A look at the most successful football managers of all time from the legends like Sir Alex Ferguson and Valeiry Lobanovsky to some more recent prolific managers such as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.
Football has been the most popular sport and one of the most successful industries over the past one and half century. Many great managers have contributed their parts in the evolution of the game.
While the likes of Rhinos Michel, Arrigo Sacci and Johan Cruyff were more prominent when it came to the new tactics in football, in this article we only look at the most successful football managers of all time based on the number of the trophies they won with their respective teams.
Valeriy Lobanovskyi and Jock Stein influenced greatly in Eastern Europe whilePep Guardiola
and Jose Mourinho redefined the offensive and defensive approaches to the game
. The likes of Ottmar Hitzfeld and Luiz Felipe Scolari also had their marks, but above them all stands one man. The great Sir Alex Ferguson who accomplished the impossible with Manchester United and won an incredible 48 trophies in his 20-years reign at Old Trafford.
From old school legends like Ottmar Hitzfeld and Luiz Felipe Scolari to the one and only Alex Ferguson, here is the list of 8
most successful football managers of all time
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Jose Mourinho started his coaching career after leaving his job as a school teacher. His first serious job was with Bobby Robson, first as a translator and later as an assistant in Porto andBarcelona
In 2012, Mourinho joined Porto where he made a name for himself by miraculously winning the Domestic Double and the Uefa Champions League in the 2003-2004 season.
Next stop for Mourinho was the English Club, Chelsea, where he got his famous nickname, The Special One in his first press conference. The Portuguese genius transformed Chelsea into the most fearsome power of the English football and won two Premier League title and five other domestic titles.
Mourinho's amazing career as a coach continued at his next destination, Inter Milan. Once againMourinho
showed the football world why he is considered as one of the most successful football managers of all time by winning the treble with Inter Milan in 2009-2010, beating Lionel Messi and co. in the Semi Final of the UCL.
His excellent job at Inter Milan caught the eyes of Real Madrid as they saw him as the perfect man to break the hegemony of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona. Mourinho arrived in Madrid in 2010 and won the Copa Del Rey in his first season. Though it took him another season to catch Barcelona and win Madrid the La Liga title.
In 2016 Mourinho joined Manchester United and although he was not able to win the premier League, his spell at Old Trafford proved to Manchester's most successful period after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Mourinho was out of job for a year after getting fired from Manchester United, but came back to the scene in 2019 as the newTottenham
's coach. Mourinho has managed 9 teams in around 950 matches, with an impressive win percentage of 64.4 and 25 trophies. Mourinho is at the eighth among the football managers with most trophies ever and he is looking to add to his trophy cabinet at Tottenham.
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Definitely one of the most successful football managers of all time, Hitzfeld's coaching career started at the Switzerand's top division. In total he managed three teams in his 8 year stay and won the Swiss Super League twice with Grasshopper.
In 1991, Hitzfeld Joined theBundesliga
club, Borussia Dortmund and in his first year took the team to second spot in the league. The next season, Dortmund reached the finals of the UCL, but lost the cup to Juventus.
In 1995, Hitzfeld won his first Bundesliga title with Dortmund, but his biggest achievement was in 1997, when Dortmund won the UEFA Champions League final, defeating Juventus 3–1 in Munich.
Hitzfeld joined Bayern Munchen in 1998. Bayern won the league by a 15-point margin and was the runners-up in DF-Pokal andUefa Champions League,
the latter after the historic 2-1 Injury-time defeat against Alex Fergusen's Manchester United.
Hitzield had the most successful year of his career in the 2010-2011 season in which he won the treble for Bayern Munchen, beating the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Valencia on the way to glory in the Champions League.
The Swiss mastermind's last prolific managerial period was with the Swiss National team as he guided his homeland to two consequetiveFIFA World Cups
in 2010 and 2014.
In total Hitzield managed 6 teams in 1039 matches. Recording a win percentage of 54.9 and winning 25 trophies. Hitzfeld is definitely one of the most successful managers in football history.
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Known as "Felipao" in Brazil, Luiz Felipe Scolari is one of the most successful soccer managers of all time. He started his managerial career in 1983 at his home land, but his breakthrough came almost a decade later when he won six titles in only three years, including the 1995 Copa Libertadores.
Scolari's next big achievement came three years later when he won the Copa Libertadores again, this time with Palmiras. Felipao was appointed as theBrazil
National team in 2001 and guided them to their fifth World Cup title a year later after defeating Germany 2-0 in the final.
Next stop for Scolari was the portugese national team, where he continued his success by reaching the Euro 2004 final and the 2005 World Cup semi-final.
After some unsuccessful spells withChelsea
, Bunyodkor and Palmeiras, Scolari returned to the Brazilian national team for the 2014 World Cup. Their campaign was successful until semi-final but the disastrous 7-1 defeat against Germany marked the worst day of Scolari's career.
Scolari has managed three teams in the past 6 years and his best season was with Guangzhou Evergrande when he won the 2015 AFC Champions League. In total Scolari has managed in 20 teams with a win percentage of 60.
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One of the most successful football managers of all time, Jock Stein is a legend in Scotland. He started his career as a manager in 1957 with theCeltic
reserve team. After short successful spells at Dunfermline and Hibernian, Stock joined his lifelong club, Celtic in 1965.
