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Best Argentinian Managers of All Time

Sat 23 October 2021 | 17:30

Argentina is known for its fine wine, delicious meat, hot Tango dance and of course, the Argentinians passion for football. Alongside some of the best players of all time, Argentina was the home country of some of the greatest managers of all time too; which we are about to meet them.

There are many reasons why Argentina is considered as one of the powerhouses in the world of football: Reaching five World Cup finals and winning two of them, winning 15 Copa America titles, having players such as Omar Sivori,

Alfredo di Stefano

, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi in its history are some of those reasons. In addition to these, there are so many Argentinian masterminds in the history of the beautiful game that you can’t ignore them. The football that we know today, wouldn’t be the same without some of the

greatest managers of all time

, and Argentina had its share in it.

In the following article we created a list of the greatest Argentinian coaches of all time. In doing so, we took into account not only the amount and importance of trophies those managers have won but also, we had an eye on their impact on football and their legacy in teams that they have managed. That’s because there are a lot of great coaches all around the world that didn’t win so many silverwares during their careers, but their unique way of thinking about the game led to some innovative tactics that shaped up football.

Who Are the Greatest Argentinian Coaches of All Time?

Now to put your curiosity at ease, we are going to introduce you the top 10 best Argentinian managers of all time and then have a career review of each of them. Here is our shortlist:

  • Marcelo Gallardo

  • Guillermo Stábile

  • Mauricio Pochettino

  • César Luis Menotti

  • Carlos Bilardo

  • Carlos Bianchi

  • Héctor Cúper

  • Marcelo Bielsa

  • Diego Simeone

  • Helenio Herrera

Marcelo Gallardo 

Our list starts off with one of the young Argentinian coaches who started his managerial career just in 2011. Marcelo Gallardo was a creative attacking midfielder and represented elite clubs like

River Plate

, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain. Only months after his retirmenet at Nacional, Gallardo picked up a coaching role at the club and won the Uruguayan league title in his debut season. Then he took two years off and returned to River Plate as the head coach in 2014. River Plate is the same club that Gallardo made his debut in it as a professional footballer and spent most of his career in its colors. He won a Copa Libertadores and six Primera Division titles with the Los Millonarios during his playing days.

But as a manager, Marcelo Gallardo won even more titles with River Plate and is considred as one of the most successful coaches in the club’s history. Since his appointmenet at the club, Marcelo Gallardo has lifted 12 cups including two Copa Libertadores, two Recopa (which is the South American continental Super Cup), and a Copa Sudamericana which is the second most prestigious club competition in the South America. That means he already won the most international tournaments titles as a manager in River Plate’s history. Marcelo Gallardo is still on his 40s and that means he has a lot of time to cement his name as one of the best Argentinian managers of all time.

Guillermo Stábile

After introducing one of the young coaches from Argentina who is still active today, now we have a coach from the mid-1900s in our list. Guillermo Stabile was one of the players that took part in the early editions of the World Cup and even was named the top scorer at the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay. On his last couple of years as a player, Stabile took the manager-player role at Red Star Paris and that kicked off his successful managerial era. In 1939 and shortly after his retirement, Guillermo Stábile was appointed as the ninth Argentina national team head coach.

During his spell, Argentina had its most prosperous era as a national team and won six South American Championship from 1941 to 1957. Stabile managed Argentina in 123 games and won 83 of them which is a decent record. He is amongst one of the few managers that was in charge of Argentina for more than 100 matches. He also managed a few club sides concurrently to his national duty and had a successful run with

Racing Club

. Stabile led Racing to three league titles to prove that he knows ho to win whether it’s a club tournament or an international one. That is why we think Guillermo Stábile is one of the best Argentinian managers of all time.

Mauricio Pochettino 

A well-known name for today’s football fans all around the world. Mauricio Pochettino is one of the most

famous coaches from Argentina

but it’s fair to say he didn’t reach to the pick of his career yet. Although he had some remarkable seasons at Tottenham Hotspur, at the end of the day mangers will be judged by their trophies and Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t have many of them. In his early years Pochettino was an above average defender who represented his country in 20 matches and was a club icon at Espanyol; the same club that he started his coaching career from.

