15 Best Soccer Coaches of All Time

Every fan knows that, ultimately, a good soccer coach is behind a team’s victory. A soccer coach is a key person who works with the players to bring out their full potential and devise a strategy to bring the best out of the team.

Some coaches can be the pioneers of this sport even without many achievements, but with the revolutions they brought into this game.

ferguson-with-the-premier-league-trophy
Ferguson With The Premier League Trophy (Source: The Sun)

Without further delay, let’s go through this list of the best soccer coaches of all time to learn about them, shall we?

But first, let’s look at a quick overview:

NamesNationality
15. Marcello LippiItaly
14. Louis Van GaalThe Netherlands
13. Fabio CapelloItaly
12. Antonio ConteItaly
11. Diego Pablo Simeone González Argentina
10. Carlo AncelottiItaly
 9. Giovanni TrapattoniItaly
 8. Johan CruyffThe Netherlands
 7. Ernst HappelAustria
 6. Helenio HerreraNaturalized French
 5. Arrigo SacchiItaly
 4. Ottmar HitzfeldGermany
 3. José MourinhoPortugal
 2. Zinedine ZidaneFrance
 1. Pep GuardiolaSpain

15 Best Soccer Coaches of All Time

The list below has been compiled from various sources around the web, like Business Insider, All Famous, etc.

Here are 15 of those most celebrated, best soccer coaches from around the world who have excelled in their roles.

15. Marcello Lippi

Marcello Lippi was born in Viareggio in northern Italy. Initially, he started his professional career in soccer in the role of a sweeper’s defender in 1969.

Marcello held the helm of the Italian national soccer as a coach from 2004 to 2006. Likewise, the other clubs he coached in his initial days were Juventus and Internazionale.

Currently, he is retired. However, he managed the China national team until November 14, 2019.

marcello-lippi-in-cattelan-studio
Marcello Lippi In Cattelan Studio (Source: Studio Cattelan)

Marcello is highly regarded as one of the best soccer coaches. He was also listed in the top 50 managers of all time by Times magazine.

The notable titles won in Marcello’s career to date include 1 FIFA World cup, 5 Series Championships, and  1 UEFA Champions League title.

Similarly, it also includes victories like 3 Chinese Super League and 1 AFC Champions League title.

Throughout his career, he managed 856 games, winning 430 games, losing 195 games, and drawing 231 games.

14. Louis Van Gaal

Louis Van Gaal, nicknamed the Iron Tulip, started his career as a youngster playing for the Amsterdam amateur side RKSV de Meer.

Van Gaal has coaching experience of nearly three decades. This dutch football manager has managed some of the biggest clubs in the soccer world, starting in the early nineties with Ajax.

Then he went ahead to manage FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United.

Despite his official retirement in 2019, he has returned to manage the Netherlands national team from August 4th, 2021, and he has a contract with them until December 31, 2022.

van-gaal-during-his-time-at-manu
Van Gaal During His Time At ManU (Source: Manchester Evening News)

Louis van Gaal’s biggest titles in his magnificent long coaching career consist of 2 La Liga Championships, and  3 Eredivisie Championships.

It also consists of 1 Bundesliga, 1 Copa del Rey, 1 UEFA Cup, and 1 UEFA Champions League.

In his managerial career, he has managed 920 games so far and won 558 games while having an equal number of losses and draws, i.e., 181 games.

His team won 2-0 against Senegal in the Qatar World Cup. 

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13. Fabio Capello

Despite being infamous for his overly strict attitude, Fabio Capello is hailed as one of the most successful coaches.

He debuted his soccer career in 1964 as a midfielder for SPAL. After a career as a professional player for 15 years, Capello shifted to a coaching career.

He began coaching with AC Milan with the tremendous success of winning 4 Serie A championships.

Since then, he has managed some of the biggest clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus, Roma, and England and Russia national teams.

fabio-capello-in-a-suit
Fabio Capello In A Suit (Source: The Guardian)

His last managerial venture was with Jiangsu FC (1994-2021).

Before his retirement as a coach, Capello won 5 Serie A Championships, 2 La Liga Championships, and 1 UEFA Champions League title.

He managed different teams for 841 matches, winning 460 games, and losing 143 games while drawing 238 games. 

12. Antonio Conte

One of the most celebrated players in the history of Juventus, Antonio Conte, started his coaching journey in 2006.

Conte led the club to the Serie A title resulting in a win each season, while managing Juventus for 3 years in the 2011-2012 season.

conte-pointing-at-the-camera
Conte Pointing At The Camera (Source: Goal.com)

The other clubs that Conte took over as a coach include Chelsea, Milan, and now Tottenham Hotspur. He also managed the Italian national team till UEFA Euro 2016.

He won Premier League in his first season with Chelsea, the FA cup in 2018, and Serie A title in his second and final season with Milan.

In the 22/23 season with the Spurs, he has already managed 22 games, winning 22 games, and losing 4 games while ending the 4 games with a draw. He signed with the Spurs on November 2, 2021.

