Top 10 Most Successful Football Managers in History

We support various soccer clubs that are absolute giants in today’s world. And one of the reasons behind those clubs’ success has to be their incredible managers.

Characters larger than life that helped them achieve their potential, success and became part of the footballing history books.

So let us celebrate these greats by taking a look back into the managerial histories of ten of the most successful football managers of all time.

In this post we are ranking the most successful football managers on their trophy count primarily.

10) Luiz Felipe Scolari

Trophies: 20

luiz felipe scolari
Luiz Felipe Scolari won the World Cup with Brazil

You won’t see many managers who would flop massively in the European domestic leagues but still have a successful managerial record. Luiz Felipe Scolari ticks all those boxes.

His career tells you that there is plenty of football outside of the European leagues.

His success as a domestic manager came in South America. The first of many trophies came at Al Qadisiya, a Kuwait soccer club, where he won the Kuwait Emir Cup in 1989.

In Brazil, he joined Cricuma, where he won the Copa de Brasil in 1991.

Scolari was well-known for his intense tactical sessions that required zero margins for error.

The start of his international managerial career couldn’t have been better as he won the FIFA World Cup with Brazil in 2002, only ten months after his appointment.

Despite not reaching similar heights with Portugal, he earned the team’s first-ever European final in 2004 and first-ever World Cup semi-final in 2006.

However, he fell out with the spine of the team before considering Brazil’s international team again.

However, he couldn’t redo the magic of 2002 and lost his job in 2014 after the Germany humiliation. At Gremio, he won four trophies, including Copa de Brasil.

His most successful domestic stint came in China, where he won three consecutive Chinese Super League titles with Guangzhou Evergrande from 2015 to 2017.

9) Arsene Wenger

Trophies: 21

arsene wenger
Arsene Wenger built the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ team of 03/04

“Arsene Who?” were the words when Arsene Wenger came to England. Little did anyone know that his exploits will get woven into the fabric of the English game.

Despite being well-known for his time at Arsenal, Wenger also managed AS Monaco and Japanese club Nagoya Grampus. He won four trophies in both of those regimes, including the Ligue 1 with the French side.

After coming to Arsenal, he gave Sir Alex Ferguson an excellent run for his money. A season after his appointment, he managed to win the double with the North London team.

He won his second Premier League in 2002 when Arsenal beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.

However, his third Premier League title, in 2004, was to be his magnum opus as Arsenal went the entire campaign without a defeat, the first time in Premier League history.

Wenger was highly influential in the construction of Arsenal’s new stadium, The Emirates. In the Emirates era, they have won four cups, three of them coming under the Frenchman.

Wenger has won the most FA Cups in English soccer history (7). Despite his Arsenal and managerial career not coming to a fruitful end, there were many positive things to look back into his managerial career.

8) Giovanni Trapattoni

Trophies: 22

giovanni trapattoni
Giovanni Trapattoni won 16 major trophies in Italy

Giovanni Trapattoni is one of those managers whose contributions mean more to footballing history than just the trophy cabinets he filled.

Apart from his incredible work at Juventus, he was well-known for his micro-management during matches.

He had numerous tactical systems, upon which he experimented, depending on the opponent. His man-management was also second to none.

In Juventus, he won six Serie A titles. He became one of the very few managers to win the UEFA Cup, European Cup, and the League title with the same club.

In his time with the “The Old Lady”, he won 14 trophies. He followed that with another Serie A title at Inter, where he also won his third UEFA Cup.

Afterwards, he conquered the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, the Austrian League with Salzburg, and the Primeira Liga with SL Benfica.

That wasn’t the end of the road. After accepting the coaching badges with Ireland, he won the Carling Nations Cup in 2011, a regional trophy contested between Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.

7) Valeri Lobanovsky

Trophies: 24

valeriy lobanovskiy
Valeriy Lobanovskiy won a combined 24 trophies in Ukraine

If there is someone who has taken Ukrainian soccer to unprecedented heights, it has to be Valeriy Lobanovsky.

