FourFourTwo’s 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2017: No.18, Marcelo Gallardo

It’s not been a smooth year for the man labelled the Guardiola of South America (quite apt, then), but Gallardo’s achievements still mark him out as special

Marcelo Gallardo

If you'd taken a look at Marcelo Gallardo’s WhatsApp status message recently, it read: ‘Que la noticia no tape la historia' (in English: ‘Don’t let the news cover up the history’).

Lucas Alario scored a hat-trick to win 4-3 and conquer River Plate's sixth title under Gallardo in three seasons

The most successful River Plate manager of all time had this phrase ahead of Copa Argentina finals against Rosario Central, after losing to rivals Boca Juniors in a Superclasico played at home in December 2016.

The Argentine giants needed to beat Central to secure a place in the Libertadores Cup the next year – otherwise, their dressing room would be at serious risk. And they did it, as Lucas Alario scored a hat-trick to win 4-3 and claim River Plate's sixth title under Gallardo in three seasons.

It's no surprise that the fans call him ‘Napoleon Gallardo’ nowadays.

Born to win

The 41-year-old’s reign began with the 2014 Copa Sudamericana, ending a 17-year gap since their last international trophy, followed by the Recopa, Libertadores and Suruga Cup in 2015, and the Recopa-Copa Argentina combo in 2016.

Another disciple of cult hero Marcelo ‘El Loco’ Bielsa, Gallardo attributes much of his coaching philosophy to the man who has influenced so many in the game and is now back in management as head coach of Lille.

Marcelo Bielsa

The legendary Bielsa has been a big influence on Gallardo

El Muneco (in English: The Doll) has the air of a man who knows he was born to win. Gallardo revolutionised River Plate and was the first coach to appoint a female assistant as a member of his staff in Argentina’s first division.

Few understood hiring a neuroscientist back in June 2014, but are now willing to do the same in their clubs. “It adds something related to mental and visual training and anticipation,” Gallardo said. "Players who think better, more quickly, are the ones who make the difference. I like to say that we are going onto the field to defend a cause."

Certainly, no other cause has been more successful in South American football over the past few years.

The list

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See also...

FourFourTwo's 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2017