11. Diego Pablo Simeone González

Diego Simeone is considered a rising star in the soccer coaching world. He started his professional soccer player career in 1987 before transitioning to coaching.

Simeone has coached Estudiantes de La Plata, River Plate, San Lorenzo, Italian club Catania, Argentine Sides Racing Club, and Atletico Madrid.

He is considered an important club figure because of his contribution to Atletico Madrid as a professional player and a coach.

simeone-during-a-match
Simeone During A Match (Source: Football Espana)

Simeone’s achievements include 2 UEFA Europa League, 2 UEFA Super Cups, and 2 La Liga.

Moreover, he has also won titles like 1 Copa del Rey, the Spanish domestic cup, and the 2014 Spanish League title.

His contract with the LaLiga team, Atletico Madrid, will end on June 30, 2024. As of this writing, he has successfully managed 809 games; 447 wins, 193 draws, and 169 losses.

10. Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti (nicknamed “Carletto”) is considered one of the best soccer coaches. Ancelotti is one of the only three managers to have won the UEFA Champions League three times.

Ancelotti is also one of the 7 people to have won the European Cup as both a player and a manager.

He began his professional playing career with an Italian club as a midfielder before becoming a coach. At present, he manages the La Liga club, Real Madrid.

ancelottis-cold-look
Ancelotti’s Cold Look (Source: Pinterest)

Ancelotti also has managed clubs like Juventus, Reggiana, Parma, AC Milan, Chelsea FC, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Everton, and Napoli.

His coaching career’s major title wins are 2 FIFA Club World Cups, 2 World’s Best Club Coach, 1 Serie A Championship, 1 Premier League Championship, 1 German Championship, 1 Coppa Italia, and 4 Champions League.

Furthermore, he has also won 3 European Super Cups, 1 Italian Super Cup, 2 German Super Cups, and 1 FA Cup.

He has completed 1206 matches as a manager, winning 719 games and losing 229 games.

9. Giovanni Trapattoni

Giovanni Trapattoni is one of the most celebrated coaches among the only 6 coaches to have won league titles in 4 different European countries in soccer history.

Trapattoni is also considered to be the most successful coach in the modern era of Serie A.

Trapattoni was a professional player and spent his entire club career with AC Milan. He began his coaching career as a youth team coach at Milan before taking on a caretaker coach.

trapattoni-smiling
Trapattoni Smiling (Source: FC Bayern)

Trapattoni managed some of the biggest clubs in his coaching career, including Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, the Italian national team, and the Republic of Ireland.

During his managerial career, he won 7 Serie A Championships, 1 Bundesliga Championship, and 1 Primeira Liga Championship.

Likewise, he has also won 1 Austrian Bundesliga Championship, 1 UEFA Europa League, and 1 UEFA Champions League.

He retired as a manager of the Republic of Ireland on September 11, 2013.

8. Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff, nicknamed “El Falco,” is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in soccer history. He was an excellent coach and one of the finest players of all time.

Cruyff managed Ajax and FC Barcelona during his career as a coach. He was an influential figure and is still considered to be one in soccer history.

Johan Cruyff in Netherland
Johan Cruyff In Netherlands (Source: Wikimedia)

Cruyff won 4 La Liga Championships, 2 UEFA Cup Winners Cups, and 1 UEFA Champions League in his managerial career.

Sadly, Johan Cruyff passed away on 24 March 2016. However, he is still remembered as one of the greatest soccer players and best soccer coaches of all time by the fans of the sport.

His soccer philosophy still influences coaches and players to date.

He managed 1409 matches throughout his career, bagging 719 wins, 399 draws, and 281 losses.

7. Ernst Happel

One can not miss Ernst Happel when naming the best soccer coaches of all time.

Happel is one of the 6 managers to win top-flight domestic league championships in at least 4 different countries. He is also one of the first 5 managers to win the European Cup with 2 clubs.

Happel retired as a soccer player in 1962. He then started his managerial career with ADO Den Haag.

ernst-happel-smoking-a-cigerratte
Ernst Happel Smoking A Cigerratte (Source: Der Spiegel)

His role as a manager leads him to manage some of the biggest clubs like Club Brugge, Hamburg, and The Netherlands national soccer team.

Over the course of this managerial career, he won 1 Eredivisie Championship, 3 Belgian Championships, and 2 Bundesliga Championships.

Similarly, he has also won 2 Austrian Championships and 2 UEFA Champions League.

Unfortunately, Happel died of lung cancer at the age of 66 in 1992.

During his career as a coach, he managed 809 matches with 475 wins, 165 draws, and 169 losses.

6. Helenio Herrera

Helenio Herrera was a naturalized French who is considered one of the most successful coaches in the soccer world.

Herrera debuted as a professional player in the soccer world before successfully transitioning to a coach.

He was the first manager to collect credit for his team’s performances. Consequently, he was considered a revolutionary during his time in the soccer world.

one-of-pioneers-of-soccer-helenio-herrera
One Of The Pioneers Of Soccer, Helenio Herrera (Source: Leicester City)

During his coaching career, he was in charge of some of the biggest clubs like Atletico Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Inter Milan.

