We are always hearing about the top paid footballers and their lavish life so let’s for a change look at those who coach these players and see who are the highest paid football managers of all time?!
As the world’s most popular sport, football has understandably gotten bigger over the years to the point that it's a full blown industry. With that growth in popularity naturally there has been a big shift in the finances of everyone involved with the sport. To the point that players today are earning almost astronomical amounts of money in weekly wages. Like players, managers have benefited from this, especially football's top managers who earn as much if not more than their star players.
So we have decided to take a look at the
highest paid football managers of all time
and see how much they earn and perhaps point out if we think that is warranted or not. Naturally, most of the managers on our list are from Europe's top leagues but you'll find a few surprise appearances from the managers in Chinese Super League, a league which is known for its unusually high salaries both for players and managers with seemingly no real salary cap for either. So without further ado, let's see who is among the highest paid football managers of all time:
It’s important to note that the salary figures of individuals are a notoriously hard thing to determine as most clubs or individuals within football are unwilling to release actual numbers but for our list of highest paid football coaches ever we have mainly looked at credible sources like France Football and Sky Sports Italia. So let’s see who are these managers:
Fabio Cannavaro, the One-time World Cup winner and one of the few defenders in history to win a Ballon d'Or is the first manager on our list of
highest paid coaches in soccer history
. It’s been several years since the former Azzurri captain has gone into management, sometime after he retired as a player in Al-Ahli Dubai. His entire coaching career has been spent on managing different Asian teams but he has found most of his success while managing in the Chinese Super League, where he is currently managing theGuangzhou Evergrande
Fabio Cannavaro seemed interested in coaching even before he retired as a player and since he was such a great leader as a player, he had one of the first requirements of being a manager but he would soon find out that coaching would not be so easy as to just be a great leader, he would also need much experience, which he indeed gained managing his first tow teams, first as the assistant coach in his former club Al-Ahli and then as the head coach of both Guangzhou and Al Nassr. Even though he was relieved of his duties in both jobs it would be a great learning experience since his return to China would prove successful.
Upon his return to China on 9 June 2016, Cannavaro seemed to be more experienced and managed to lead his new team, Tianjin Quanjian, to a Chinese League One victory and got them promoted to the Super League. The following season Tianjin became 3rd in the super League and Cannavaro secured them a AFC Champions League spot.
After his fairly successful spell managing Tianjin Quanjian, Cannavaro got offered his old job at Guangzhou Evergrande in a deal that made him earn €14 million per annum, which made Fabio Cannavaro one of the highest paid football managers of all time. He became Evergrande’s manager and led them to a Super League title in the same season. he was also offered to manage Chinese national team which he did for 2 games, both of which he lost, before resigning to focus at his Guangzhou Evergrande job, where he is still working today.
The man who brought Liverpool back to big boys’ table is also one of the highest paid coaches in football history and understandably so since there are a few managers who have delivered a Champions League title and a Premier League title the way that Jurgen Klopp has for Liverpool in such a short term. The German tactician may find himself in a tough spot these days but his job of turning a mid-tableLiverpool
team into Champions League contenders in a span of couple of years was nothing short of miraculous and he is reaping its just rewards.
Klopp broke out as one of football’s exciting new managers when he did a similar job of transformingBorussia Dortmund
into genuine title contenders and even Champions League contenders. While he won the Bundesliga back to back from 2010 to 2012. He also got them to a Champions League final which they lost to their arch rivals Bayern Munich.
Klopp then got his current job at Liverpool a few months after he left Dortmund, inheriting a team that had potential but were underperforming. In his first few months at Liverpool, Klopp managed the team to two finals, a League Cup and a Europa League final, both of which they lost. Liverpool then got promoted to Champions League in the following season and in his third season with Liverpool, Klopp led them to a Champions League final, which they lost to Real Madrid.
But all was not lost as Liverpool once again made their way to the final of Champions League and this time won against Tottenham before winning the Premier League in the following 2019-20 season, after a 30-year drought of league trophies for Liverpool. With all that being said, this progression of going from strength to strength for a manager that has considerably less resources than his rival Pep Guardiola, totally warrants his big pay check of €16.5 million per year that makes Jurgen Klopp one of the
highest paid football managers of all time
The Special One has had a constant presence in the highest paid manager in football history list over the last decade and a half. Jose Mourinho is someone that delivers success and as such he always demands high wages. It could be argued that there are no clubs more desperate for a trophy thanTottenham Hotspur
as a result they’d be happy to pay astronomical wages to a manager that they will bring them much needed silverware to their almost empty trophy cabinet. Something that hasn’t happened yet.