In his career, Lobanovsky was able to win 24 trophies, most of those coming at Dynamo Kyiv. During his time at the Ukrainian giants, he won an unassailable eight Soviet Top Leagues.

Furthermore, he also added five Ukrainian National Leagues and six Soviet Cups to his locker.

The most impressive feat of all these was when his Dynamo Kyiv side reached their first Champions League semi-final in 1977.

The current generation of fans can relate the Ajax Champions League campaign of 2018/19 with the Dynamo Kyiv’s campaign in 1977.

6) Ottmar Hitzfeld

Trophies: 25

Ottmar Hitzfeld
Ottmar Hitzfeld was a pioneer for modern German managers

Ottmar Hitzfield is one of the most successful coaches in Bundesliga and International Soccer history.

Many Bayern and Dortmund fans felt that Hitzfeld was more about his dominating nature than just soccer tactics. The opposition teams were petrified of him.

The German came to the spotlight at Grasshopper, where he won consecutive Swiss titles in 1990 and 1991. However, he achieved elite managerial status in Germany.

First, Hitzfeld moved to Borussia Dortmund, where he won consecutive Bundesliga titles in 1995 and 1996. In 1997, Hitzfeld’s men beat Juventus to win their first Champions League title.

He did even better at Bayern Munich by winning 5 Bundesliga titles over two managerial spells. He also led Bayern Munich to their fourth Champions League title.

Not even Jurgen Klopp and Heynckes managed that feat. In his managerial career. Hitzfeld won 25 trophies. He is the landmark for any German manager trying to make it big.

5) Jock Stein

Trophies: 26

jock stein
Jock Stein was the most dominant managerial force in Scottish football

Jock Stein is considered to be the “Sir Alex Ferguson” of the Scottish League. He was the godfather of Celtic fans as his tactical prowess and longevity enabled Celtic to become an unparalleled force in the competition.

Jock Stein won 26 trophies in his time as a manager, most of those coming at Celtic. He won nine consecutive Scottish League titles from 1966 till 1974, before adding another in 1977.

Furthermore, he also added eight Scottish Cups and six Scottish League Cups to his managerial CV, both of those being records in Scottish soccer.

He reached the epitome of European soccer by winning his first European Cup with the Scottish Giants in 1967.

However, his domestic dominance is unmatched to this date. I can’t see those records getting troubled for a long time in Scotland.

4) Pep Guardiola

Trophies: 29

Pep Guardiola has won major trophies across 3 top European leagues

Fourth on the list is Pep Guardiola. Regarded as the finest soccer manager in the last decade, Guardiola’s career is enriched with trophies. Currently, he has 29 trophies in his CV.

As he had an outstanding playing career at Barcelona, he was associated with the Barca B team as he completed the coaching badges.

Pep Guardiola has to take a great amount of credit for how we went about moulding players into world-beaters. Currently at Manchester City, the likes of Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden are thriving under his tenure.

However, it is the success story of Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest footballer to ever live, that has become so synonymous with Guardiola’s influence on up and coming youngsters.

In 2008, he replaced Frank Rijkaard as Barcelona manager. Little did he know that in 18 months, he would become the first manager in soccer history to win the Sextuple (6 trophies in a single season).

He added another two La Liga titles and a Champions League title before leaving his boyhood club.

Despite not winning the Champions League with Bayern Munich, Guardiola won three consecutive Bundesliga titles with the Bavarians.

Pep’s Manchester City tenure started slowly. However, by 2019, he became only the third manager in Premier League history to win consecutive Premier League titles. In the 2017/2018 season, Guardiola set the all-time premier league points record, finishing with 100 points.

He also became the first manager in Premier League history to win the Domestic Treble.

Considering that he is only 55, he can go all the way to match Sir Alex Ferguson’s records in terms of trophies. Perhaps the only one on this list who can do this unthinkable task.

