A look at the best La Liga managers of all time from the likes of Johan Cruyff and Munoz to some of today's stars like Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone.
La Liga, also known as Primera Division, is Spain's top football league. During its almost 100 year's history, it has seen some remarkable managers who reshaped football and their influence continued long after their retirements. But first let us have a very brief look at the history of the league.
La Liga was founded in 1929, two years after Jose Acha, a director at Arenas Club de Getxo, came up with the idea of a national league and almost four decades after football was introduced to Spanish people.
A total of ten teams participated in the first season, which FC Barcelona won. Real Madrid was the last champion of La Liga (2019-2020), in one of the most bizarre seasons in the History of La Liga which saw the league suspended for more than three months, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Real Madrid is the record holder for most titles win with 34 trophies, followed by Barcelona with 28 titles. Atletico Madrid is third with 10 titles.
A look at the best La Liga managers of all time including Barcelona greats, Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola and Real Madrid legend, Miguel Munoz.
The slovac former manager guided many La Liga teams and is the first manager in our list of best La Liga managers of all time. His most successful periods were with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Daucik started his career in 1942 with the Slovenian club, Bratislava and after 12 years of working in Eastern Europe, he was appointed as the new Barcelona coach in 1950.
Daucik managed Barcelona in four seasons, one of the clubs most successful periods in their history. He was the manager of the Barcelona team which won five trophies in 1951-52 season.
Daucik won La Liga two consecuitive times and was the manager of the team boasted by some legends like Kubala, Antoni Ramallets and Joan Segarra. He left the club after losing the dressing room in 1954. Daucik won his last La Liga title in two years later with his new team, Atletico Bilbao.
One of the Greatest Managers in the History of La Liga, Ferdinand Daucik had a successful career at Atletico Madrid too. In total he managed more than 20 teams in his 34 years career as a manager. What a legend!
A sensational case among the best La Liga managers of all time, Luis Molowny almost spent his entire career, both as a player and manager, in only two clubs: Las Palmas and Real Madrid. A man of habit and virtue, Molowny was faithful to his teams and ideas!
Molowny's professional career started in 1958, two years before he was selected as the new Las Palmas coach. 13 years later, he was appointed by Real Madrid to replace the legendary Miguel Munoz.
A mission he accomplished by winning the domestic cup in his first season.
He won a total of 12 titles during his managerial career, most important of which were probably two consecutive UEFA Cups in 1984–85 and 1985–86. One cool fact about Molowny is that he successfully replaced three Real Madrid manager after they were sacked and in two out of the three times, he won the La Liga title.
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One of the most famous managers in the history of football, Leo Beenhakker is one of the four managers who won the La Liga title three times in their careers. He is also one of the five Dutch managers who tasted glory in the Spanish top football league.
Leo Beenhakker never-ending career started in 1965 at SV Epe. He has managed 19 teams, three of two were La Liga giants, Real Madrid and Real Zaragoza. Beenhakker managed for six years in La Liga and won 6 titles in his three seasons as the Real Madrid manager, including three back-to-back La Liga titles.
Beenhakker's other most prolific spells were with his homeland clubs, Ajax and Feyenoord. He is indeed one of the best coaches in La Liga history.
Pep Guardiola is considered as one of the most influential managers in the evolution of football. The former star player's managerial career started in 2008 when Frank Rijkaard was fired from Barcelona after a lackluster two-season spell which saw Real Madrid winning both titles.
In a rather radical move, Barcelona president at the time, Juan Laporta decided to appoint Pep Guardiola as the head coach, despite the latter's lack of experience in coaching. The decision paid off incredibly.
Guardiola's first move was to let the two main stars of the team, Ronaldinho and Deco leave the club and instead opted to build his new team around Lionel Messi and other La Masia talents such as Xavi, Carlos Puyol, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, and Sergio Busquets.
He also revolutionized Cruyff's version of Total Football with high-pressing and Tiki-Taka Tactics. His team conquered every competition in the football world and went on to win a total of 14 titles in 4 seasons, including the unprecedented sextuple at the 2008-2009 season. Guardiola is without a doubt one of La Liga best coaches ever.
In total, Guardiola managed Barcelona 247 times with an unbelievable 72% win percentage.
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Johan Cruyff is one of The Greatest Managers in the History of La Liga, if not the best. He first dazzled the Camp Nue as a player in the 70s and helped the Catalans to break the hegemony of Real Madrid.
In 1988 Johan Cruyff returned to Barcelona as a coach and assembled what would become one of the most popular teams in the history of football.
He expanded the idea of possession-based Total Football and with the help of a golden generation of Barcelona's football academy, La Masia. Cruyff's famous 'Dream team' went on to win four straight La Liga titles from 1991 till 1994.