For a manager like Jose Mourinho even being sacked from his two previous jobs at Chelsea andManchester United
isn’t enough to tarnish his status as one of the world’s best football managers. Although this may change if he doesn’t deliver on his promise of trophies for Spurs. Nonetheless, Mourinho isn’t someone that scoffs at any trophy as being less significant as he always loves to win. So while the success in the league is out of the question, cup competitions may result in some trophies for the Portuguese manager.
Last season after Tottenham quite unexpectedly sacked one of their most successful managers Mauricio Pochettinho, a manager who got them to a Champions League final a few months prior to his sacking, there were no one even close to Jose Mourinho as they speculated who to hire next. So they hired the Special One on a deal that saw him earn €16.5 million each year which made Mourinho one of the highest paid football managers of all time. He was hired on a promise to deliver trophies and regular Champions League spot finishes in the league but he has failed to deliver both as of yet.
If anyone deserves to be among the highest paid manager in football history, it’s the man who won everything with Juventus and took Italy to their 4th World Cup title in 2006. Although Marcello Lippi retired from management back in 2010 with his last job being the head coach of Italy national team, the promise of riches that Chinese Super League teams offered him persuaded Lippi to spend another decade in management albeit far from the hustle and bustle of European football.
Lippi’s tenure in China was actually spent at two teams, first he was the manager of the Guangzhou Evergrande, just before his once student, Fabio Cannavaro took over then he became the manager of the Chinese national team where the salary in question was paid to him. His time managing Evergrande was extremely successful as Lippi led them to 3 league titles, 1 Chinese FA Cup and more importantly an AFC Champions League title during the 3 seasons he managed the club.
His immense success at Evergrande convinced Chinese FA to appoint him as the new manager of the China national team. The job came with an €18 million per annum. A salary that makes Lippi one of the highest paid football managers of all time even though he is retired now.
His tenure as China’s manager was actually divided in two parts as he once resigned from his job following a 3-0 loss to Iran in 2019 Asian Cup quarter-finals. His second term which came after Cannavaro’s brief time as China’s manager was more successful but he once again resigned and shortly after retired from football management. All in all, Lippi had a pretty lucrative retirement plan in his final years as a manager!
Next up on our list of highest paid coaches in soccer history is the baffling inclusion of Barcelona’s former manager, Ernesto Valverde, at such a high spot. As ifBarcelona
fans needed another reason to be mad at the club’s hierarchy for a suspect financial decision, now Barca fans reading this will know how high a price their club had to pay for Valverde’s time at the club, which many deemed to be mediocre.
After Luis Enrique’s successful time as Barcelona’s manager and his subsequent departure, Barcelona went after the veteran Ernesto Valverde, who had spent much of his coaching career atAthletic Bilbao
and Olympiacos with brief spells atValencia
, Espanyol and Villarreal. Under Valverde, Barcelona went to have an absolutely brilliant season winning the double and only losing once in La Liga. Even though he did deliver another La Liga title the following year, Barcelona’s similar collapses in Champions League knockout stages to Roma and Liverpool meant that his position was always under pressure and he wasn’t very well liked amongst the fans.
This all meant that he was on thin ice at Barcelona which broke on the first run of bad games that he had during last season and eventually got him sacked in January of 2020. Of course Barcelona went on to have an abysmal season after his departure that included their infamous 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
In hindsight, Valverde seemed to actually over perform with an aged Barcelona side and won 3 major titles in his brief period. This is apparent by Barcelona’s bad form after Valverde’s departure. Although this may not entirely justify Valverde’s €20 million yearly salary and him being amongst the
highest paid football managers of all time
If there is a manager who specializes in winning domestic league titles, it would be Inter’s Antonio Conte. Former Juventus captain and manager, who started Juve’s great run of 9 consecutive titles by winning their first three titles, shocked everyone when he took theInter Milan
job but when the finances of the deal were revealed it became understandable why he accepted the job especially since the deal made him one of the
highest paid soccer coaches of all time
. Although Juventus fans may still be a bit bitter.
Conte was still being paid a considerable amount of money byChelsea
when he took the Inter Job at the start of last season since he was fired from his job and Chelsea were obligated to pay the rest of his contract. The season started great for Inter Milan but they had a string of bad results mid-way through the season and lost the title race. They lost the title to |Juventus by a point in the end and collapsed in the Europa League final losing 3-2 to Sevilla.
