Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp: Who is the greatest manager of all time?

  • Rob Swan
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Happy birthday, Sir Alex Ferguson!

The Manchester United legend turned 79 on New Year’s Eve. It’s now seven-and-a-half years since the Scot retired from football.

Plenty has happened to Fergie since then. Most notably, the football icon overcame the biggest challenge of his entire life after suffering a brain haemorrhage in May 2018. His subsequent recovery was nothing short of remarkable.

It’s hard not to smile at the sight of Fergie attending games at Old Trafford. Even during the pandemic, he still pops up at the odd United match.

He might be approaching his eighties but his love for the Red Devils remains as strong as ever.

Ferguson is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time, if not *the* greatest.

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But where did FourFourTwo rank him on their list of the top 100 managers?

Among those who ranked between 100-51 included Claudio Ranieri (90th), Marcelo Bielsa (77th), Joachim Low (66th), and Sven-Goran Eriksson (52nd).

Now let’s take a closer look at the top 50…

50. George Graham

49. Aime Jacquet

48. Luis Aragones

47. Otto Rehhagel

46. Bobby Robson

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45. Bill Struth

44. Tele Santana

43. Diego Simeone

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42. Albert Batteux

41. Rafa Benitez

We haven’t reached the top 40 yet but the list is already packed with revered coaches.

Luis Aragones is one of the best Spanish managers ever, while Bobby Robson is a legendary name of English football. They sit just behind the likes of Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and former Liverpool and Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez.

40. Jill Ellis

39. Luiz Felipe Scolari

38. Udo Lattek

37. Guus Hiddink

36. Zinedine Zidane

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35. Bill Nicholson

34. Viktor Maslov

33. Kenny Dalglish

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32. Jupp Heynckes

31. Helmut Schon

To win three consecutive European Cups is an extraordinary achievement, hence why Zinedine Zidane finds himself above the likes of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Guus Hiddink in 36th place.

Two-time FIFA Women's World Cup-winning manager Jill Ellis is the only female coach to make the top 50.

30. Jock Stein

29. Jurgen Klopp

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28. Jose Villalonga

27. Mario Zagallo

26. Alf Ramsey

25. Herbert Chapman

24. Fabio Capello

23. Arsene Wenger

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22. Bob Paisley

21. Bela Guttmann

Alf Ramsey, the manager who led England to World Cup glory in 1966, finds himself 26th in the list.

Fabio Capello, Arsene Wenger and Bob Paisley miss out on the top 20, which shows just how many world-class managers have been around over the decades.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, has already broken into the top 30. The German coach was recently named the best men's coach of 2020 at the Best FIFA awards.

20. Louis van Gaal

19. Nereo Rocco

18. Carlo Ancelotti

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17. Ottmar Hitzfeld

16. Miguel Munoz

15. Vicente del Bosque

14. Giovanni Trapattoni

13. Marcelo Lippi

12. Jose Mourinho

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11. Brian Clough

Louis van Gaal over Wenger and Paisley will be slightly controversial to some, although it’s important to remember that the Dutch coach enjoyed huge success with his legendary Ajax team of the mid-90s along with Barcelona.

Brian Clough is the highest-ranked English manager on the list - he did win back-to-back European Cups with Nottingham Forest, after all - ahead of Jose Mourinho, who will surely be livid to find himself outside the top 10.

10. Valeriy Lobanovskyi

9. Ernst Happel

8. Helenio Herrera

7. Matt Busby

6. Arrigo Sacchi

5. Pep Guardiola

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4. Bill Shankly

Among those who narrowly miss out on the top three include Matt Busby, the man who inspired United to their first European Cup in 1968, Pep Guardiola and Liverpool hero Bill Shankly.

The revered Arrigo Sacchi misses out on a place on the top five.

3. Johan Cruyff

2. Rinus Michels

1. Alex Ferguson

But sitting on top of the pile, ahead of the legendary Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels, it’s Ferguson.

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After breaking the Rangers-Celtic duopoly in Scotland with Aberdeen, who also lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983, Fergie replaced Ron Atkinson at Old Trafford in 1986.

He turned United into the most formidable team on the planet, winning an astounding 13 Premier League titles along with five FA Cups, four League Cups and two UEFA Champions Leagues.

Happy 79th birthday, Sir Alex - the greatest football manager of all time!

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