In the world of football, the debate over the greatest managers of all time is never-ending. Fans, pundits, and experts often have different opinions, but now, artificial intelligence has weighed in with its own ranking. While not everyone may agree with the choices, the AI-generated list sheds light on some of the most iconic figures in the history of the sport. Notably, this list excludes the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti, stirring up controversy among football enthusiasts.
Valeriy Lobanovskyi: The tactical innovator (rank 10)
Valeriy Lobanovskyi, a renowned Ukrainian manager, kicks off the list at number 10. With a career spanning over 30 years, Lobanovskyi made a name for himself through multiple Soviet and Ukrainian titles with Dynamo Kyiv. He is celebrated as a tactical innovator whose strategies influenced generations of managers.
Sir Bobby Robson: The English maestro (rank 9)
Sir Bobby Robson takes the ninth spot, thanks to his remarkable career that included England’s memorable run to the 1990 World Cup semi-finals. Robson’s success extended overseas, where he thrived with clubs like PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona. His legacy is further cemented by leading Ipswich Town to their only European trophy.
Brian Clough: European glory with Nottingham Forest (rank 8)
Brian Clough, known for his back-to-back European Cup triumphs with Nottingham Forest, secures the eighth position. Clough’s journey from player to manager saw him win his first league title with Derby before achieving remarkable success at the City Ground.
Johan Cruyff: A visionary on and off the field (rank 7)
Johan Cruyff, a football icon both as a player and manager, grabs the seventh spot. His illustrious career transitioned to the dugout, where he left a lasting impact with Ajax and Barcelona. Cruyff’s progressive approach laid the foundation for modern football, influencing managers like Pep Guardiola.
Arrigo Sacchi: Italian excellence (rank 6)
Arrigo Sacchi takes sixth place in recognition of his stellar managerial career. Sacchi led AC Milan to back-to-back European Cup titles and reached a World Cup final as Italy’s manager in 1994. His tactical prowess continues to inspire managers in the 21st century.
Bill Shankly: Laying Liverpool’s foundation (rank 5)
Bill Shankly, a pivotal figure in Liverpool’s history, claims the fifth position. In the 1960s and 1970s, Shankly’s management transformed Liverpool into English giants, winning multiple domestic titles and establishing a legacy that the club continued to build upon in the 1980s.
Sir Matt Busby: Manchester United’s architect (rank 4)
Sir Matt Busby, another Scottish football luminary, ranks fourth on the list. His enduring tenure with Manchester United spanned over two decades and witnessed the development of title-winning teams. Busby’s leadership included both triumphs and the tragedy of the Munich air disaster, and he led United to their first European Cup victory in 1968.
Jose Mourinho: The special one (rank 3)
Jose Mourinho secures the third spot, having worked under the guidance of Sir Bobby Robson before embarking on his managerial journey. He gained prominence with Porto, winning two Champions League titles. Mourinho’s career also boasts league titles in four different countries.
Pep Guardiola: The modern tactician (rank 2)
Pep Guardiola, heavily influenced by Johan Cruyff, occupies the second position. His innovative coaching and tactical style were honed during his tenure at Barcelona, which yielded two Champions League trophies. Guardiola’s success extended to Bayern Munich and Manchester City, where he achieved a historic Treble in the 2022-23 season.
Sir Alex Ferguson: The ultimate football manager (Rank 1)
Topping the list is Sir Alex Ferguson, a true legend of the game. Ferguson’s managerial career saw him claim two Champions League titles, but it was his dominance in the Premier League that stood out. With a record 13 league titles won with Manchester United, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest football managers in history.
While this AI-generated ranking may not settle the debate on the best managers of all time, it certainly offers a unique perspective. The absence of contemporary managerial giants like Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti only adds to the intrigue, reminding us that football history is rich with diverse and influential figures who have left an indelible mark on the beautiful game. What remains undisputed is that the legacy of these top 10 managers will continue to inspire generations of football enthusiasts for years to come.