He also managed Spain’s (1960-1962) and Italy’s (1966-1967) national teams.

His major titles win 4 La Liga Championships, 3 Serie A Championships, and 2 UEFA Champions League.

Herrera died at the age of 87 years old on 9 November 1997.

5. Arrigo Sacchi

Unlike most of the coaches on this list, Arrigo Sacchi was never a professional soccer player before being a coach.

Famous for his quote, “I never realized that to become a jockey, you have to have been a horse first,” he was a shoe salesman before entering the soccer world.

He held the helm of popular clubs like AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, and the Italian national soccer team in his managerial career. After that, he slowly rose to the seat of one of the best soccer coaches of all time.

sacchi-with-uefa-presidents-award
Sacchi With UEFA President’s Award (Source: Twitter)

Even though Sacchi was not a World Cup-winning coach, he won 1 Serie A Championship and 2 UEFA Champions League coaches.

He recently won the 2022 UEFA President’s Award winner.

In his 363 matches as a manager, he recorded 183 wins, 106 draws, and 74 losses.

4. Ottmar Hitzfeld

Ottmar Hitzfeld (nickname der General ) is one of the most celebrated coaches in the soccer world. He is among one of the only 5 managers to win the UEFA Champions League with two clubs.

Hitzfeld was a secondary school teacher of mathematics and sport before entering the soccer world.

He became a professional soccer player in the late 1960s and began his coaching journey at the beginning of the 1980s.

ottmar-hitzfeld-during-a-game
Ottmar Hitzfeld During A Game (Source: Wikipedia)

Hitzfled took the head coach role for Grasshopper, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, and the Swiss national team.

His managerial career is decorated with title wins like 2 Swiss Super League Championships, 7 Bundesliga Championships, and 2 UEFA Champions League titles.

After six years of a successful Swiss national team manager career, Hitzfeld retired in 2014.

3. José Mourinho

José Mourinho is a Portuguese-born coach who is considered one of the best soccer coaches of all time.

Mourinho transitioned to a coaching career after playing as a midfielder in the Portuguese Leagues. He has an extraordinary winning rate.

Despite his controversial personality, he is highly respected for his tactical knowledge, charisma, and knack for perfection.

José Mourinho 2017
José Mourinho During Press Conference 2017 (Source: Wikimedia)

Mourinho is currently working as a head coach for Roma. Before that, he managed clubs like FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, etc.

Mourinho’s winning includes 4 World’s Best Club Coach, 2 Primeira Liga Championships, 3 Premier League Championships, 2 Serie A Championships, 1 La Liga Championship, 1 UEFA Europa League title, 2 UEFA Champions League titles, ad 1 Conference League Winner.

He has managed 1071 matches so far with 675 wins, 214 draws, and 182 losses.

2. Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Yazid Zidane is also undoubtedly one of the most skilled soccer coaches at the present time. 

Zidane had his first introduction to football at 5. However, his passion for soccer made him one of the best professional soccer players with outstanding control and dribbling skills.

After showcasing his phenomenal skills as a player, he became the coach for Real Madrid Castilla in 2014.

zidane-with-his-3rd-ucl
Zidane With His 3rd UCL (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

Zidane’s managerial skills have earned his team 1 La Liga Championship and 3 UEFA Champions League titles.

He managed Real Madrid FC as a head coach from August 26, 2014,  to July 1, 2021. During his managerial venture with Real Madrid, he collected a number of titles. He is considered one of the most successful managers, although he has a concise managing career.

His title collection includes; 2 World’s Best Club Coach, 2 FIFA Club World Cups, 3 Champions League, 2 Spanish leagues, 2 UEFA Super Cups, and 2 Spanish Super Cups.

He has managed 301 matches, winning 190 games and losing 48 games only.

1. Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is one of the most acclaimed soccer coaches in the world. He holds the record for the most consecutive league games won in La Liga, the Bundesliga, and the Premier League.

Guardiola was inducted into the youth academy of Barcelona at the age of 13. There, his training officially started.

Pep Guardiola training FC Bayern Munich
Pep Guardiola Training FC Bayern Munich (Source: Wikimedia)

He is regarded as one of the best soccer players and midfielders. In 2007, Guardiola retired from being a professional player and started his managerial career.

He started his managerial career with Barcelona B. From then onwards, he moved on to manage other clubs like Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Guardiola’s major title wins include 3 La Liga Championships, 3 Bundesliga Championships, 4 Premier Leagues, 2 World best Club Coach, and 2 UEFA Champions League titles.

He is under a contract with Manchester City until June 30, 2025. Pep has managed 782 games, 579 wins, 106 draws, and 97 losses.

Conclusion

In soccer, the player’s skills and teamwork play an important part in the victory, but it is also important for fans to realize the major influence in shaping the team to their success is the manager.

So, let’s celebrate these individuals for their hard work and contributions to the sport, making them the best soccer coaches of all time.

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