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Who is the best Barcelona manager of all time? The most successful FC Barcelona manager in terms of trophies is Pep Guardiola.
Take for instance, his first full year in charge in 2009, Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the Champions League.
Greatest Barcelona Managers of All Time
FC Barcelona, one of the most successful and iconic football clubs in the world, has seen its fair share of legendary managers throughout its rich history. In this article, we will explore 12 of the greatest managers ever to lead the Blaugrana.
Josep “Pep” Guardiola Sala, a Spanish professional football manager and former player, is widely regarded as one of the best managers in the history of Barcelona. During his tenure from 2008 to 2012, Guardiola achieved remarkable success, winning an impressive 14 trophies in just four years.
Under Guardiola’s guidance, Barcelona dominated both domestic and international competitions. The team’s playing style, characterized by possession-based football and intricate passing, revolutionized the game. The 2008-2012 Blaugrana squad is often hailed as one of the greatest teams of all time.
After leaving Barcelona, Guardiola went on to manage other top clubs, including Bayern Munich and currently Manchester City. However, his legacy at Barcelona remains unmatched, and many consider him the greatest manager in the club’s history.
Johan Cruyff, a Dutch football player and manager, is another legendary figure in Barcelona’s history. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Cruyff’s influence as a manager was equally significant.
Cruyff joined FC Barcelona in 1973 and made an immediate impact, leading the team to their first La Liga title in ten years. His innovative playing style, known as ‘total football,’ emphasized fluidity, creativity, and attacking prowess. Cruyff’s tactical acumen and ability to nurture young talents played a crucial role in Barcelona’s success.
Not only did Cruyff achieve success on the field, but he also left a lasting legacy at the club. His managerial philosophy and commitment to attractive, attacking football became the foundation for Barcelona’s future successes.
Franklin Edmundo Rijkaard, a Dutch former footballer and manager, played as a defensive midfielder during his successful career. He represented clubs like Ajax, Real Zaragoza, and AC Milan, as well as the Netherlands national team, scoring 10 goals in 73 appearances. Rijkaard’s journey as a manager began when he joined FC Barcelona in 2003.
During his tenure as Barcelona’s manager from 2003 to 2008, Rijkaard led the club to several victories, including a memorable triumph over Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League. Despite being relatively inexperienced as a coach, Rijkaard was appointed to guide Barcelona back to its glory days, and he exceeded expectations.
4Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal, another Dutch football player and manager, had an illustrious career. He managed top clubs like Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United. Van Gaal also had three stints as the coach of the Netherlands national team.
Known for his tactical brilliance, van Gaal shone brightest during his initial three seasons with Ajax, especially the first two. Although he had the privilege of managing renowned clubs like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United, it was his time at Ajax that showcased his managerial prowess.
Radomir Antić, a Serbian professional football manager and player, had a four-month stint as the Barcelona manager. After a successful 17-year playing career as a defender, mostly with Partizan, where he won the Yugoslav First League, Antić transitioned into coaching.
Although his time at Barcelona was short-lived, Antić did his best to bring the team success. However, he could only manage a sixth-place finish during his tenure. Unfortunately, his short-term contract was not renewed at the end of the season.
In recent times, Xavi has taken over as the Barcelona manager. However, he currently holds the worst points per game (PPG) record since Radomir Antić’s time in charge, with only 1.83 PPG. Antić’s spell lasted for just 147 days, leaving behind an impact that is still felt today.
Marinus Jacobus Hendricus Michels, a Dutch football player and coach, is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time. He spent his entire playing career at AFC Ajax, where he later became the manager. Michels also had four spells as the coach of the Netherlands national team.
Michels managed Barcelona from 1971 to 1975 and returned for another stint from 1976 to 1978. During his first tenure, he implemented the famous totaalvoetbal (total football) philosophy, which revolutionized the way the game was played.
Under his guidance, Barcelona transformed from Eredivisie strugglers to champions in the 1960s, with a team that included legendary players like Cruyff and Johan Neeskens.