His stylish 4-2-3-1 formation at Espanyol attracted attention from the English football as he joined Southampton in 2013 and guided the club to an eighth-place finish which was admirable. His five-year spell at Tottenham has turned the club to one of the regular top-fours in the league that was able to compete for the leauge title. Pochettino came close to end the trophy drought at Tottenham on three occasions where he lost the finals of UCL and Football League Cup and finished second to Leicester in the Premier League. Since 2021 mid-season, Pochettino took charge at Paris Saint-Germain. Although losing the league title to

Lille

wasn’t a great start, but he has a precious opportunity to win some big trophies in the coming years.

César Luis Menotti

A veteran coach who won Argentina it’s first ever World Cup Trophy. Cesar Luis Menotti hanged up his boots as a striker in 1970 and he was so passionate about coaching that didn’t take any time off after his retirement. For a season he was an assistant coach at Newell’s Old Boys and joined Huracan in 1971 where he won the Argentinian league title two seasons later. His exciting attacking football at Huracan was rewarded by a national team coaching position in 1974 where he got the chance to coach legendary players such as

Daniel Passarella

and Mario Kempes. The mission was preparing La Albiceleste to win the 1978 World Cup which was being held in Argentina.

Argentina didn’t have the perfect start at the Tournament as they lost a group match to Italy. But beating Peru by six goals and a goalless draw with Brazil in the second group round was enough for them to secure a place in the final for the second time ever. A 3-1 win against Ernst Happel’s Netherlands was what made César Luis Menotti one of the

best Argentinian managers of all time

. Almost a decade later, Menotti set foot on Europe to coach Barcelona and won a treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Spanish Supercup in the 1982-83 season to expand his great legacy. 

Carlos Bilardo

The second World Cup winner Argentinian manager is Carlos Salvador Bilardo Digiano as known as Carlos Bilardo. He was a key player in the midfield of the golden team of

Estudiantes

back in the late 1960s as they won three consecutives Copa Libertadores titles. During his managerial career, Bilardo had three spells at Estudiantes and won a league title in his second spell in 1982, just one year prior to taking the national team job. During his time at Argentina, Bilardo was blessed by one of the greatest players of all time, if not the greatest, Diego Maradona.

 He employed a 3-5-2 formation and gave Maradona the perfect position to flourish on the field and prepared his team for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. After a quiet start at the group stage, Argentina went on to eliminate Uruguay and then England in a controversial match. Maradona’s brace against Belgium sent them to the final to face against West Germany. A 3-2 win in one of the most exciting World Cup finals secured Argentina’s second and up to this day, last World Cup championship. Four years later Bilardo had the chance to be only the second manager in history that wins two World Cup titles in his career.

But West Germany took its revenge in the final of 1990 World Cup as they beat Bilardo’s men by one goal. Many will argue that Argentina’s success in that era was due to the Maradona’s extraordinary talent. Well, nobody can ignore his influence on the games, but even if you have

Maradona

in your squad, without a great mastermind at the bench it is impossible to reach to two World Cup finals and win one of them. That explains why Carlos Bilardo is one of the greatest Argentinian coaches of all time.

Carlos Bianchi

As a prolific goal scorer, Carlos Bianchi had a decent playing career and said his farewell to the pitch in 1985 when he was playing for Reims in France. Three years at Reims was the first chapter of his managerial career. It was in 1993 when Bianchi returned to Argentina to start a journey that made him one of the most decorated and best Argentinian managers of all time. At his boyhood club,

Velez Sarsfield

, Bianchi won six titles including a Copa Libertadores in 1994 which was the club’s only championship in the Tournament until today. After a short stint at Roma, Bianchi got back to home country in 1998 to take charge at Boca Juniors.

Four league titles and two Intercontinental Cups was a just a part of Carlos Bianchi’s legacy at the club. Bianchi managed to win three Copa Libertadores during his time at Boca which was a record-breaking achievement. Now he is the only manager in history that has four Copa Libertadores titles to his name and surely that is more than enough to consider him as one of the

greatest Argentinian coaches

of all time. Apart from being one of the best Argentinian managers of all time, Carlos Bianchi was awarded as the IFFHS World's Best Club Coach on two occasions at 2000 and 2003 due to his incredible achievements at Boca Juniors. 

