Winning the Champions League is often viewed as the pinnacle of club football, a competition where Europe’s elite compete to be crowned as the continent’s finest.
The finest footballers in the game showcase their skills in each Champions League campaign, but the greatest sides in Europe also need a leading coach with the nous and tactical intelligence to thrive at the highest level.
We’ve decided to look at five coaches to have regularly been trusted by the biggest clubs in Europe, an exclusive group of tacticians who have taken charge of six or more Champions League clubs.
Here are the five managers who’ve coached six or more different sides in the Champions League:
Claudio Ranieri – 6 teams
Claudio Ranieri has now taken charge of an incredible 18 different clubs following his appointment as Sampdoria manager last year, the likeable Italian well travelled when it comes to the managerial merry-go-round.
Ranieri has also taken charge of six different sides in the Champions League, first experiencing the competition during his first spell in English football with Chelsea.
It was Ranieri who guided the west London outfit into the Champions League in an event which sparked the billionaire takeover of Roman Abramovich at Stamford Bridge, where he guided to the Blues to the semi-finals in his final season in charge before being replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Ranieri later managed the likes of Valencia, Juventus, Roma and Inter Milan in the competition with limited success, before guiding Leicester City into the tournament on the back of an astonishing Premier League title triumph with the Foxes
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Rafael Benitez – 6 teams
Rafael Benitez remains one of the most respected coaches in the European game despite his departure to the Chinese Super League last year, the Spaniard having enjoyed huge success in continental competition.
Benitez won two league titles at Valencia and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League during his time with the Spanish side, before moving on to Liverpool and enjoying the crowning moment of his managerial career.
His debut season on Merseyside saw the Reds regarded as rank outsiders for the trophy before being crowned as champions of Europe for the first time in more than two decades, their success sealed after a thrilling final fightback against AC Milan in Istanbul.
Benitez later succeeded Jose Mourinho at reigning European champions Inter Milan but struggled to replicate his predecessor’s triumphs, before also managing Chelsea, Real Madrid and Napoli in the competition.
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Jose Mourinho – 6 teams
One of the most successful managers of the modern era, Jose Mourinho’s legend was built on his success in the Champions League.
The charismatic Portuguese coach guided unfancied Porto to the trophy – infamous touchline sprint at Old Trafford included – during a trophy-laden spell with the club, their shock triumph coming just a year after lifting the UEFA Cup with victory over Celtic.
Mourinho moved onto Chelsea and brought a wealth of success to the west London outfit, though the self-titled ‘Special One’ failed to deliver a first Champions League in their history, twice losing in semi-finals to Premier League rivals Liverpool.
After leaving Stamford Bridge, Mourinho headed to Inter Milan where he became a two-time winner of Europe’s biggest prize, winning Italian football’s first-ever continental treble in 2010 and a first European triumph in 45 years for the Nerazzurri.
Spells at Real Madrid and Manchester United followed, Mourinho now hoping to make an impact on the Champions League at Tottenham – the sixth side he has managed in the competition.
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Ronald Koeman – 6 teams
The latest manager to join this exclusive group of multi-club coaches, Ronald Koeman took charge of a sixth different Champions League side as Barcelona began their campaign with a 5-1 victory over Hungarian minnows Ferencvaros last week.
Koeman has previously led three separate Dutch sides in the competition in Ajax, PSV and AZ Alkmaar, though his best performance was reaching the quarter-finals during a single season spell in Eindhoven.
The Dutchman also reached the last eight during a brief spell at Benfica, but struggled at Valencia as the Spaniards finished bottom of their Champions League group before his sacking.
Koeman’s managerial record has been rather unremarkable in continental competition and eyebrows were raised upon his appointment at the Camp Nou, the Barcelona legend needing to improve his Champions League record if he is to make a success of his tenure in Catalonia.
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Carlo Ancelotti – 8 teams
No manager has ever lifted more Champions League trophies than Carlo Ancelotti, the serial-winner sitting alongside Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane as the most successful manager’s in Europe’s premier competition.
Ancelotti’s managerial résumé sits as a roll call of the continent’s superpowers, with it coming as little surprise to see the Italian top this list, having managed eight different Champions League sides.
Ancelotti reached three finals in five years and twice lifted the trophy during a trophy-laden spell at AC Milan, before becoming the coach to finally land the fabled La Decima during his time in charge of record winners Real Madrid.
Parma, Juventus, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Napoli have also taken on Europe’s elite under the guidance of Ancelotti, who may just be seeking to make it nine Champions League clubs in the coming seasons having led Everton to a hugely impressive start to the Premier League campaign.
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