FourFourTwo’s 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2016: 50-46

Kick-off! Two of South America’s most successful bosses of 2016 get the recognition they deserve, plus another trio who punched above their weight

Words: Chris Flanagan, Marcus Alves, Martin Mazur, Michael Yokhin, Gregor Macgregor.

50. Chris Coleman (Wales)

Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody once joked that it took him 17-and-a-half years to become an overnight success. Chris Coleman will know the feeling.

The Wales boss first became a manager when he took charge of Fulham way back in 2003, but not until the brilliant success of Euro 2016 did he really announce himself to the rest of the continent as one of Europe’s most impressive managers.

He’s brilliant, he makes sure every box is ticked before going on the pitch. The biggest testament you can give to him is everyone loves playing for him - we give absolutely everything for him as manager

- Joe Allen, Wales

Things haven’t always gone well for Coleman in management. His second job at Real Sociedad lasted only six months: on one occasion he mysteriously turned up 90 minutes late for a press conference, telling journalists his washing machine had flooded his flat. The reality was that Coleman had been out on the town the night beforehand and he was forced to apologise.

Then came a spell at Coventry and an ill-fated period in charge of Greek side Larissa, before he accepted the Wales job following the death of his friend Gary Speed. His managerial career looked in serious jeopardy when a 6-1 defeat in Serbia left him on the brink in 2012.

“I was trying to do everything that ‘Speeds’ was doing, because I was told it was working and don’t change it,” he admitted. “It didn’t work for me – it blew up in my face. I’ll never make that mistake again.”

Coleman soon introduced his own tactics, switching to three at the back, and Wales flourished. The 46-year-old created a club spirit within the national team, conducting himself with a calm confidence that clearly spread to his players.

Just qualifying for their first tournament since 1958 was a huge achievement – reaching the semi finals was a virtual miracle. CF

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