Marcelo Bielsa, a disciple of Rinus Michels, continues to be influenced by his coaching style and philosophy. Michels’ impact on Barcelona and the football world as a whole is still felt today.
Helenio Herrera Gavilán, an Argentine-French football player and manager, is best remembered for his success with the Inter Milan team known as Grande Inter in the 1960s. However, before his tenure with Inter, Herrera had a brief but incredibly fruitful spell with Barcelona.
Between 1959 and 1961, Herrera guided Barcelona to two league titles, one Spanish Cup, and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (now known as the UEFA Cup). His tactical acumen and innovative approach to the game led to Barcelona’s success during this period. Herrera’s winning percentage of 76.7% is a testament to his abilities as a manager.
Ferdinand Daučík, a former Slovak football player and manager, enjoyed his best spell as a manager while in charge of Barcelona. Daučík managed the club during one of its most successful periods, winning numerous trophies and establishing Barcelona as a force to be reckoned with.
During his four seasons in charge, Barcelona won two consecutive La Liga titles and several other trophies, including the Copa del Generalísimo, the Copa Latina, and the Copa Eva Duarte. Daučík’s partnership with the legendary player László Kubala proved to be instrumental in Barcelona’s success.
Luis Aragonés Suárez, a former Spanish football player and coach, had a brief spell as the manager of Barcelona between 1987 and 1988. Aragonés is best known for his time at Atlético Madrid, where he achieved great success both as a player and a coach. However, his time at Camp Nou was short-lived due to a new depression that prevented him from continuing his managerial duties.
Although Aragonés’ tenure at Barcelona was short, his impact on the club cannot be overlooked. He brought his wealth of experience and tactical knowledge to the team, and his influence was felt on and off the pitch. Despite the challenges he faced during his time at Barcelona, Aragonés left a lasting impression on the players and the fans.
Udo Lattek, a German professional football player and coach, is regarded as one of the most successful managers in the history of the game. Before his stint at Barcelona, Lattek achieved great success with Bayern Munich, winning numerous titles. In 1981, he made a famous move to Camp Nou and took charge of the Barcelona team.
During his time at Barcelona, Lattek continued his winning ways. He led the team to victory in the Copa del Rey and the Cup Winners’ Cup, adding to his already impressive trophy cabinet. Lattek’s tactical acumen and ability to motivate his players were key factors in Barcelona’s success during his tenure.
Remembered as one of the finest managers in Bundesliga history, Udo Lattek’s time at Barcelona showcased his ability to bring out the best in his players and achieve remarkable results. His legacy at the club lives on, and his contributions to Barcelona’s success should not be forgotten.
Laureano Ruiz Quevedo, a Spanish retired football defender and manager, took charge of FC Barcelona for a short period in 1976. Although Ruiz had a deep love for world football, his time at Barca was only transitional. Despite his limited stay, he still managed to make an impact, albeit a small one.
Ruiz’s tenure at Camp Nou lasted from April 1976 to May 1976. During this time, he made some tactical changes and implemented his vision for the team. However, due to various circumstances, his stay was not extended, and Barca moved on to the next manager.
12José Luis Romero
José Luis Romero Robledo, a Spanish former footballer and coach, had a more extensive career as both a player and a manager. As a player, Romero represented clubs like Villarrobledo, Sabadell, Xerez, Barcelona, Espanyol, Burgos, and Sant Andreu.
When it comes to his managerial career, Romero had the opportunity to coach several teams, including Sabadell, Barcelona, Real Oviedo, Logroñés, Betis, Cádiz, and Atlético Madrid.
His time at Barcelona was relatively short, lasting only from March 1983 to March 1983. Despite the brevity, Romero made his mark by bringing his footballing knowledge and experience to the team.
FC Barcelona has been fortunate to witness the brilliance of several legendary managers. Among them, Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff shine the brightest.
Their impact on the club’s success, playing style, and overall philosophy cannot be overstated. They will forever be remembered as two of the greatest Barcelona managers of all time.
This article was updated 2 months ago