That being said, here are 25 of the greatest masterminds to ever pilot a team to victory, along with a few highly commendable honorable mentions who didn't quite make the final cut. If there's someone we forgot or you feel like engaging in some friendly discourse about the gentlemen on this list, as always, have at it in the comments. 

Honorable Mentions

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    Here are a few more incredible managerial masterminds who just barely missed out on the top 25. 

    Jimmy Hogan

    Without Jimmy Hogan, none of these other guys would be here. Along with Herbert Chapman, Hogan played a key role in spreading the modern game not only through England, but all over Europe. 

    Guus Hiddink

    Ever the interloping savior of the struggling underdog, Hiddink has spent his career rejuvenating middling teams and turning them into championship material. After he helped an unlikely South Korean side reach fourth place in the 2002 World Cup, Gwangju's World Cup stadium was renamed after him.

    Alf Ramsey 

    Sir Alf shot up to icon status in the UK when he became the first and only manager to lead England to a World Cup title. 

    Mário Zagallo

    Not only did Zagallo pilot a world champion side featuring the likes of Pelé and Jairzinho, he also coached the United Arab Emirates national team to their first ever World Cup appearance. The more you know. 

    Helmut Schön

    One of the most successful international coaches of all time, best known for shaping a dominant West Germany in the 1960s and '70s. 

    Vanderlei Luxemburgo

    Luxemburgo is arguably the most successful coach in the history of Brazil's Campeonato Serie A, with five titles to his name and successful stints at Santos, Corinthians and Palmeiras. But some controversial tactics and a disastrous run at Real Madrid which led to his sacking keep him out of the list. 

Otto Rehhagel

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    Silverware: Fortuna Düsseldorf: DFB-Pokal (1980); Werder Bremen: Bundesliga (1988, 1993), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1992), DFB-Pokal (1991, 1994); 1. FC Kaiserslautern: Bundesliga (1998); Greece: UEFA Euro Champions (2004)

    Otto Rehhagel may not have been a star manager at the big-gun clubs of Europe, but what he was able to accomplish and help middle-of-the-road Bundesliga and international clubs to achieve makes him one of the top minds in the game. 

    Rehhagel's road to successful management was hardly an easy one: he struggled to find permanent placement and while in charge of Borussia Dortmund, famously saw his side lose 12-0. Finally, on his second stint with Werder Bremen, Rehhagel found success, turning the club into an entertaining powerhouse and helping bring the likes of Mario Basler and Rudi Völler to the forefront. 

    But what seals Rehhagel's place in football history is what he was able to do for Greece, bringing the national team its most successful run of all time. Under Rehhagel, the Hellenic long-shots defeated heavy-hitters like France and Portugal to become European champions. In 2004, he became the first ever foreign citizen to win the "Greek of the Year" award, and he followed up on the accolade by helping Greece reach the tournament stage of the 2010 World Cup.

Arsene Wenger

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    Silverware: AS Monaco: Ligue 1 (1988), Coupe de France (1991); Nagoya Grampus: Emperor's Cup (1995), J. League Super Cup (1996); Arsenal: Premier League (1998, 2002, 2004), FA Cup (1998, 2002, 2003, 2005)

    Arsene Wenger may not have the stocked silverware cabinet or European dominance some other managers on this list have, but as one of the most successful managers of one of the most successful clubs in England, what Wenger has been able to accomplish is about him as a manager, not the trophies he's won.

    There's a reason they call him Le Professeur: cunning and cerebral, Wenger's gift for reading and understanding the game is second to none, and his tactics and experiments with positioning spread to other clubs. He developed a number of promising players and turned them into club icons, among them Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Cesc Fábregas. The newcomers to the squad, among them Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Francis Coquelin, show Wenger's keen eye for developing young talent. 

    Also, there was that time he led the Gunners to an unbeaten season, which is still pretty great. 

Fabio Capello

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    Silverware: AC Milan: Serie A (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996); Supercoppa Italiana (1992, 1993, 1994), UEFA Champions League (1994), European Super Cup (1994); AS Roma: Serie A (2001), Supercoppa Italiana (2001); Juventus: Serie A (2005, 2006 - revoked due to Calciopoli); Real Madrid: La Liga (1997, 2007)

    He's the man announcing legend Ray Hudson once called "braver than a bullfighter with no knickers on." The itinerant Italian is one of just a handful of managers to have seen success in four major footballing cities with four major clubs, although his titles with Juventus were revoked.