3) José Mourinho

Trophies: 34

jose mourinho
José Mourinho calls himself ‘the special one’

How many managers can you count who never had an outstanding playing career but succeeded as a manager? José Mourinho is one of the top names of that list.

In his own words, Mourinho broke every wall to achieve what he has. Mourinho has won 34 trophies in his illustrious career, including league titles in four different countries.

Mourinho’s breakthrough came at Porto as he led his team to win the UEFA Cup in 2003.

Twelve months later, he wrote one of the finest underdog stories of all time as he beat AS Monaco 3-0 to win Porto’s first Champions League title.

In the same year, he joined Chelsea and elevated the club to unprecedented heights. He won two Premier League titles, two League Cups, and an FA Cup during his time at London.

Despite staying at Inter Milan for only two years, he achieved impossible heights. In 2009/10, he became the first manager in history to win the Treble with an Italian club as Inter beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.

At Real Madrid, his objective was to end Barcelona’s dominance. Despite getting humiliated by them in La Liga and the Champions League, Mourinho’s men had the last laugh in the Copa Del Rey 2011 final win.

The 2011/12 League campaign is considered to be the finest in Real Madrid’s recent history. The Whites won La Liga by 100 points.

After a disappointing third season at the Spanish capital, he returned to Chelsea, where he added another Premier League title to his CV.

At Manchester United, he managed to win the Europa League title, making him the only United manager in history to win a trophy in his first season.

2) Mircea Lucescu

Trophies: 35

mircea lucescu
Mircea Lucescu has won 32 domestic trophies across 5 nations

Mircea Lucescu established himself as the most successful Romanian and Ukrainian League managers after his campaigns at Shakhtar Donetsk and Rapid Bucuresti.

In his time at Romania, Lucescu won leagues with three different clubs i.e. Rapid București, Corvinul Hunedoara, and Dinamo București.

Lucescu was also able to find success in Serie B, winning the League with Brescia in 1992. After winning Turkish League titles at Galatasaray and Besiktas, he went to Shakhtar Donetsk.

In his time at Shakhtar, Lucescu enjoyed his best managerial spell as he won 8 Ukrainian Leagues, including five consecutive titles from 2009 to 2014. Furthermore, he won his first UEFA Cup in that regime.

Lucescu’s last two trophies were the Russian Super Cup with Zenit and the Ukrainian Super Cup with Dynamo Kyiv.

In his career as a manager, Lucescu has won 32 domestic trophies. He is widely considered to be the most remarkable manager in Shakhtar Donetsk’s history.

The best thing is that he is still going strong at 75 managing Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine.

Just imagine if he had added a European Cup to his CV. That would have been the cherry on top of a marvelous career.

1. Sir Alex Ferguson

Trophies: 48

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson has won more silverware than any other football manager

Who else but Sir Alex Ferguson being the top of this list.

Any soccer fan will tell you that the Scottish manager was levels above the rest. The man simply had it all.

In his illustrious career, Ferguson managed an astonishing 48 winners medals to his name.

His trophy haul started at Aberdeen, where he won three Scottish first divisions. He also added two European trophies to his CV at the Scottish club.

Despite having initial problems with the Red Devils, Ferguson won his first trophy at the club in 1990. From there on, he never looked back.

He integrated arguably the most significant British academy graduates, comprising Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and incorporated them into the first-team.

They became the team’s core that led to the Treble winning season for the club in 1999. They were also crucial to United’s third Champions League title in 2008.

Sir Alex Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles in his time as United manager, including winning three consecutive league titles from 2007 till 2009.

In 2013, Sir Alex retired from soccer management. Fittingly, he left as a Premier League champion. There is no coincidence that Manchester United are yet to fill the void left under him.

Final Verdict

Management is no easy job. And these veterans prove that even if you have a few successes here and there, to make it big, you need to have longevity.

Also, many of these coaches prove that you are more likely to succeed with a long spell at one club compared to making a new combination at each club. This again shows the importance of consistency that these managers attained.

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