Pep, Mourinho, Simeone and more: Ranking world's top 10 club managers

1:43 | Planet Futbol
Paul Breitner raves about Pep Guardiola's time with Bayern Munich
Thursday May 26th, 2016

Just as the Champions League format has allowed an elite group of clubs to dominate in recent years, the coaching landscape, too, is overshadowed by the personalities of a revered few who are hired at a huge expense with the guarantee of trophies.

The perfect example of that is in the Premier League, where all the attention is going to be on Manchester's clubs City and United when next season kicks off, despite their recent fourth and fifth respective finishes in the league. City will have Pep Guardiola in charge, while United has signed Jose Mourinho to a three-year deal. It’s a personal rivalry that dominated Spanish football when the pair locked horns during two controversy-laden years at Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.

The problem is, there is only one league title to go around, and so at the end of next season in Manchester, at least one of them is going to be disappointed (and possibly both of them if last season is anything to go by). Beyond Guardiola and Mourinho, there are a number of high-profile individuals who have made success and elite play synonymous with their names.

With that in mind, here is our rankings for best club coaches in the world right now:

Top 10 club managers in the world
  • 10
    10Unai Emery
    The Spaniard followed three successive top-four finishes with Valencia with three straight Europa League wins for Sevilla, an astonishing achievement. He takes pride in making players better, and some of them have gone on to great things, David Silva, Juan Mata, Ivan Rakitic among them. Sporting director Monchi is a crucial part of Sevilla’s success, but so is Emery. He may be tempted by the lure of English clubs sooner rather than later.

  • 9
    9Thomas Tuchel
    Borussia Dortmund
    The German succeeded Jurgen Klopp at Mainz and then did the same at Dortmund, and on both occasions improved on what had happened before. His Dortmund side earned 78 points, three more than its total that secured the Bundesliga title in 2011. He got the best out of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though question marks remain over the team’s European capitulation to Klopp’s Liverpool this season. Dortmund will push Bayern again next season.

  • 8
    8Mauricio Pochettino
    The Argentine is a club owner’s dream: he doesn't ask for big-money signings, he is not afraid to promote young players and all his teams, from Espanyol to Southampton, and Spurs, have all improved their performances. Pochettino gets–and gives–unswerving loyalty from the players who buy into his methods and has a clarity of vision that improves his charges. Was described by Sir Alex Ferguson as “the best coach in the Premier League” last season.

  • 7
    7Max Allegri
    Juventus fans protested when Allegri was first appointed but have back-tracked after the Italian won back-to-back league and Cup doubles and a place in last season’s Champions League final. More tactically flexible than his predecessor Antonio Conte, Allegri has won over the doubters and is targeting more success in Turin next season.

  • 6
    6Luis Enrique
    Two league and cup doubles in two seasons at Barcelona (not to mention a Champions League title) is just as impressive as it sounds, regardless of who is in your strike force. And to think that six months into his reign at Barcelona, a row with Lionel Messi almost cost him his job. Luis Enrique has changed Barcelona’s style from the Guardiola-Villanova era and it is more direct now, though still reliant on the genius of Messi-Luis Suarez-Neymar to make the difference. His switches can still affect games, though, as he showed in the Copa del Rey final by moving Messi into midfield after Javier Mascherano’s red card.

  • 5
    5Carlo Ancelotti
    Bayern Munich
    "Quiet Leadership" is the name of Ancelotti’s recently published management manual, and the Italian is an expert at winning trophies at big teams. For him, it's all about managing talent and giving the individuals freedom to express themselves. Cristiano Ronaldo flourished under Ancelotti, whose elite-club European tour has taken him to successful spells at Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid, and this summer he lands at Bayern Munich.

  • 4
    4Jose Mourinho
    Manchester United 
    Was Mourinho’s ill-fated season at Chelsea last year a one-off or a sign that his famed powers are on the wane, and the siege mentality no longer works? One thing is for sure: Mourinho is a box-office hit and is as intriguing and beguiling to players as to fans. The Portuguese boss will have a tough job on his hands at Old Trafford, where the squad is imbalanced and the history dictates attacking football is played; but it is a job he has coveted and it wouldn't be hard for him to improve on the Louis van Gaal era.

  • 3
    3Jurgen Klopp
    The German spent seven years at Borussia Dortmund and took just seven months to revitalize Liverpool and take it, after beating Dortmund, to the Europa League final. His infectious personality and high-tempo pressing game have thrilled Liverpool fans and could persuade big names to join the club in the summer. A title challenge next season might be too much to ask for, but a run at the top four is possible with Klopp at the helm.

  • 2
    2Pep Guardiola
    Manchester City
    In seven seasons of coaching, Guardiola has won six league titles and reached the Champions League semifinals in every season. He brings with him a romantic philosophy that overrides result. Performance and process is everything to him. The prospect of what he could do at Manchester City, who has lacked a clear playing identity ever since the new owners came in, is an enticing one. Will Fabian Delph be converted into a marauding wing-back, Kevin de Bruyne as a false nine, and Eliaquim Mangala as a center back? It will be fascinating to watch.

  • 1
    1Diego Simeone
    Atletico Madrid
    Simeone and Atletico are a perfect match. The Argentine captained the side to league and cup double in 1996, and when he returned as coach 16 years later, the team was more worried about relegation than anything else. He turned that around, and his team now embodies the cholo, ‘warrior spirit’ that marked his playing career. Despite having a smaller budget than the big two in Spain, he has won La Liga, Copa del Rey and reached two Champions League finals in the last three years. This season alone, his side beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich on the way to the final in Milan. The question is, could his methods work as well anywhere else?

Just missing the cut: It was hard to ignore the claims of Arsene Wenger, who was the toughest coach to leave out of this list. Others who would make up the Top 15 include Jorge Jesus (Sporting), Roger Schmidt (Bayer Leverkusen), Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) and Laurent Blanc (PSG). Former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli could jump into this group as well, should he move back to the club circuit.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.