    At AC Milan, where he saw the most success, Capello inherited a formidable squad from Arrigo Sacchi including Sacchi's favored Dutch trio and gifted defender Paolo Maldini. The Rossoneri went through an "invincible" season under Capello, going unbeaten in 58 matches and thrilling with their attack-minded, entertaining brand of football.

    Next, an England title perhaps? Who knows? 

Jose Mourinho

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    Silverware: Porto: Portuguese Liga (2003, 2004), Portuguese Supercup (2003), Taça de Portugal (2003), UEFA Cup (2003), UEFA Champions League (2004); Chelsea: Premier League (2005, 2006), Football League Cup (2005, 2007), FA Cup (2007); Inter Milan: Serie A (2009, 2010), Supercoppa Italiana (2008), Coppa Italia (2010), UEFA Champions League (2010); Real Madrid: Copa del Rey (2011) 

    Fiery, controversial and self-assured (critics would say self-absorbed) to the point where he gave himself a nickname, Jose Mourinho isn't the most likable person in world football, but he's a fantastic manager with the accolades to back up the big talk. 

    He first broke into the footballing world serving as an interpreter for Sir Bobby Robson in Portugal, learning the game from the British master. He grew into his own as a manager, and for nearly a decade now, Mou hasn't gone a single season without winning at least one major trophy, and six of the past eight seasons, he's come home with a league championship. Guess he really is "The Special One."

Udo Lattek

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    Silverware: Bayern Munich: DFB-Pokal (1971, 1984, 1986), German Championship (1972, 1973, 1974, 1985, 1986, 1987), European Cup (1974); Borussia Mönchengladbach: German Championship (1976, 1977), UEFA Cup, 1979); Barcelona: UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1982)

    Before Ottmar Hitzfeld, there was Udo Lattek. During his particularly successful stints at Bayern Munich, Lattek coached German legends like Sepp Maier, Gerd Müller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. 

Carlos Bianchi

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    Silverware: Vélez Sarsfield: Torneo Clausura (1993, 1996), Torneo Apertura (1995), Copa Libertadores (1994), Copa Intercontinental (1994); Boca Juniors: Torneo Clausura (1999), Torneo Apertura (1998, 2000, 2003), Copa Libertadores (2000, 2001, 2003), Copa Intercontinental (2000, 2003)

    South American managers often tend to get overlooked in lists such as these, which is a shame, because Carlos Bianchi was one of the best, regardless of geography. "The Viceroy" is best known for his successful stints with Argentine clubs Vélez Sarsfield and Boca Juniors, with whom he became the first and only manager to win four Copa Libertadores titles, and he was named South American Coach of the Year five times.

    Bianchi has expressed interest in taking the reins of the Argentine national team, but as Sergio Batista left, Alejandro Sabella took over, decreasing Bianchi's odds. But hey, you never know.

Marcello Lippi

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    Silverware: Juventus: Serie A (19951997199820022003), Coppa Italia (1995), Supercoppa Italiana (1995, 1997, 2002, 2003), UEFA Champions League (1996), European Supercup (1996), Intercontinental Cup (1996), UEFA Cup (1995); Italy: World Cup (2006)

    After several years turning clubs like Napoli and Sampdoria around, Lippi's services were sought by Juventus, and one of the great club-manager partnerships was born. He brought on a number of players who would become massive stars at the club, including Roberto Baggio and Alessandro del Piero.

    Lippi has received a number of accolades for his coaching, and although he was removed from his post after a disappointing showing for the Azzurri during the 2010 World Cup, but he's said he'd like to come back to coaching soon and either way, coaching legacy is indelible. 

