Ranking the top 15 managers in European football – surprise number one?

first_img 15 15 2. Antonio Conte (Chelsea) – After the Blues’ horror show in the Premier League in 2015/16, nobody expected Antonio Conte to win the title in his first season at Stamford Bridge. They did not have the best of starts and a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in September left them reeling and eighth in the table. Conte reacted to this by changing his formation to revolutionary 3-4-3 and Chelsea went on a 13-match winning run. They stayed top, were impressive and well-drilled, while Conte continued to entertain with his animated touchline antics. The Italian is a passionate manager and it will be interesting to see how his side cope in the Champions League next term. He has three Serie A titles and a Premier League winners’ medal to his name in the last five years, which is some achievement. 6. Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) – LaLiga has a reputation for being a two-horse race between Real Madrid and Barcelona, but Diego Simeone’s Atletico side have changed that. The Argentine tactician is animated, energetic and enthusiastic and his players put in maximum effort for him. They have won LaLiga, Copa del Rey and the Europa League, while coming close by losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final on two occasions. He has rightly earned the reputation as one of Europe’s top managers and has been linked with a number of jobs, including Arsenal. He bizarrely shortened his contract at the club earlier this year, increasing speculation further. 5. Carlo Ancelotti (Bayern Munich) – The 57-year-old’s Bundesliga triumph means Ancelotti has now won the title in Italy, England, France and now Germany. He has three Champions League triumphs on his managerial CV, including La Decima with Real Madrid and he has more than proved his credentials at the highest level with some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Not only that, he has a reputation for being a classy manager since starting at Reggiana in 1995. 15 13. Unai Emery (Paris Saint-Germain) – The Spaniard will admit to being disappointed by his first season in the French capital. Laurent Blanc was unfortunate to lose his post at Paris Saint-Germain last year after winning the treble, but it was his failure to advance in Europe which cost him. The Ligue 1 side’s wealthy owners turned to Sevilla boss Emery, who had turned into somewhat of an expert in Europe after winning successive Europa League titles. PSG retained two cups in Emery’s first campaign at Parc des Princes, losing the league to a talented Monaco, while in Europe they exited at the round of 16 stage after blowing a 4-0 first-leg lead over Barcelona. Emery is regarded as a tactical genius, playing a pressing game while keeping his sides compact and tough to beat. If given time, he could well be the man to bring the European trophy to Paris. 15 3. Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus) – The 49-year-old recently signed a new contract with the Old Lady, keeping him in Turin until 2020. After a poor spell which saw him sacked by AC Milan (despite winning Serie A in 2011), Allegri replaced Antonio Conte at Juve in 2014, guiding them to three successive Serie A titles, two Champions League finals and three Coppa Italia victories. His managerial stock has undoubtedly gone up and he was tipped as a possible replacement for Arsene Wenger during rumours surrounding the Arsenal boss’ future. He has developed a reputation as a master tactician, with his teams playing with fluidity while also being extremely disciplined defensively. They were impressive en route to the Champions League final, with a mixture of experienced and up-and-coming stars. 7. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) – Guardiola had a successful start to his managerial career, transforming a disjointed Barcelona side to win three LaLiga titles, two Copa del Reys and two Champions Leagues before winning three Bundesliga titles and two DFB Pokals with Bayern Munich. Now his ultimate test lies in England with Manchester City. Like Jurgen Klopp, the Catalan brought a lot of expectations and he had a trophy-less first year at the Etihad. They secured Champions League football for next season with a third-place finish and they played some great football at times – they won their first six games and towards the end of the season hit five past Crystal Palace and Watford. He has already started his summer of spending by recruiting Bernardo Silva and goalkeeper Ederson Moraes, while a number of older players have already left the club. Guardiola is a football purist and obsessed with winning and his managerial stock remains high. 9. Jose Mourinho (Manchester United) – The Portuguese boss is often criticised for his methods, but he gets results and will return Manchester United to the elite. In his first season at Old Trafford, they were disappointing in the Premier League – finishing sixth – but won the League Cup and Europa League, thus qualifying for next season’s Champions League. He looks set to spend big in the summer as he continues to mould his own squad. His record speaks for itself across a number of Europe’s top leagues and he is a true winner – he will set up his sides to avoid defeat at any cost. 15 15 4. Leonardo Jardim (Monaco) – With Paris Saint-Germain’s recent dominance, nobody fancied Monaco for the Ligue 1 title at the start of 2016/17, but Jardim’s young talented side triumphed, as well as reaching the last four of the Champions League. The 42-year-old faces the ultimate test now, as his side looks set to be dismantled, with Bernardo Silva already sold to City while the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho and Benjamin Mendy are in demand. He had them playing stunning football at times and should he help them retain the title or go one further in Europe, a number of clubs will be queuing up for his signature next summer. He was rightly rewarded by Monaco this week, penning a new and improved contract at the club until 2020. 15 12. Ronald Koeman (Everton) – It is not often you see top players turn into top managers, but the Dutch legend’s stock is increasing rapidly. His first job was with Vitesse in 2001 and he gained good experience with Ajax, Benfica, PSV, Valencia and AZ Alkmaar before coming to the Premier League with Southampton. He had big boots to fill after Mauricio Pochettino’s departure to Tottenham, but he continued the good work at St Mary’s by taking them further up the table to seventh and then sixth, despite selling key players along the way. He had a good first season with Everton, helping them to qualify for next term’s Europa League, playing some good football and giving opportunities to youth players. He was linked with replacing Luis Enrique at Barcelona and, going by his comments, it would be no surprise to see the 54-year-old in the Camp Nou hotseat in the future. 11. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) – A manager that has divided opinion and generated a lot of talk over the last few months – and years – but he is here to stay for two more seasons. He has managed some of Arsenal’s best ever sides, played brilliant football and more. Some feel he is behind in the game, but Wenger has been a top custodian to Arsenal and, according to reports, he is prepared to spend big this summer. His side always start well and look like they could go all the way and lift the Premier League title, playing great football along the way, before a mid-season dip in form. He has only recently switched to a back three and showed tactical naivety, but the Frenchman is still up there as a quality manager. 15 1. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid) – It has been an incredible 18 months for Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager. After a period in charge of Real’s B team, he was brought in to replace Rafa Benitez and he soon found his feet as boss of the world’s biggest club. After less than six months in the hotseat, he won the Champions League before securing a LaLiga-Champions League double the following season, helping them become the first club to retain the European Cup since its reformat in 1992. The Frenchman has had to deal with some of world football’s biggest stars, and he has been praised for his management of Cristiano Ronaldo with the Portuguese star now 32 years old. He has dealt with the off-field politics of being Madrid manager extremely well, has a cool and calm persona on the sideline, communicates brilliantly with his players and is well respected given his career as a world-class midfielder. He has given chances to young players such as Casemeiro (from the B team) and they played some great football en route to lifting the trophy. 10. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) – The German brought a lot of expectations when he arrived in England to replace Brendan Rodgers at Anfield. We have seen evidence of his methods and brilliant attacking play, but he still has a lot to prove. He will be hoping to shore up his defence – his side conceded too much last term, add strength in depth – they were often caught out due to injuries, and improve his side’s fitness – his high-intensity approach clearly had its impact on players tiring at stages in the season. One of his main objectives in his first full season at Liverpool was to qualify for the Champions League, which he has done. He took the club to the final of the League Cup and Europa League last season and has won the Bundesliga twice, DFB Pokal and reached the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund. Plus he has an extremely likable personality. 15 15 15 14. Ralph Hasenhuttl (RB Leipzig) – This time last year, it is fair to say Hasenhuttl and RB Leipzig were fairly unheralded outside Germany, although the club were rapidly developing the reputation of being one of Germany’s most hated clubs. The Austrian was tasked with taking charge of the club in their first ever season in the Bundesliga and nobody could have predicted how well they would settle (both with a new boss AND in a new league). At one point, they were even being tipped to battle Bayern in the title race. With an extremely young and talented side, they were runners up – three points clear of Borussia Dortmund in third and 15 points behind the champions – and picked up plenty of plaudits along the way. Providing they can keep hold of their top talents, such as Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg, it will be interesting to see where Hasenhuttl can take them next year in the Bundesliga and Champions League. 15. Julian Nagelsmann (Hoffenheim) – click the right arrow, above, to see who else makes talkSPORT’s list of top 15 managers… – Eyebrows were raised when the 28-year-old was appointed by Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim to replace Huub Stevens in February 2016. He faced a tough task in his first senior managerial position, with his side second bottom in the league and five points adrift of 16th (where a relegation play-off is required). Rather impressively, they finished the season in 15th, made some additions and then came fourth in 2016/17. Hoffenheim will enter qualification for the Champions League group stages next season and you would back Nagelsmann to get his side to the group stages. Now 29, he has a promising career ahead of him. 15 15 15 Managers are now world stars and more important than ever.Huge sums are being paid to get Europe’s top bosses in charge of clubs and the Premier League’s managerial list is more star-studded than ever before.READ MORE: Eight highest-paid managers in the Premier League: Including Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola wagesIn recent days, Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim and Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri have signed new contracts to end speculation over their futures.Antonio Conte became a Premier League champion at the first attempt, while Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp may have tasted success in the Bundesliga, but they had a difficult first full season at Manchester City and Liverpool respectively. So who is currently the best club manager in the continent?Click the right arrow, above, to see who else makes talkSPORT’s list of top 15 managers and, as ever, comment with your thoughts, below… 15 8. Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur) – Pochettino was relatively unknown when he arrived in England to replace Nigel Adkins, who was unfortunate to lose his job at Southampton. It proved to be a masterstroke as the Argentine boss soon had an impact on the side, with an exciting style of football. He left for Tottenham after less than 18 months and he has done brilliantly. He has spent considerably less than their Premier League rivals, but has still seen them in the thick of a title race in two seasons, finishing third and second respectively. He gives youth opportunity and puts faith in young English talent. Reports linked him with the Barcelona vacancy, but the 45-year-old says he will never manage the Catalan club due to his connections with nearby Espanyol. Poch is building something special in north London – even helping them better Arsenal in the league for the first time in 22 years – and he could be the man to help the club secure their first league title since Bill Nicholson’s 1960-61-winning side. last_img read more