Mauro Icardi Handed Number 7 Shirt at Inter as AC Milan & Juventus Plot Bids

​Inter have confirmed that striker Mauro Icardi will wear the number seven shirt next season, amid rumours the Argentine will be sold in the near future.

New manager Antonio Conte is believed to have decided that Icardi has no future at the club, with the likes of Juventus and Napoli thought to be incredibly keen on signing him.


In the latest event in this lengthy saga, ​Inter took to their ​official website to confirm that ​Icardi will wear the number seven shirt, with new signing ​Romelu Lukaku taking the number nine.

Prior to Lukaku’s arrival, Icardi had worn the number nine shirt ever since joining the club back in 2013, but the Belgian now appears set to lead the line for I Nerazzurri following his big-money move from ​Manchester United.

Despite all the speculation around his future, we are no closer to knowing Icardi’s next destination. The player is believed to be keen to remain in Milan, prompting rumours that cross-town rivals ​AC Milan could try sign him.

Mauro Emanuel Icardi

Both ​Il Giornale and Radio 24 journalist Paolo Condo (via ​Pianeta Milan) have claimed that Milan could try test their luck with a bid for Icardi, with Condo adding that I Rossoneri might have a great chance of completing a deal because of his desire to stay in the city.

Inter are thought to be eager to sell and, given they have received no satisfactory offers from any other clubs, they might be forced to do business with their rivals.

However, it is believed that ​Juventus are leading the race for his signature. Having missed out on Lukaku, they remain on the lookout for a new striker, and La Gazzetta dello Sport (via ​Sempre Inter) state that the Serie A champions are ready to sell five players to finance a move for Icardi.

Maurizio Sarri

Daniele Rugani, Mario Mandzukic, ​Emre Can, Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi are all for sale, although Juventus’ won’t need to sell all five in order to afford a move for the Inter man.

Should Icardi leave the city of Milan, it is believed that Juventus would be his preferred move, but it remains to be seen whether they will be able to submit an acceptable bid.

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The Footballers With the Best Conversion Rate Since the 2012/13 Season

It’s hard to put into words just how important having a good striker is. A prolific marksman can be the difference between success and failure, and we have seen so many top teams fail because they were missing an elite striker.

​The best forwards are those who can score plenty of goals from minimal opportunities – those who can fire their team to glory with just one chance.

Now, ​Opta have compiled a list of the most reliable strikers from Europe’s top five leagues since the 2012/13 season, ranking their goalscoring pedigree in both league and European competition (but ignoring penalties), and new Monaco signing Wissam Ben Yedder sits atop the standings.

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During his time with both Toulouse and Sevilla, Ben Yedder racked up an impressive 106 goals from just 538 shots in that time period, so 19.7% of his efforts managed to find the back of the net.

That ratio sees him finish ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s ​Edinson Cavani, whose record of 169 goals from 884 shots earns him a conversion rate of 19.1%. ​Arsenal’s ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang managed to finish on the same percentage, having scored 165 of his 866 shots.

​Inter’s ​Mauro Icardi came in fourth, having scored 109 goals from just 577 shots to finish with a rate of 18.9%. Players of that pedigree don’t hit the market too often, so it’s easy to see why so many sides are pursuing the Argentine this summer.

Mauro Icardi

Next up is ​Diego Costa of ​Atletico Madrid, who scored goals at a rate of 18.7%. The Spaniard finished level with ​Lionel Messi, who actually netted the most goals out of anyone on the list. His 275 goals is well ahead of the rest, but the fact it took him 1473 shots means he falls to sixth on the list.

​Alexandre Lacazette (18.6%), ​Karim Benzema (18.3%), ​Luis Suarez (18.1%) and Robert Lewandowski (17.2%) round out the top ten, meaning there is no place for ​Juventus star ​Cristiano Ronaldo.

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The Portuguese international actually finished 20th on the list. Ronaldo racked up 1880 shots – far more than anyone else – but his return of 254 goals means he finished with a conversion rate of 13.5%.

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Inter vs Lecce Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Buy Tickets & Kick Off Time

​The opening round of fixtures for the 2019/20 Serie A season ends on Monday evening as Inter welcome new boys Lecce to San Siro.

Successive promotions saw the visitors make a meteoric rise form the third-tier to the top-flight, taking them from sub-1,000 crowds to nights such as this in Milan in the space of two years. Nevertheless, they will need to be impeccable to avoid their dream swiftly becoming a nightmare against a side competing in the Champions League this campaign.

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The ​Nerazzurri have invested heavily over the summer, with ​Manchester United’s out-of-sorts forward Alexis Sanchez potentially adding to Antonio Conte’s attacking options, though a deal is ​now in doubt.

Their new head coach has a strong reputation in Italy, having collected a hat-trick of Scudetti during his time as ​Juventus boss and he is expected to iron out a number of faults that hindered Inter last term.

Here’s our preview of the encounter.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Monday 26 August​
What Time Is Kick Off? ​19:45 (BST)
Where Is it Played? ​San Siro
TV Channel/Live Stream? ​Premier Sports 1
Referee? Daniele Orsato​

Where to Buy Tickets

Tickets for the game are, as ever, available on both team’s official club websites, though membership is required in order to purchase. In terms of resale, both teams provide the option to make season tickets available for others to use, if a supporter is unable to attend the game themselves.