Giovanni Trapattoni

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    Silverware: Juventus: Italian League (1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1983–84, 1985–86), European Cup (1985), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1984), UEFA Cup (1977, 1993), European Super Cup (1984), Intercontinental Cup (1985); Inter Milan: Italian League (1989), UEFA Cup (1991); Bayern Munich: Bundesliga (1997), DFB-Pokal (1998), DFB-Ligapokal (1997); Benfica: Portuguese Liga (2005); Red Bull Salzburg: Austrian League (2007); Ireland: Nations Cup (2011)

    Il Trap is one of just two managers to have won national league titles in four countries (Ernst Happel being the other) and as of this year, he can add an international trophy to his resume with the Republic of Ireland, who he coached to qualification for Euro 2012 this year.

    Trapattoni's enthusiasm for the game is perhaps one of his biggest stand-out qualities, often manifesting itself in outrageous and even myth-stoking ways. There's the whistling, the media outbursts ("STRUNZ!"), the carrying the holy water on the sidelines (his sister's a nun). In the end though, enigmatic as he may seem, Il Trap certainly has a larger-than-life record to match his personality. 

Jock Stein

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    Silverware: Dunfermline Athletic: Scottish Cup (1961); Celtic: Scottish League Champions (1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977), Scottish Cup (1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977), Scottish League Cup (1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1975), European Cup (1967)

    The tiny nation of Scotland has produced countless great football managers: Bill Shankly, Kenny Dalglish, Sir Alex Ferguson. But only one stands above the rest when it comes to representing Scottish football on the national and international stages, and that is Jock Stein.

    Stein got into football as a means of avoiding a life in the coal mines, and in the end, it would be a decision that paid off. His gift for reading the game helped him turn around Hibernian quickly, and although he didn't see any titles with Hibs, he does hold the record for largest win rate at the club. 

    What was so amazing about Jock Stein's career at Celtic though was not that he led the first British team to a Champions of Europe title or that he became the first manager ever to win every possible competition his club entered in one season. It was that he managed to do all of this in 1967 with a team whose members were all born within 30 miles of Celtic Park in Glasgow. His faith and investment in his hometown boys made him an anomaly in the footballing world, and also helped him become a civic hero.

Ottmar Hitzfeld

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    Silverware: FC Aarau: Swiss Cup (1985); Grasshopper: Swiss Super League (1990, 1991), Swiss Cup (1989, 1990), Swiss Supercup (1989); Borussia Dortmund: Bundesliga (1995, 1996), DFB Supercup (1995, 1996), UEFA Champions League (1997); Bayern Munich: Bundesliga (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2008), DFB-Pokal (2000, 2003, 2008), DFB-Ligapokal (1998, 1999, 2000, 2007), Intercontinental Cup (2001), UEFA Champions League (2001)

    The most successful manager in the history of the German league, Ottmar Hitzfeld is one of just three managers to make two teams Champions of Europe.

    Upon his arrival in the Bundesliga, he brought Borussia Dortmund from just above the bottom half of the table to contenders as they finished second the following season and eventually began seeing title wins. Years of success at German juggernauts Bayern Munich would cement his legacy. 

Bob Paisley

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    Silverware: Liverpool: First Division (1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983), Football League Cup (1981, 1982, 1983), European Super Cup (1977), European Cup (1977, 1978, 1981) 

    Bob Paisley became legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly's right-hand man in the "Boot Room" as he worked to rejuvenate the club, turning them from a middling Second Division side into one of England's best clubs.

    Paisley took over where Shankly left off and secured fantastic legacies for both men and the team itself, bringing the Reds from an age of rising stardom to one of pure domination, to the point where some fans will even debate over who was better, he or Shanks (but that's for another post). His loyalty the club was unwavering: he spent his entire career at Anfield, and when Kenny Dalglish took over as player-manager, Paisley served as one of his closest advisors.

Arrigo Sacchi

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    Silverware: Parma: Serie C1 Championship (1986); AC Milan: Serie A (1988), Supercoppa Italiana (1988), European Cup (1989, 1990), European Supercup (1989, 1990), Intercontinental Cup (1989, 1990)

    What continues to amaze fans about Arrigo Sacchi's career is that he is one of the few highly successful managers to never have played the game. As Sacchi himself famously quipped, "I never realised that in order to become a jockey, you have to have been a horse first." In addition to impressing despite his lack of experience and proving his critics wrong, Sacchi was particularly praised for his game-changing acquisitions of three key Dutch internationals: Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, not to mention Italian international greats like Paolo Maldini. 

