Great managers are the figurehead of a football club, the brains behind the operation and those tasked with bringing success to their side.
From tactical innovators, to experienced veterans and emerging tacticians, we’ve took on the difficult task of ranking the best managers in world football.
Ranking the five best managers in world football right now.
5. Luciano Spalletti
Luciano Spalletti has decided to walk away from Napoli this summer after leading the club to a drought-breaking Scudetto.
Not since Diego Maradona adorned the colours of the club had Napoli been crowned champions, but Spalletti’s side ended a 33-year wait for Serie A success with a sublime season. Napoli won 21 of their opening 24 fixtures of the season to take a commanding lead and wrapped up a third league title with five games to spare.
No longer ‘Eterno Secondo’ 🏆
Luciano Spalletti FINALLY proved the doubters wrong 💙🤫
At 64 years and 58 days, he is now the OLDEST manager to win a Serie A title. pic.twitter.com/BFouuLpN8j
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) May 4, 2023
The success of Spalletti came despite high-profile exits last summer, with some anticipating decline after Lorenzo Insigne, Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens and Fabio Ruiz all moved on. Spalletti has rebuilt with remarkable recruitment.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – signed from Georgia’s Dinamo Batumi – has been the breakthrough star of the season after being named as Serie A’s Most Valuable Player, while Kim Min-jae has been a rock-like revelation at the back.
Napoli were fun to watch and a season of joy at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona has ensured Spalletti immortality in a city that he’ll never need to buy a pint in again. The 64-year-old has confirmed he will take a break from the game, but will be on the radar of top clubs in need of a new direction.
4. Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta spent his formative seasons as a coach working under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage and the results are clear after a season in which the Spaniard emerged as his former mentor’s biggest competition.
Improvement was expected at Arsenal this season, but few envisaged a campaign that saw the Gunners challenge for the Premier League title. The north Londoners were exceptional for the bulk of the campaign and led the table for 248 days – a record for a team who did not go on to win the title.
— Premier League (@premierleague) June 5, 2023
Arsenal’s inexperienced side – on average the second youngest team in the Premier League last season – faltered down the run-in, but will benefit from the experience of a title challenge and have the foundations to go again next season.
Arteta’s tactical approach has been to dominate possession and press aggressively off the ball, while the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko saw the Ukrainian used as an inverted full-back to create overloads and aid in progression up the pitch.
Arsenal were excellent last season and might only have scratched the surface of their real potential, given the club’s key figures – Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and William Saliba – are all aged 24 or under.
Arteta will demand his side go head-to-head with Guardiola and Manchester City again next season. The master might just have created a monster.
3. Carlo Ancelotti
Last season will not be remembered as a vintage one for Carlo Ancelotti and might even be his final in charge at Real Madrid, but the experienced Italian campaigner remains one of the best managers around.
Ancelotti’s storied success has spanned into four different decades, reaching the Champions League semi-finals in each decade since the nineties during a career that has seen the 64-year-old win the competition on a record four occasions.
⏪ From 1998/99 to 2021/22…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 26, 2022
Far from a dynasty at one club, Ancelotti has taken on new challenges and new competitions. He is one of just six managers to have won the Champions League with different clubs and the only coach to have ever won each of Europe’s top five leagues.
His ability to manage egos and command respect from within the dressing room is an underrated attribute when much of the focus is on tactics and innovation, with Ancelotti’s longevity at the top of the game admirable. Real Madrid might decide on change after a disappointing domestic campaign, but you can be assured that Ancelotti will not be short of offers if his second spell at the Bernabeu does comes to an end.
2. Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool are another side who performed below expectations last season, but in Jurgen Klopp have a leader the club can be confident in to turn things around.
The German has transformed Liverpool into one of Europe’s best sides during his seven-and-a-half seasons in charge at Anfield, with the Reds having regularly challenged for the biggest trophies in the game under his management.
Liverpool have won every major honour and reached three Champions League finals since Klopp’s arrival as manager, despite a net spend that ranks them tenth in the Premier League from his first summer in charge.
Improvements and refreshment are required, particularly in midfield, if Liverpool are to return to previous heights after a disappointing season but Klopp has already shown a willingness to adapt. The late-season move of Trent Alexander-Arnold into midfield was an encouraging experiment and he will hope to provide the service to a forward line full of raw potential next season.
1. Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola is the number one coach in the game and, for some, perhaps the greatest of all time.
The Spaniard continues to innovate and find success, with his tenure at Manchester City having been one in which Guardiola has tweaked tactics – often one step ahead of rivals – to ensure the Etihad outfit remain England’s dominant force.
Whether it’s false nines, inverted full-backs or no full-backs at all, Guardiola continues to change tactical perceptions. This season he has moved to a 3-2-4-1 formation, one which has seen John Stones moulded into one of Europe’s best midfielders after being given licence to roam from his nominal centre-back role.
300 – Pep Guardiola won his 300th game in charge of Manchester City last night.
Fewest games needed to reach 300 wins with English top-flight clubs:
413 – Pep Guardiola
493 – José Mourinho
515 – Arsène Wenger
515 – Bob Paisley
524 – Don Revie
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 11, 2023
It’s now five titles in the last six seasons for Guardiola’s team. In 2017/18, his side became the ‘Centurions’ as the first team in English football history to record 100 points in a campaign. The following season a first-ever domestic treble arrived, while this season has perhaps exceeded even those achievements.
City have become just the second English team to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season, as the club’s elusive wait for European success was ended. Guardiola is the first coach in history to lead two different teams to continental treble success, after first doing so with Barcelona in 2008/09.
The records and accolades are perhaps enough for Guardiola to be acclaimed the best, but perhaps the true testament to his greatness is the impact he has had on clubs elsewhere. Mikel Arteta and Roberto De Zerbi are among those whose approaches are influenced by Guardiola, while even Klopp has taken note of his old rival’s success when moving Trent Alexander-Arnold from full-back into midfield. His impact is evident from changes right through the football pyramid.