Ranked! The 50 best managers in the world
The best managers in the world all laid out in some kind of (very specific) order
What does it mean to be one of the world's best managers? Well, Arsene Wenger once claimed, “You are loved when you are born, you are loved when you die… in between, you have to manage.”
In the digital age, respect for managers is about as short as a deep block. This is the era of doom-scrolling, rolling news and sporting soapboxes. Everyone has their opinion and the boss, ultimately, can never appease the entire auditorium. An average tenure of 18 months would explain a lot – it’s usually 18 days before most of you lot have made your mind up on a manager.
But there are those who have excelled over the past year or so – and we thought we’d rank them. Our list is determined by a few things: ability, of course, as well as how much their team has achieved in these past 12 months – with resources taken into account. Everything considered… these are the most employable men of 2022.
The 50 best managers in the world: October 2022 edition
50. Gareth Southgate
The cliches are bedded in, now: Conor Coady will make every international squad, James Maddison won't and there will be more right-backs in his set-up than you can shake a mucky stick at. Gareth Southgate is pragmatic, cautious and sometimes misses the obvious but just because he sometimes drops the ball, we often forget how good he is.
And that's being the most successful England manager in over half a century – and plenty of tried, plenty with talented players, too. Tactically, Southgate may lack but his man management is exemplary and his in-game nous has taken England to a semi-final and final in the last two tournaments. If England go far in Qatar, his reputation will soar again.
49. Maurizio Sarri
Maurizio Sarri almost became a parody of himself in the final days at Juventus. Loved for what he achieved at Napoli and Empoli, he was maligned in Turin and at Chelsea.
Yet he delivered trophies and has only lost once in Lazio's first 10, as the club look to steal a march on the faltering Inter and Juventus. Can Sarriball rise again? Perhaps – it was the most elegant of football when it thrived.
48. Marco Rose
Your first sacking can make you – that's what Marco Rose is hoping, anyway.
RB Leipzig suits the former Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Monchengladbach coach a hell of a lot better. His press is intense and on its day, the diamond midfield that his last two sides operated with looked like a genuinely original solution against the same old 4-3-3s we see across Europe. Rose is bruised and has a lot to prove but the talent is there, for sure.
47. Jesse Marsch
Hiring a potty-mouthed American to replace a club's most beloved coach of a generation – in the midst of a relegation battle during an injury crisis, no less – was a bit of a risk, to say the least.
Somehow, Jesse Marsch has won over Leeds fans, though. The former Red Bull pupil has the high press of Bielsa but has switched to zonal marking fantastically, making Elland Road a formidable place to go and giving the Leeds defence less scrapping around for their lives. Individual talents like Rodrigo, Pascal Struijk, Tyler Adams and Brendan Aaronson have blossomed under his tutelage. He's going places – and slaying the Ted Lasso stereotypes.
46. Vincenzo Italiano
Vincenzo Italiano is exactly the name you'd come up with if asked to invent a football manager from Italy. A shrewd operator who has punched above his weight with Fiorentina, though, Italiano is making a name for himself as one of his nation's best emerging coaches – and could surprise a few in the Europa Conference League.
45. Paulo Fonseca
What a strange couple of years for Lille after winning the title, losing a manager and re-submerging beneath Paris Saint-Germain. It's been an odd time for Paulo Fonseca, too, taking on Roma pre-Jose before turning to French football. His 4-2-3-1 has been resolute, developing the likes of Angel Gomes and supplying the ammunition for Jonathan David: it's exciting to see where Lille may go next.
44. Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Giovanni van Bronckhorst has taken Rangers to a major final but it's the misses that illuminate more than the hits. Penalty shootout heartbreak, losses in the Old Firm, losing the grip of the title and perhaps finishing bottom of a Champions League group all look bad.
GVB hasn't been backed hugely, however, and despite this string of bad luck, he's managed to pull huge results out of the fire in his tenure so far. Give him a full season, a little more money and let's see what he can do: there are good signs.
43. Lucien Favre
This feels like a very different Nice to the one that Lucien Favre left. The Swiss veteran has returned and his reputation as one of the more reliable operators of European football precedes him – the journey should be fascinating this time.
42. Igor Tudor
Marseille finished last season second before Jorge Sampaoli left. Igor Tudor has picked up with a back three and though the two are wildly different coaches, l'OM are looking gritty and rugged, stretching pitches with width and revitalising the now-33 Alexis Sanchez.
No one expected too much from Marseille – and that's just how they like it, out to ruin anyone's day. Tudor was a revelation in Verona and his approach to Marseille has been fascinating.
41. Roberto De Zerbi
Roberto De Zerbi’s Sassuolo side were wonderful. They attacked with numbers, cut in to create chances and were resilient in their back four. But perhaps the most promising thing for Brighton is that this young coach seems to get the best out of everyone that he works with.
The goatee’d genius elevated the likes of Jeremie Boga and Manuel Locatelli in Italy into the kinds of players that we’ve always expected them to be, while playing an entertaining brand of football – and while Shakhtar was a different kind of challenge, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Lassina Traore were both flourishing under him. The next Graham Potter? Don't put it past him.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.
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