    If Sacchi's example holds true, then for all of you sitting at home, eyes glazed over, looking at your computers and playing Football Manager instead of spending time on the pitch, would all be excellent managers. 

Bill Shankly

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    Silverware: Liverpool: England First Division (1964, 1966, 1973), England Second Division (1962), FA Cup (1965, 1974), UEFA Cup (1973) 

    Bob Paisley was Liverpool's most successful manager, but Bill Shankly was its greatest, and one of the greatest in English football history. When the Scotsman arrived at the fields of Anfield Road in 1959, the club was in a sorry state: ramshackle facilities, mediocre players and a middling Second Division record. The determined manager overhauled the lot of it, releasing the dregs and setting up Liverpool F.C.'s iconic meeting of the minds, a coaching cabinet known as the "Boot Room." 

    His tactics worked, and within five years, the Reds were not only back in the First Division, but they had established themselves as serious contenders within English football and would be a dominant force in the years that followed. He was also incredibly devoted to the club's fan base and known for responding personally to the letters he received at Melwood training facilities. 

    As an added bonus, Shankly gave us one of the most quotable meditations on football of all time:

    "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."

Sir Matt Busby

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    Silverware: Manchester United: First Division Championship (1952, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967), FA Cup (1948, 1963), European Cup (1968)

    What Sir Matt Busby experienced in February 1958 is something no manager—no human being, rather—should ever have to experience. Busby had already established himself as a manager building a promising side when a plane carrying his best and brightest crashed, killing eight players and permanently ending the careers of two more, with Busby himself being given Last Rites as a result of his grave injuries. 

    But he managed to go on, and the fact that he was able to not only rebuild his squad, but bring them success so resoundingly in such a short time and restore hope to Manchester United's supporters, is more than enough to secure his spot high on this list. In addition to the Munich survivors like Sir Bobby Charlton, Busby brought in new blood, most notably colorful Old Trafford legend George Best, and in 1968, he led the Red Devils to their first European Cup, a title for which he was later knighted.

Brian Clough

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    Silverware: Derby County: First Division (1971); Nottingham Forest: First Division (1978), European Cup (1979, 1980), Football League Cup (1978, 1979, 1989, 1990)

    Plenty of English managers have earned more silverware than Brian Clough, but few have been able to take a middle-of-the-road, usually lower-tier club and turn them into Champions of Europe twice over, and that's why the man they called "Ol' Big 'Ead" is so high on this list.

    A charismatic, somewhat mythic figure known for his argumentative spirit and sometimes sizable ego, Clough shattered conventions about what the mid-table teams are capable of. He commanded respect, was outspoken and sometimes controversial, and all around an absolute legend. 

Ernst Happel

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    Silverware: ADO Den Haag: KNVB Cup (1968); Feyenoord: Dutch League Championship (1971), European Cup (1970), Intercontinental Cup (1970); Brugge: Belgian Championship (1976, 1977, 1978), Belgian Cup (1977); Standard Liege: Belgian Cup (1981), Belgian Supercup (1981), Belgian Championship (1980); Hamburger SV: German Championship (1982, 1983), DFB-Pokal (1987), European Cup (1983); Swarovski Tirol: Austrian Championship (1989, 1990), Austrian Cup (1989)

    Ernst Happel boasts one of the most impressive managerial resumes in the history of the game, only one of three managers to have won the European Cup with two clubs and winning top honors with clubs in four countries.

    After his death, the largest football stadium in Austria was renamed the Ernst Happel Stadion.

Béla Guttmann

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    Silverware: Újpest: Hungarian League (1939, 1947), Mitropa Cup (1939); São Paulo: São Paulo State Championship (1957); Porto: Portuguese Liga (1959); Benfica: Portuguese Liga (1960, 1961), Portuguese Cup (1962), European Cup (1961, 1962)

    A Hungarian Jewish immigrant who fled to America to escape anti-Semitism in his native Austria-Hungary, the odds were against Béla Guttmann due to global ugliness outside his control. After a series of itinerant managerial gigs (including one at AC Milan, where he was sacked for dubious reasons), he found success in Hungary and Brazil before becoming arguably the greatest manager in Portuguese Liga history, finding great success at Benfica and discovering one of its greatest icons, Eusébio.

