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5 greatest managers in Serie A history
For well over a century, Serie A has been a hotbed of footballing revolution and has produced a host of legendary visionaries that have stamped their authority on the beautiful game.
The Italian peninsula has given rise to generations of exceptional managers that have profoundly impacted the way the beautiful game is played.
Football has aged like fine Italian wine over the past century and much of its tactical evolution can be attributed to Serie A. Italy has produced some of the finest players in Europe over the years and these superstars of the modern game owe much of their success to the finely tuned brilliance of their mentors.
5. Fabio Capello
Fabio Capello has always been a controversial figure in the world of football but his managerial credentials are unquestionable. ‘Don Fabio’ has often clashed with his star players over the course of an illustrious career but his discipline and pragmatism have yielded incredible results over the years.
Widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game, Capello conquered Serie A with AC Milan and AS Roma and could have also won two Scudettos with Juventus had it not been for the infamous Calciopoli scandal.
Fabio Capello has had his detractors over the years but his impeccable record in the Serie A makes him one of Italy’s best tactical exponents. Capello also enjoyed success outside Italy and retired after a trophy-laden managerial career.
4. Carlo Ancelotti
Ancelotti is one of the world’s greatest managers
Serie A saw a spate of incredible managers in the 1990s and Carlo Ancelotti is unique in his achievements over the past few years. In addition to building some of the greatest teams to have ever graced European football, Ancelotti also achieved success outside Italy and has carved a legacy for himself as one of football’s greatest managers.
Ancelotti coached the likes of Parma and Juventus in the 1990s and honed his skills as an astute manager. The former midfielder joined AC Milan in 2001 and gave the Rossoneri some of their most special moments since the turn of the century.
In his eight years as the manager of AC Milan, Carlo Ancelotti sculpted the careers of Andrea Pirlo, Andriy Shevchenko, Kaka, and several other legendary Serie A figures. Ancelotti also went on to makes waves in La Liga and the Premier League and is a modern-day coaching legend.
3. Arrigo Sacchi
Arrigo Sacchi is one of the best managers in history
Arrigo Sacchi may not have an illustrious trophy cabinet as some of the other names on this list but his body of work with AC Milan remains a special and unique chapter in Serie A history.
The 1980s were a particularly intriguing time for the footballing revolution as distinctive schools of thought began to imprint themselves on European football. The Italian game was pigeonholed into a defensive nutshell when Arrigo Sacchi decided to take the Serie A by storm.
Sacchi contrasted the defensive genius of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini with the attacking flair of Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten to create one of the greatest footballing units known to history.
The all-conquering AC Milan side dominated the Serie A and also won successive European Cups under the legendary Arrigo Sacchi.
2. Giovanni Trapattoni
Trapattoni was a successful manager.
Giovanni Trapattoni was a devoted disciple of legendary Rossoneri behemoth Nereo Rocco and brought traditional Catenaccio into a new era that saw the rise of prodigious creative midfielders who threatened to consign Italian defences into forgotten corners of football history.
Nicknamed ‘Il Trap’ and widely adored by the Italian press, Giovanni Trapattoni’s managerial career in Italy spanned over two decades and yielded a record seven Serie A titles.
Trapattoni was often referred to as the ‘Old Fox’ for his uncanny ability to adapt to a plethora of tactical systems. The Bianconeri great is widely credited for reviving Catenaccio in European football and initiating yet another glorious era in the Serie A.
1. Helenio Herrera
Helenio Herrera created a new brand of Italian football
As far as legacies are concerned, Helenio Herrera’s clout in Italian football remains unrivalled in the post-war era. The Argentine tactician moved to Serie A giants Inter Milan after a successful stint with Barcelona and was one of the founding fathers of traditional Catenaccio.
Herrera was one of the first managers in history to use aggressive wing-backs like the legendary Giacinto Facchetti to devastating effect in a 5-3-2 system. The revolutionary tactician was also a shrewd operator and was one of the first to use the San Siro’s ferocious atmosphere in his favour to create a near-unbreachable fortress.
Inter Milan won three Serie A titles and two European Cups during Helenio Herrera’s time at the club. The Nerazzurri had a lasting impact on Italian football and remains one of the most important footballing figures of the 20th century.