The Best Football Managers of 2016


10)  Jorge Jesus

Jorge Jesus is easily one of the best managers Portugal have ever produced. The 61-year old turned many heads with his decision to join Sporting from Benfica in a move which many saw as a perfidious one. The tactician had won a host of trophies at Estadio Da Luz and had overseen the development of some of the best players in the world like Matic, David Luiz and Di Maria. Under his expert eyes, Sporting broke many records last season and faced just two defeats. However, for all their excellent performances, they couldn’t end their barren trophyless run. The club did take great heart in having defeated Benfica thrice in four meetings.


9) Ronald Koeman

The Dutchman’s magnificent playing style evinced that he would one day make a great manager. He was a prominent member of the PSV side of ’88 that went on to become European Champions. He joined Barca later in his career and was influential in their maiden European Cup win ’92. Under Johan Cryuff’s guidance, both Pep Guardiola and Koeman developed into one of the finest players. The duo’s philosophy is greatly influenced by the Cryuff. Not a favourite in England when he arrived, partly due to his winner against the English in the World Cup ’94, and Koeman replaced an outgoing Pochettino. He had the task of replacing an exceptional manager and players like Lallana and Lambert at St. Mary’s. His dealings in the market were a frugal one as he signed players like Pelle, Tadic, and went on to better Pochettino’s best finish. This summer, he confirmed his desire to join Everton and has since transformed the Toffees into a tough side. Looks like Farhad Moshiri’s decision is paying dividends.


8) Claudio Ranieri

When Claudio Ranieri was sacked as Chelsea manager back in ’04, it was said that the Italian had become outdated in his tactics and could no longer master a team to the very top. The digs mostly came in from hubristic Jose Mourinho who called him too old to be a Chelsea manager. However, the Italian foreman did not let those comments affect him. He came back to the Premier League at the end of 2014-15 season to manage Leicester City, a side that had been flirting with relegation a season before. Ranieri changed the foxes’ system from a 3-5-2 to a more conventional 4-4-2. The foxes gave a remarkable performance throughout the season and against all odds, went on to win the Premier League title. Ranieri also enjoyed the last laugh against an impotent Jose Mourinho as the defeat to Leicester ended Mourinho’s second term at Chelsea.


7) Jurgen Klopp

It takes some courage to take on the mighty Bayern Munich in Germany. Over the years, many teams like Gladbach and Wolfsburg have tried their luck putting up a fight against the Bavarians but failed to keep up with the record champions. However, under Jurgen Klopp’s poignant guidance the black and yellow challenged Bayern Munich on all fronts and successfully won two Bundesliga titles leaving the Bavarians appalled. The special thing about Klopp’s management was that BVB enjoyed sustained success against an affluent Bavarian side. His fairytale with Dortmund finally came to an end in 2015 after eight years of unprecedented success. He replaced Brendan Rogers at Liverpool midway through the last season and has already seen some classic nights at Anfield. The highlight of last season would have to be a fantastic comeback win against his former side, Dortmund. This season, Klopp has transformed the side into genuine title contenders as the club sit 2nd in the Premier League.


6) Max Allegri

It is often said that the Italians are the best managers in the world. Max Allegri, with his tactical prowess, has certainly made the notion even stronger. After his spell with AC Milan came to a disastrous end, he replaced Antonio Conte at Juventus. This was certainly not going to be an easy task as Juve had enjoyed great success under Conte. However, Allegri has taken Juventus a step further, and they are easily the best team in Italy. The Bianconeri have won five successive Serie A titles, two of them under Allegri. Under his supreme guidance, the club reached the Champions League final. The summer of 2015 was unarguably the hardest one for the Italian as he had overseen the likes of Pirlo and Vidal leave the club. Allegri changed Marchisio’s position and the club have continued their dominance. This summer the club saw their prized asset, Paul Pogba, leave for Manchester United. However, Juve have continued to perform at the highest level with players like Dybala, Higuain, Khedira now at the club and are well on the road to a sixth consecutive title.


5) Unai Emery

The Spaniard is one of the top coaches in the world at the moment. His successes with Sevilla, which included three straight Europa League titles, did not go unnoticed. He was snapped up by PSG this summer as the club wanted Emery to guide them to the top of European football. Emery is now in-charge of a much wealthier and talented side than he ever managed. Still 44, Emery has all the talent to become a legendary manager. PSG have stuttered under the Spaniard, but there is no doubt that Emery will come good in Paris.


4) Jose Mourinho

The Portuguese’s second term at Stamford Bridge came to a tempestuous end as the club remarkably under-performed whilst defending their league title. It is said that Mourinho lost his dressing room and several players turned against him. Despite all the criticisms directed at the Portuguese player, it does not take away the fact that he was a Premier League champion just a year ago. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ took up the daunting task of becoming Manchester United’s manager. The club’s expectations were ultimately too much for Van Gaal and David Moyes. However, the Portuguese remained unfazed by the task at hand and has since made United perform at their accepted standards. The club looks well on the road to returning to their standard under the pragmatist tactician.


3) Luis Enrique

The Spaniard deserves huge credit for sustaining Pep Guardiola’s success at the club. Ever since Guardiola left the club, Barca had failed to find a suitable replacement. Tata Martino and the late Tito Vilanova were given their chance; although, the club did not look like their old self. In came their ex-star, Luis Enrique. Enrique transformed the playing style of the club. He has them playing beautiful football. However, they also look flexible playing counter-attacking football. He has managed to accommodate Luis Suarez alongside Messi in the line-up, something even Pep failed to do.


2) Pep Guardiola

The Spaniard has changed the way football was played since joining Barca as manager. Under his guidance, Barca became unstoppable and played an erratic yet beautiful style of football. The likes of Xavi, Iniesta ran the show as Barca won the Champions League twice under Pep. He left for Bayern, and despite initial criticism, he changed Bayern’s playing style. The club renowned for counter-attacking football also played the beautiful way and enjoyed unstoppable success. Now at City, Pep faces his toughest task yet in the most competitive league on earth. There is no doubt that the welcome hasn’t been the most boisterous one, but if there is anyone who can make the Premier League look easy, it is Pep.


1) Diego Simeone

El Cholo is unarguably the best manager in the world. To go up against the likes of Real Madrid and Barca takes some doing. Although, under Simeone, Atletico managed to win the league title. The club were a mediocre mid-table side when Simeone came in, but are now a top European club. All the credit goes to Simeone. He has led the club to some great nights like the win against rivals, Madrid and Bayern. Atletico play a much unorthodox counter attacking football where everyone is talking about possession football. He has had heartbreak in this time having faced defeats in the Champions League final. But, Simeone is a warrior and has the full backing of the club’s top players like Griezmann, Koke, Godin and Gabi. Simeone doesn’t seem perturbed by these failures and has the club fighting on all fronts again this season.