    In addition to his successes and partnership with Eusébio, Guttmann was also known for his unorthodox tactics, most notably the introduction of a 4-2-4 formation. His must-win mentality and infectious confidence have earned him comparisons to another manager who won a title with Porto, Jose Mourinho. 

Johan Cruyff

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    Silverware: Ajax: UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1987), KNVB Cup (1986, 1987); Barcelona: La Liga (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994), Copa del Rey (1990), Supercopa de España (1991, 1992, 1994), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1989), UEFA Super Cup (1992), European Cup (1992)

    A disciple of "total football" under the great Rinus Michels, the Dutch international went on following a wildly successful playing career (arguably the best European player of all time, in fact) to introduce the concept to a new generation of Ajax and Barcelona players.

    At Barcelona, especially, Cruyff's tactics flourished, with the adaptation of the quirks Dutch game and the tiki-taka passing style becoming a hallmark of Barcelona's gameplay. Following the success of Barça under Cruyff, other clubs began experimenting with the "Dutch influence," and it even played a role in the Spanish national team's recent victories at Euro 2008 and in the 2010 World Cup.

Valeriy Lobanovskyi

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    Silverware: Dynamo Kyiv: Soviet Top League (1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1990), Soviet Cup (1974, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1990), USSR Super Cup (1980, 1985, 1986), Ukrainian Premier League (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001), Ukrainian Cup (1998, 1999, 2000), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1975, 1986), UEFA Super Cup (1975)

    Before Arsene Le Professeur, there was Valeriy the Scientist. The longtime manager of Dynamo Kyiv was the most successful manager behind the Iron Curtain while it was up, and will likely carry that honor long after its fall. A heavily analytical and cerebral manager, Lobanovskyi was a brilliant reader of the game, frequently applying scientific theories and statistics to better advance his side's gameplay. 

    After losing his top players to perestroika and struggling with the USSR national team, he left for a few itinerant years before coming back and turning around his old side once again for another five Ukrainian League titles. He suffered a stroke in 2002 following a Kyiv victory and passed away a few days later—his former star player, Andriy Shevechenko, would be on the winning side of the Champions League final shortly after, and he flew home following the win to place his medal on his teacher's grave. 

Vittorio Pozzo

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    Silverware: Italy: World Cup (1934, 1938), Olympic Gold Medal (1936)

    Before the 1938 World Cup, Vittorio Pozzo received a telegram from Italy's fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. The message: "Win or die." Luckily for Pozzo, his Azzurri took out a formidable Hungary side for their second consecutive World Cup win. 

    Politics aside, Pozzo, known as the "Old Master" in Italy, is the first and only coach to win two World Cups, but his legacy will primarily be the game-changing tactics he introduced. Pozzo is best known for implementing the "Metodo," a modified 2-3-5 turned into a 2-3-2-3 to bolster support in the midfield and bring more balance to the positioning, a move which clearly worked as indicated by those two World Cups. Some have even suggested the present-day FC Barcelona, one of the most successful clubs in the world right now, is expanding upon the form Pozzo introduced. 

Miguel Muñoz

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    Silverware: Real Madrid: Spanish League (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972), European Cup (1960, 1966), Copa del Rey (1962, 1970, 1974), Intercontinental Cup (1960)

    A legend with Los Merengues first as a midfielder and then as a manager, Miguel Muñoz was the mastermind behind one of the most wildly successful sides in world football history: the Real Madrid of the 1960s.

    Decked in crisp, white shirts with only the club's logo tucked in the corner, Muñoz's Madrid was a vision, an entertaining side featuring the likes of Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás (who won the Pichichi trophy four times while Muñoz was at the helm) and Alfredo di Stéfano. 

Herbert Chapman

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    Silverware: Northampton Town: Southern League (1909); Huddersfield Town: Football League (1924, 1925), FA Cup (1923); Arsenal: Football League (1931, 1933, 1934), FA Cup (1930). 