His thirteen year reign at Celtic was one of the most successful periods in the history of the club. Among his titles in this period are: Scottish league championships (10 times), Scottish Cup (8 times), Scottish League Cup (6 times) and Glasgow Cup (5 times)
In 1978, Stein left Celtic for Leeds United, the only club he ever managed outside Scotland. After a nightmare half season at the club he was sacked and later was appointed as theScotland
National team manager.
Stein guided his homeland to the 1982 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the group stage by goal difference. Four years later, his Scotland side was on the verge of qualification in the game against Wales when Stock suffered a heart attack at the end of the match and died shortly after.
Stein's assistant in his final games was the young Alex Ferguson who guaranteed qualification for Scotland and went to become the most successful football manager of all time. In total Stein managed in more than a thousand match, with a 63.58 win percentage.
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No one can deny that Pep Guardiola is among the most successful football managers of all time. As a player, he was a key member of Johan Cruyff's Barcelona Dream Team. As a coach, he upgraded his mentor's philosophy of the game into a new system of total football.
In his first experience as a coach, Guardiola led Barcelona to the only sextuple in the history of football and went on to win 14 trophies in just 4 seasons.
Although Guardiola has not been able to reach the same heights with his next two teams, Bayern Munchen andManchester City,
He has been collecting trophies in both of them. Especially in the 2018-19 season with Manchester city when his team won all the four domestic titles for the first time in the English football.
Many football fans admire Guardiola for his new version of attacking football and many managers around the world have tried to imitate his vision and tactical intelligence. Guardiola is considered by many of his players as one of the most successful soccer managers of all time.
In total Guardiola has managed three teams in around 700 games with a win percentage of 72.53. He is truly among the most successful managers in football history.
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The third in our list of the most successful football managers of all time, Valeriy Lobanovskyi's illustrated career started in 1968 with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, but his first major success came in 1974 at his lifelong club,Dynamo Kyiv
where he won both the league and Soviet Cup.
Lobanovskyi's first spell at Dynamo Kyiv lasted five years as the Ukrainian side dominated the domestic competitions. From 1975 to 1990 Lobanovskyi managed the Soviet Union national team and Dynamo Kyiv at various spells, including a four year period in which he managed both of the teams.
Valeriy Lobanovskyi is considered as one of the most influential managers of all time. He is recognized for being one of the inventors of the major football playing style known as "Total Football" in the 1970s. He was also among the first coaches who implemented the false-9 position instead of the center forward,
His best achievement with the Soviet National team was at the 1988 Uefa European Championship where the Soviets were defeated by theNetherlands
side inspired by the trio of Gullit, Van Basten and Reijkaard.
During his career Lobanovskyi won a total of 27 trophies. Among his most important titles are: Soviet Top League (8 times), Soviet Cup (6 times), Ukrainian National League (5 times), European Cup Winners' Cup (2 times) and the European Super Cup (1 time)
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A hero in his homeland,Romania
, Mircea Lucescu is the second best among the coaches with most trophies in soccer history. He started his playing career in 1963 with Dinamo București and went on to feature for the team in the next 14 years.
As a manager, Lucescu was an instant success with the Romanian national team where he led his homeland to their first ever appearance at UEFA European Championship finals.
Lucescu had a long career in Italy, where he coached some big clubs such as Pisa, Brescia, Reggiana and Inter Milan. He then took charge of Turkish club Galatasaray, with whom he won the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid in 2000.
After a short unsuccessful spell at Besiktas, Lucescu joined Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk and led their rise to prominence inUkraine
the following years. He stayed with Shakhtar for the next 12 years, winning the Ukrainian League (8 times), the Ukrainian Cup (6 times), the Ukrainian Super Cup (7 times) and the Uefa Cup in the 2008-2009 season.
One of the football managers with most trophies ever, Lucescu in 834 games in 6 teams, recording a win percentage of 65.8 and 32 trophies under his belt. He is the second best in the list of managers with most trophies in football history.
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First in the list of the soccer manager with most trophies of all time with an incredible 48 titles, Sir Alex Ferguson started his career in 1974, when he was appointed manager of East Stirlingshire. He was 32 at the time.
His breakthrough came at Aberdeen in the late 70's and early 80's. With Ferguson's leadership Aberdeen dominated the Scottish football and won a total of 10 titles in five years, including the European Cup Winners' Cup and the European Super Cup in 1982–83.
Sir Alex was appointed byManchester United
in 1986 when Manchester was in the lowly 21st place in the league. Ferguson was successful in transforming the team into natural born winners although it took him 5 hard years to do so.
Ferguson won its first league title in 1992–93 season after the arrival of the charismatic Eric Cantona to the team. From then on the Red Devils dominated the English Football for the next two decades, only challenged byArsenal
at the beginning of 21st century.
Alex Ferguson's best season at Manchester United was at the famous 1998-99 season in which they won the domestic double as well as the UCL in dramatic fashion. Two goals in the three minutes of the injury time against Bayern Munchen gave Manchester United the Uefa Champions League.
They won the UCL again in 2007-2008 and were twice runners up in 2009 and 2011, both of which they lost to Pep Guardiola's Barcelona.
In total Sir Alex Ferguson won an incredible 37 titles with Manchester United. Overall he managed five teams in more than 2100 games, recording a win percentage of 58.9 and 48 trophies along the way. Ferguson is rightfully at the top of the list of coaches with most trophies in soccer history.
So here it was! Our list of the managers with most trophies in football history. Which manager's style you like the most? Will Guardiola and Mourinho catch Sir Alex's record before retirement? Let us know in the comments below.