Héctor Cúper

You could argue that Hector Cuper is one of the unluckiest mangers out there. A mediocre Centre Back during his playing days, started a managing career in 1993 as he got appointed as the head coach of Huracan. After spending four years managing in Argentinian football, Cuper moved abroad to coach Mallorca in La Liga. Mallorca was barely a midtable team but with Cuper at the helm, they reached to a Copa del Rey final which they lost to Barcelona. The next year Mallorca took their revenge as they beat Barca to claim the 1998 Spanish Super Cup. With the personal recommendation of the Italian Claudio Ranieri, Cuper succeeded him at

Valencia

in 1999.  

Cuper kept Valencia near the top of the table and had a couple of spectacular runs at the UEFA Champions League. For two consecutive years, Cuper guided his team to the final of the most prestigious club Tournament in the world but lost both of them in a heartbreaking manner. The first one was in 2000 when they lost the final by three goals to Real Madrid. In the following season, they had to face Bayern Munich in the final and this time they lost the match only in the penalty shootouts. Although he has only a handful of trophies in his cabinet, Cuper’s spectacular era at Valencia earned him a place amongst the

best Argentinian managers of all time

.

Marcelo Bielsa

Without a doubt, Marcelo Bielsa is one of the most interesting characters in the world of football. Due to his unique personality, he was given the nickname El Loco by the media which means the crazy! Bielsa didn’t have a remarkable career as a player and started coaching since 1980 when he was only 25 years old. He spent more than two decades at

Newell's Old Boys

and won two league titles and claimed a Copa Libertadores silver medal as his side lost the final in 1992. Another Argentinian league title with Vélez Sarsfield and a EFL Championship with Leeds were his only trophies since then.

But trophies and championships are not what made Bielsa one of the best Argentinian managers of all time. Bielsa’s favorite formation is a unique 3-3-3-1 shape that tends to dominate the game on both defensive and offensive phases by overloading players all over the pitch. Bielsa has managed more than ten teams throughout his career and all of them have displayed an attractive high tempo football which had a lot of goals in it. He has been an inspirer of some of the elite coaches around the world such as Pep Guardiola. To write your name as one of the greatest managers of all time, it’s not necessary to win trophies and Marcelo Bielsa is a living proof of that.

Diego Simeone

Certainly, he is one of the most famous coaches from Argentina and looking at his career, it is no surprise. Even before he starts his wonderful coaching career,

Diego Simeone

was a well-known midfielder who played for big European clubs like Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Lazio. Diego became a manger since 2006 as he took over at Racing. After winning two Argentinian league titles with Estudiantes and River Plate, Simeone returned to European football but this time as a manager. After a couple of caretaking jobs at Catania and Racing Club, Atletico Madrid signed him in 2011 and the rest is history!

In his debut season Simeone won the Europa League and showed that he is on his way to become one of the best Argentinian managers of all time. Now he is at the reign in Atletico for more than a decade and during this time, the club has sold so many key players but thanks to Simeone, they managed to remain as one of the powerhouses in the European football. His low-block defensive style of play may not be ideal for many football fans around the world, but winning two La Liga, two Europa League, a couple of UEFA Super Cup titles and reaching to the UCL final twice are something that wouldn’t be possible for Atletico without Simeone.  

Helenio Herrera

There are some managers that are considered the greatest of all time because of their influence on the game, and some other managers that are appreciated because of their honors and achievements throughout their career. But Helenio Herrera is a rare example that not only revolutionized football with his sublime defensive tactics but also, has won so many precious cups in Spanish and Italian football. As a defender in his playing career, Herrera knew how a solid back line could guaranty trophies for a team. A 5-3-2 shape with a sweeper defender was his preferred formation during his fruitful coaching career. As one of the

best Argentinian managers of all time

Helenio Herrera started his journey in 1944 by coaching a club named Puteaux in France.  

His first major trophies came with Atletico Madrid which was two back-to-back La Liga titles in 1950 and 1951. He also won six domestic cups with Barcelona; but Helenio Herrera is remembered for his legendary spell at Inter Milan from 1960 to 1968. During these eight years he won three Serie A titles and more importantly, two straight European Cups in 1964 and 1965. Since then, Inter won the European Cup/UCL only once which was with Jose Mourinho back in 2010. A Coppa Italia in 1969 with Roma was Herrera’s last silverware. Today he is considered as one of the most influential persons in the football’s history as he had an undeniable role in evolving the defensive tactics of the game.

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source: SportMob

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