    Herbert Chapman was, as the kids say, the O.G. of English football managers. A mediocre player who spent most of his time on the pitch traveling around the English league, Chapman made some indelible marks on the game as a manager, helping turn Huddersfield Town into contenders and bringing Arsenal their first-ever titles.

    Chapman was a true innovator, championing such then-radical innovations as the tactics board and floodlights on the pitch, being one of the first managers to bring a gramophone and play music in the dressing rooms and being one of the first to suggest a European football competition long before the establishment of UEFA. His sudden death in 1934 meant he was unable to see many of his grand ideas come to fruition, but so far in the new millennium, he's been inducted to the English Football Hall of Fame and been honored with a bust at Highbury. Oh, and did we mention he was responsible for the Arsenal tube station in London?

Helenio Herrera

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    Silverware: Atlético Madrid: League Championship (1950, 1951); Barcelona: League Championship (1959, 1960), Copa del Rey (1959, 1981), Inter-City Fairs Cup (1960); Inter Milan: League Championship (1963, 1965, 1966), Intercontinental Cup (1964, 1965), European Cup (1964, 1965); AS Roma: Coppa Italia (1969)

    Helenio Herrera didn't invent the Catenaccio, the highly defensive style of play employing a libero to prevent deep goals often referred to by critics as "anti-football," but he turned it into a household word among football fans. And his strategy worked, bringing his Inter Milan side great success throughout the 1960s. 

    But many of Herrera's biggest contributions came in his shaping of club morale and mentality. He is often credited as being the first manager to use motivational slogans ("Who doesn't give it all, gives nothing," for example) and first popularized Il Ritiro, a pre-season retreat to promote team bonding. Herrera also recognized the necessity of fan involvement, being the first to emphasize the importance of the "12th man" and galvanizing early supporters' movements, so we have may him to thank for the ultras as well. 

Sir Alex Ferguson

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    Silverware: St. Mirren: Scottish First Division (1977); Aberdeen: Scottish Premier Division (1980, 1984, 1985), Scottish Cup (1982, 1983, 1984, 1986), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1983), UEFA Super Cup (1983); Manchester United: Premier League (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011), FA Cup (1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004), UEFA Champions League (1999, 2008), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1991), UEFA Super Cup (1991), UEFA Club World Cup (2008) 

    Loved by many and hated by probably just as many, Sir Alex Ferguson went from being a great manager at Aberdeen to a legendary one when he built the modern Manchester United dynasty. When he first signed with the Old Trafford side in 1986, they were a middling, bottom-half, hard-drinking side with little morale. His first match in charge of the team was a 2-0 loss to Oxford United. But over the course of the next several years, with determination, a winning mentality and some key signings, Fergie not only rebuilt the club but turned it into a dominant force with the most top-flight English football titles in history and a regular presence in Europe. 

    He was named Premier League Manager of the Year a whopping 10 times, World Soccer magazine's Manager of the Year four times and at the 10th anniversary of the modern Premier League, he was named Manager of the Decade. And with his no-B.S. attitude and competitive spirit, there may be many more accolades to come. 

Rinus Michels

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    Silverware: Ajax: Eredivisie (1966, 1967, 1968, 1970), European Cup (1971), KNVB Cup (1967, 1970, 1971); Barcelona: La Liga (1974), Copa del Rey (1978); 1. FC Köln: DFB-Pokal (1983), The Netherlands: UEFA Euro Championship (1988)

    Sir Alex Ferguson may have the bigger silverware cabinet, but few managers have left an indelible mark on the game the way Dutch master Rinus Michels did. A man who lived for the game beginning with his arrival at the Ajax youth academy until the age of 12, Michels is best known for adapting and popularizing "total football," the fluid, versatility-prioritizing tactic popularized by Michels' Ajax and Barcelona in the 1970s, as well as the Dutch national team that took the '74 World Cup by storm (the Oranje would finish second).

    One of his Oranje disciples, Johan Cruyff, would go on and lead the next generation to success at Ajax and Barcelona by expanding upon Michels' tactics, and evidence can be seen in the games of a number of teams today. FIFA named him Coach of the Century in 1999, but the impact he's had will last well into the 21st until another great comes along and revolutionizes football again. 


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