In total, Cruyff won 11 trophies in 8 years and was the most accomplished manager in Barcelona's history until Pep Guardiola broke the record almost twenty years later, with 14 titles in 4 seasons.
Pep Guardiola, Romario, Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov, and Ronald Koeman were the most influential players for Cruyff's Barcelona side in this era.
Cruyff's footballing principles have significantly influenced the football career of many players and managers, including Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola. The Dutch Genius will forever be in the heart of all the football fans.
In total, Cruyff managed three teams in 551 matches. Leaving behind a win percentage of 61.34.
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Another Barcelona manager with 4 La Liga titles and one of the revolutionary managers in the history of football, Helenio Herera started his career in 1944. He was most active in La Liga and coached a total of 6 teams, including Malaga, Atletico Madrid and two spell at Barcelona.
Herrera's first two La Liga titles were won at Atletico Madrid, where he set the foundations of the famous defensive system, known as the Catenaccio.
His third and fourth La Liga title was with FC Barcelona. The Catalans were the superior force throughout the 1950s. Coached by Helenio Herera and boasted by the qualities of legendary players like László Kubala, Cesar Rodriguez, and Mariano Gonzalvo, they won two back-to-back La Liga titles.
Herera was one of the first coaches who enforced a strict discipline code, forbidding players to drink or smoke and controlling their diet. He was also one of the first managers to call on the support of the spectators.
An innovation which led to the appearance of the first Ultras movements in the late 60s. Herera is surely one of the Greatest Managers in the History of La Liga.
The Uruguan legendary manager is among La Liga best coaches ever for a very interesting fact. He is one of only two coaches to have guided both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid and the only coach to have won La Liga titles with both. It will get more interesting when you know that Fernandez used to play for Catalan XI in his playing career.
Fernandez started his career in 1946 with his homeland giant, Nacional Club. He managed Barcelona from 1947-50 and Real Madrid in the 1953-54 season. He won 2 La Liga titles with Barcelona and one title with Real Madrid. His last La Liga triumph was with Real Madrid in the 1954-44 season, but he was sacked ten games into the season to be replaced by Jose Villalonga.
Fernandez is one of the three managers with 4 La Liga titles. During his time in La Liga he managed some of the best stars in the history of football. In Real Madrid he was the coach of players like Alfredo Di Stéfano, Francisco Gento, Miguel Muñoz and Luis Molowny , three of which went on to win La Liga as managers too. A true legend and one of the best managers in La Liga history.
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Miguel Munoz is the most successful coach in the history of Spain's top league and is considered as the best La Liga manager of all time. He spent the majority of his playing career at Real Madrid but it was his influence on the history of the club as a coach which was legendary.
His coaching career started at Real Madrid in 1959 when he took charge of the reserve team. The following year Munoz was promoted to the senior team. Munoz made history and went on to coach his beloved team for the next 14 years.
Munoz managerial spell at Real Madrid was magnificent right from the start. He won his first La Liga title in his debut season as a coach, which was followed by another four consecutive titles from 1960 to 1965.
Actually Munoz record could be 8 consecutive titles was it not for the heroics of Domenec Balmanya's Atletico Madrid who were able to break Munoz and Madrid dominance in the 1966-67 season.
Miguel Munoz won his last La Liga title with Real Madrid in the 1971-72 season. He left Los Blancos in 1974. After short spells with Las Palmas, Granada and Sevilla, he was appointed as Spain's national team coach and guided them to the 1984 European Championship final, were they were beaten by France.
In total Munoz managed 7 teams in 900 games, recording a 53% win percentage. He is considered widely as one of the best La Liga managers of all time.
The following is a list of Best La Liga managers who won the league twice in their career. Some of them like Vicente del Bosque and Javier Clemente had an influence on the Spanish football beyond the number of titles they won with their teams, but in this article we only look at the best La Liga managers of all time based on the number of titles they won.
Fred Pentland, Alberto Ormaetxea, Ramon Encinas, Ricardo Zamora, Jose Villalonga, Miljan Miljanic, Vicente del Bosque, Enrique Fernandez, Luis Enrique, Zinedine Zidane, Javier Clemente, Ernesto Valverde, Frank Rijkaard, Fabio Capello, Rafael Benitez and Louis van Gaal.
Again, some of the following managers like, Luis Aragones, Radomir Antić and Javier Irureta have had a big influence on the Spanish football, but they managed to win the title only once. However, we decided to include them in our list of best La Liga managers of all time.
Josep Samitier, Diego Simeone, Domènec Balmanya, Alfredo Di Stefano, Luis Aragones, John Toshack, Jorge Valdano, Radomir Antić, Javier Irureta, Bernd Schuster, José Mourinho and Tito Vilanova
So here it was! Our article on the best La Liga managers of all time. Which manager you like best? Will anyone can break Munoz legendary record of 9 La Liga titles? Let us know in the comments below.