But the 2020-21 season has proved to be a different story as the title seems to be Inter’s barring a freakishly bad string of results. His near success in his first season and Inter Milan’s destined Scudetto after over a decade in Conte’s second season all but justifies his insanely high salary of €20m per year.
Conte is currently one of the highest paid football managers of all time and Inter fans don’t care if he got paid double that amount, if he manages to deliver that sweet Scudetto title as well as robbing Juventus of their 10th consecutive title!
Honestly if anyone deserves to be at the top of this list based on the amount of silverware he delivers and his win percentage, it should be Zinedine Zidane but Zizou comes in 3rd in the list of
highest paid football coaches ever
. Zidane’s career as a manager up until now has been on par with his time as a player in regards to the sheer quality and class he has delivered. Zidane has been a manager for half a decade and people are already talking about him being one of the best managers ever!
So let’s review his actual achievements and numbers instead of mincing words. He took over asReal Madrid
’s head coach after they sacked Rafa Benitez in 2015-16 season. soon after he led them to 3 consecutive Champions League title between 2015 and 2018, a record which would prove extremely tough to break. He also delivered a La Liga and 2 FIFA Club World Cups in that period before leaving in the summer of 2018.
Zidane and Ronaldo’s departure was too much for Real Madrid’s new managers to handle so after a few turbulent months at Madrid, Zizou came back for his second tenure as Madrid manager in a deal that saw him get paid €21 million yearly. He has since then delivered yet another La Liga title, this time without the help of Ronaldo or even Gareth Bale, and has proven his results are much more than the influence of his star players. Ask any football fan if Zinedine Zidane deserves to be one of the highest paid football managers of all time and the answer would be a resounding yes.
Dubbed by many as one of the greatest football managers of all time, if not the best, Pep Guardiola never fails at delivering a trophy or two each year, coaching teams at the highest levels of European football. As a result, the Spanish tactician has always demanded a high price for his services, so who better than Manchester City to pay his high wages as they seem to always throw money at their problems. But since his appointment as Manchester City’s manager, Guardiola has shown why he completely deserves to be one of the
highest paid coaches in football history
, by constantly delivering silverware for the Cityzens.
Since being appointed the manager ofManchester City
in 2016, Guardiola has managed to deliver 6 major trophies, 3 League Cups, 2 Premier League titles and 1 FA Cup trophy. He has an insane average of near 73% victory in the matches he has managed at Manchester City which despite being an extremely good win percentage when compared to other managers, it’s kind of his standard since he has had similar numbers both at Barcelona andBayern Munich
With the Premier League seemingly all but won by Manchester City this season and them having a strong chance of winning both domestic cup competitions this season as well as being a strong contender in the Champions League, Guardiola seems on the brink of delivering yet another handful of trophies, which totally warrants his €22 million yearly salary. And let’s be honest, Manchester City owners won’t even care if he got paid double that amount, as long as he continues to deliver trophies like he has been delivering in the past 5 seasons.
Although Atletico’s Diego Simeone has consistently been amongst the world’s top managers In the past decade or so, his inclusion as the highest paid manager in football history may come as a surprise to many football fans out there, since he doesn’t deliver trophies as regularly as some of the other managers included on our list but the Argentine’s stocks must be valued quite highly by Atletico’s hierarchy for them to pay him such yearly wages.
It’s been nearly a decade since El Cholo took over asAtletico Madrid
’s manager in the December of 2011 and since then he has done a consistent job of keeping the pressure on Spain’s big boys, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while occasionally delivering a silverware or two. while his first major trophy with Atletico came months after his appointment as manager, the rest of his career hasn’t been decorated with major trophies.
With 2 Europa League, 1 La Liga and 1 Copa del Rey titles and 2 Champions League final appearances, Diego Simeone has had the best results that a team like Atletico could achieve in an era dominated by Real and Barca with mega stars like Messi and Ronaldo. So it’s understandable that Atletico rates his relative success highly and has offered him a deal worth €32 million in yearly wages. His longevity at the job must also be taken into account as longevity usually brings a bigger pay cut with each contract renewal.
All that being said, one couldn’t help but wonder if Simeone’s services are worth that amount of money. Perhaps by winning the La Liga in the following months Simeone will quell any doubts surrounding his status as the
highest paid manager in football history