Winning the Champions League is widely regarded as the pinnacle of excellence in European club football. The competition draws together some of the biggest clubs in Europe and in such many of the greatest managers in the game. Since the 1992/93 season, when the European Cup transformed into the Champions League, no club has won twice a row, highlighting the extremely competitive nature of the elite competition.
Since the European Cup was born in 1956 a total of 38 managers have experienced success, winning a combined 57 titles. The legendary Bob Paisley remains the only manager to have won the competition three times, achieved while in charge of Liverpool during a five year period (1977, 1978, 1981). Meanwhile 17 managers have won the Champions League twice, with both Sir Alex Ferguson and Miguel Munoz also finishing as runners-up on two occasions.
Two managers have won the tournament with two different clubs, including Ottmar Hitzfeld, Ernst Happel and Jose Mourinho, while five men have won the competition as both a player and manager, with Pep Guardiola the most recent to achieve this. Italy hold the record for the total number of titles won by managers of each nationality, with 11, while Spain are second with nine, followed by England with 7 and then Germany with 6. It has been well documented that an English manager hasn’t won the competition since 1984 when Joe Fagen was victorious with Liverpool. This unflattering record will continue for at least another season as there is no English manager in the 2012/12 campaign.
Many of the greatest managers of all time have been unable to win the competition. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is desperate to get his hands on the trophy and since his arrival at the North London club he has lead them to 15 consecutive qualifications. He came bitterly close to winning in 2006 but his side lost 2-1 to Barcelona.
In relation to the Premier League, if a manager at a big club fails to make an impact in the Champions League then they suffer as a consequence and come under pressure. Just take Chelsea for example. The club’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich was well known in his desperation in winning the Champions League and was infamously ruthless, going through a staggering seven different managers until ironically winning the tournament with caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo at the helm.
The Champions League has also been a platform for managers to make their name in European football, just as Jose Mourinho did in the 2003/04 season when he spearheaded Porto’s incrediblejourney to the top of the European ladder. Brian Clough shot to international fame in 1979 when he lead unfancied Nottingham Forest to European Cup glory, which was made even more so impressive the following season when he repeated the feat.
Champions League Winning Managers Since 2000: