A soccer coach manages a group of players and is tasked with leading and coaching a group of players on how to win as a team. They are responsible for executing the training sessions and other football-related activities.
Some coaches can be the pioneers of this sport even without many achievements, but with the revolutions, they brought into this game.
Although coaches don’t always get the recognition they deserve, the game would not function without them. The head coach’s job has risen in significance in the modern period.
Did you know Pep Guardiola, considered the best football coach in modern football, signed a new contract with Manchester City on November 23, 2022, keeping him until 2025.
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:
|15. Marcello Lippi||Italy|
|14. Louis Van Gaal||The Netherlands|
|13. Fabio Capello||Italy|
|12. Antonio Conte||Italy|
|11. Diego Pablo Simeone González||Argentina|
|10. Carlo Ancelotti||Italy|
|9. Giovanni Trapattoni||Italy|
|8. Johan Cruyff||The Netherlands|
|7. Ernst Happel||Austria|
|6. Helenio Herrera||Naturalized French|
|5. Arrigo Sacchi||Italy|
|4. Ottmar Hitzfeld||Germany|
|3. José Mourinho||Portugal|
|2. Zinedine Zidane||France|
|1. Pep Guardiola||Spain|
15 Best Soccer Coaches of All Time
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 on 12 April 1948 in Viareggio, Northern Italy. Initially, he started his professional soccer career as 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 were Sampdoria, Atlanta, Napoli, Juventus, and Internazionale.
Currently, he is retired. The last team he managed was China national team until November 14, 2019.
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 2 times world’s best club coach, 1 world cup, 1 champion League, 5 Italian cup, 1 UEFA Supercup, 1 Italian cup, 4 Italian super cup, and 1 intercontinental cup.
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 managed FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United.
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.
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.
His team won 2-0 against Senegal in the Qatar World Cup. Unfortunately, they lost to Argentina in the quarterfinal. The game was decided on a penalty shootout resulting in a 3-4 in favor of Argentina.
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.
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.
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’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 La Liga 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.
Before becoming a coach, he began his professional career as a midfielder at an Italian club. At present, he manages the La Liga club, Real Madrid.
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 among the most celebrated coaches among the only 6 coaches to have won league titles in 4 European countries in soccer history.
Trapattoni is also considered 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 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 one in soccer history.
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.
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 age 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.
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.
In his managerial career, he held the helm of popular clubs like AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, and the Italian national soccer team. After that, he slowly rose to the seat of one of the best soccer coaches of all time.
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 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.
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 considered one of the best soccer coaches.
Mourinho transitioned to a coaching career after playing 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.
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 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 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’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 several titles. He is considered one of the most successful managers, although he has a brief 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 age 13. There, his training officially started.
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.
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.