Ten Hag, Klopp, Guardiola: Algorithm names the world's best manager

  • Kobe Tong
Liverpool's Klopp at Anfield.

Who is the best manager in the world?

It’s a question that is guaranteed to split a room full of football fans into at least five sections with angry shouts of ‘Jurgen Klopp’, ‘Pep Guardiola’, ‘Carlo Ancelotti’ and even some rogue hipster names bounded about the room.

Just like naming the best male or female player in the business, it’s ultimately a subjective exercise and everything from transfer funds, dressing room morale, pure timing and much, much more can impact upon a coach’s performance.

Who is the world’s best manager?

It is, after all, one of the most cutthroat jobs in life where you’re only ever five defeats away from being shown the door if you haven’t got any credit in the bank.

Nevertheless, for all the squabbling that would take place in our hypothetical hall of supporters, you could rest assured that there would be some level of consensus on the managers who are at least in the conversation.

Sure, you might not believe that Klopp is the world number one, but if you don’t think he’s knocking on the door of that status then you might need to tune in for a few more Liverpool games.

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Algorithm on world’s best managers

And in the absence of any clear answer amongst these universally-agreed-upon contenders, then we need to turn to different means to settle the debate and the team over at FootballTransfers might just have the answer.

That’s because they released a “Manager Power Rankings’ upon the conclusion of the 2021/22 season in early June that uses a ‘bespoke algorithm’ in order to decide who the world’s best coach really is.

The algorithm takes in a ‘huge number of factors’ that includes: club current form (adjusted for the strength of the competition); European form; style of play; reputation; media buzz; recent trophies won; experience and recent additional achievements.

“WHAT A JOKE CLUB! DE JONG REJECTS MAN UNITED!” (Football Terrace)

The top 20 managers

The result? Well, as far as this summer is concerned, the top 20 managers in world football can be seen down below:

20. Hansi Flick (Germany)

19. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate)

18. Gareth Southgate (England)

17. Mauricio Pochettino (Free agent)

16. Xavi (Barcelona)

15. Sérgio Conceição (FC Porto)

Porto hold Conceicao aloft.
Soccer Football – Primeira Liga – Benfica v FC Porto – Estadio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal – May 7, 2022 FC Porto players lift coach Sergio Conceicao in the air to celebrate after winning the Primeira Liga REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

14. Unai Emery (Villarreal)

13. Rúben Amorim (Sporting CP)

12. Luis Enrique (Spain)

11. Stefano Pioli (AC Milan)

10. Antonio Conte (Tottenham Hotspur)

Tottenham's Conte in the rain.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur – Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain – February 23, 2022 Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

9. Abel Ferreira (Palmeiras)

8. Simone Inzaghi (Inter Milan)

7. Julian Nagelsmann (Bayern Munich)

6. Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid)

5. Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid's Ancelotti watches on.
Soccer Football – Champions League Final – Liverpool v Real Madrid – Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France – May 28, 2022 Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti REUTERS/Molly Darlington

4. Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea)

3. Erik ten Hag (Manchester United)

2. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)

  1. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
Liverpool's Klopp celebrates.
Soccer Football – FA Cup Semi Final – Manchester City v Liverpool – Wembley Stadium, London, Britain – April 16, 2022 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Klopp named the world’s best

So, there you have it, Klopp is ranked as the world’s best manager… at least, as far as the FootballTransfers algorithm is concerned.

It’s perhaps not surprised to see Guardiola breathing down his neck as one of the most decorated coaches in the sport, but it is head-turning to see Ten Hag on the podium prior to his first game for United.

The extent to which you agree with Ten Hag being ranked quite so aggressively amongst the top coaches ultimately comes down to how much weight you put on his achievements at Ajax.

Elsewhere, Conte will be hoping to make up ground on the top nine during his first season at Tottenham, Southgate has perhaps been wounded since the UEFA Nations League results that have come since the list’s release and a certain Jose Mourinho is conspicuous by his absence.

England's Southgate celebrates.
Soccer Football – Euro 2020 – Semi Final – England v Denmark – Wembley Stadium, London, Britain – July 7, 2021 England manager Gareth Southgate celebrates after the match Pool via REUTERS/Frank Augstein

Now, obviously, even if you hired the brainiest boffins from all of the world’s top universities and asked them to produce an even better algorithm, then you can rest assured that the answers still wouldn’t please everybody.

And that’s because, well, there’s no truly objective way that you can measure things like coaching and management no matter how hard you try.

Nevertheless, algorithm or not, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that Klopp shouldn’t even make the podium at the very, very least.

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