The Spanish Football Managers who Made History
The history of Spanish football tends to be a tale of superstar players from at home or around the world, gracing the great arenas of the iconic stadiums – scoring blistering goals, producing moments of genius etched into the memories of football fans young and old.
And rightly so – after all, that’s the real beauty of the beautiful game is it not?
But behind every great team, every great player – there’s a manager, imposing his style and crafting the skills at his disposal to the perfect blend for success. Here are some of the great Spanish football managers who, through their successful leadership have carved their own little marks upon the history of football in Spain….
Note: I know there have been some great ‘foreign’ managers over the years – this article focuses on those who hail from Spain.
He may not be a name that trips off the tongue of many UK football fans but take a look at Llorente’s career and you’ll find few with a more glittering record.
Appointed manager of Real Madrid part way through the 1954-55 season, success soon followed for Llorente and his team. Over the next three seasons his team would go on to dominate both Spanish football and across Europe in the newly formed European Cup. 2 League titles were accompanied by 2 European Cup victories in 1956 and 1957, throwing a couple of Copa Del Rey successes as well.
Leaving Real, Llorente took the helm at rivals Atletico Madrid in the early 60s, guiding the team to an impressive second place finish in 1961, before tasting further European success a year later with victory in the European Cup Winner’s Cup.
Soon, the call from the national team arrived, with Llorente appointed to take the Spanish team through the 1964 European Championship campaign. Club success followed him to the international arena as Spain claimed their first major title, crowned European Champions – a success that would remain solitary for another 44 years.
For many, Munoz remains one of the greatest managers in the history of Spanish football. The man credited as the guiding hand behind one of the greatest periods in Real Madrid history. Appointed head coach in 1959 Munoz tasted success early – helping the side to more European Cup glory.
With his glittering side of legendary talents, with Puskas and DiSteffano leading the way, Munoz would stay with Real for 14 remarkable seasons. Through modern thinking organisation to prop up the devastating genius of his forward line Real’s side of the era would achieve immortality in the football world both in Spain and abroad. 9 league titles, 3 Spanish Cups and 3 European Cups makes Munoz one of the most successful managers across all the major European leagues and a true legend of the sport.
Leaping forward a generation we have the young Pep. A stalwart in the midfield of Cruyff’s Dream Barcelona side of the late 80s and early 90s, Guardiola took what he learned into his coaching, earning his stripes with the B team before refining the amazing talents at his disposal – Messi, Iniesta, Eto’o et al – to create one of the greatest club sides of the modern era. In just four years, Pep moulded his team into a near unbeatable blend of high energy and peerless passing, his tika-taka style redefining the way football was played around the world.
3 League titles, 2 Champions League wins, 2 World Club Championships and the Copa Del Rey is a testament to the man’s still growing legend status.
Vincente Del Bosque
The current manager of the Spanish team, Del Bosque tends to dip below the radar when great manager names are bandied about. But make no mistake, this is a man whose abilities and track record can stand up to all kinds of scrutiny. Taking the helm at Real Madrid in 1999 (after a brief stint as caretaker in 1994) Del Bosque guided Real through the so-called Galactico era. Assembling a team of legendary names such as Zidane, Figo and Raul, Del Bosque’s Mardid won 2 League titles in 3 seasons. But it was in Europe that his name will be etched in Real folklore, as he led the team to 2 Champions League titles in 2000 and 2002.
Unbelievably Del Bosque was dismissed after the 2002 triumph, re-appearing on the Spanish scene when he replaced Luis Aragones as National Manager. With tough shoes to fill, Aragones had taken Spain to European Championship success, Del Bosque proved more than up to the task as his Spanish lions roared to success at the 2010 World Cup, before a stunning defence of their Euro crown with a memorable destruction of Italy in the 2012 final. It was a victory that meant Del Bosque had won the Champions League, European Championship and World Cup – the only manager ever to have done so.
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