Team News

Diego Godin has been brought in on a free transfer following the end of his contract with ​Atletico Madrid, but the Uruguayan will have to wait to make his debut due to an issue with his left thigh.

However, fellow summer arrival Romelu Lukaku is in line for a first competitive appearance, with the former Red Devils striker joining for a club record £73m in early August.

The Nerazzurri also purchased a couple of wingers in Valentino Lazaro and Matteo Politano. The latter cost the side £18m after recording six goals and eight assists in the league for Sassuolo last year.


Lazaro was similarly productive in the ​Bundesliga as Hertha Berlin secured a mid-table finish, the Austrian switching to Italy for £20m.

Conte has no injuries concerns aside from Godin, whilst counterpart Fabio Liverani is without two members of his first-team squad.

Defensive pairing Biagio Meccariello and Riccardo Fiamozzi are both out for at least a month with a knee problem and herniated disc, respectively.


Potential Lineups

Inter Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Barella, Brozovic, Sensi, Dalbert; Esposito, Lukaku.
Lecce ​Gabriel; Riccardi, Lucioni, Majer, Dell’Orco, Rispoli; Tachtsidis, Tabanelli, Farias; Faclo, Lapadula.

Head to Head Record

This will be the 19th meeting between the two teams and the first since January 2012. Lecce won that encounter, taking them to a total of three victories over the 18-time ​Serie A champions.

Inter had beaten them 4-1 just two months prior, making it an eight-game unbeaten streak versus the minnows. The Milan club have taken all three points on 12 occasions, with two draws completing the record. 

Inter Milan's Argentine forward Milito f

Only once in history have Lecce left the San Siro with a win. That game took place in late 2000, the underdogs protecting a 1-0 lead as they overcame a star-studded lineup including Andrea Pirlo, Laurent Blanc and Robbie Keane.


Recent Form

Should they be involved in any penalty-shootouts later in the campaign, Conte’s recruits will have the edge over their opponents, having taken part in four of them in pre-season.

Pre-season games with Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, ​Tottenham Hotspur and Valencia all finished 1-1 and therefore went to the lottery that is penalties.

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The Bianconeri were the only side to get the better of the Nerazzurri from the spot, though Conte will be hoping Lukaku adds firepower and – more importantly – goals up top after the side struggled to take their chances in their preparatory fixtures.

Lecce spent their entire pre-season in Italy, testing themselves against several Serie B and C sides. They secured a number of encouraging victories, with a 4-1 triumph over Frosinone of particular interest given the latter’s relegation from the top-flight last year.

Here’s a look at the duo’s last five results:

Inter Lecce
​Manchester United 1-0 Inter (20/7) ​Calcio Padova 2-1 Lecce (01/5)
​Juventus 1-1 Inter *(4-3) (24/7) ​Lecce 2-1 Spezia (11/5)
​Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Inter *(5-6) (27/7) ​Lecce 6-0 Virtus Don Bosco (25/7)
​Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Inter *(3-4) (04/8) ​Lecce 4-1 Frosinone (27/7)
​Valencia 1-1 Inter *(6-7) (10/8) ​Lecce 4-0 Salernitana (18/8)

Prediction

They may have been in free-scoring form over the summer, but Lecce would do well to find a way past a well-drilled Inter backline.

Conte has made them fierce in defence, whilst Lukaku’s arrival should be of enormous benefit at the other end of the pitch.

SOCCER UEFA QUALIF BELGIUM VS SCOTLAND

The Belgian garnered a reputation as a flat-track bully in the ​Premier League, given his record against supposedly lesser teams, so don’t be surprised to see him enjoy his evening versus the newly-promoted southerners. 

The slower pace of football in Serie A plays right into his hands; a goal-scoring debut is a definite possibility.

Prediction: Inter 2-0 Lecce

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Antonio Conte Takes Further Legal Action Against Chelsea Despite £9m Compensation

Inter manager Antonio Conte is taking further legal action against Chelsea, despite receiving £9m in compensation following a Premier League helmed private manager’s tribunal back in April. 

Conte was awarded that sum when it was ruled that he was entitled to the £9m he was set to earn over the remainder of his contract, having failed to agree on a severance package in the aftermath of his dismissal, which occurred on July 13th, 2018.

Antonio Conte

However, according to a report from the Times, the Italian is not done with his litigation yet, and last Friday he began further proceedings against the club, this time in the form of a statutory claim against the club at an Employment Tribunal, with a preliminary hearing held at Central London Employment Tribunal. 

While the details of the claim are as of yet unknown, these cases often revolved around claims of ‘unfair dismissal or discrimination’. 

Thankfully, while Premier League tribunals are kept under wraps, such proceedings as this are made completely public following their completion. One source told the Times that this could shed some light on the reasons behind this effort, positing that the Italian is likely seeking to embarrass the Blues in a public forum. 

Indeed, this line of thinking is bolstered by the fact that, given the settings, the maximum amount of money he stands to gain from any victory sits at around £60,000, a far cry from the £9m he was given earlier this year.

Conte was absent from last Friday’s hearing, choosing instead to concentrate on the task he has in Milan ahead of the start of the 2019/20 Serie A season. For their part, Chelsea have the right to appeal against any verdict reached by the tribunal.

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Swap Deals: Assessing 6 of the Biggest Player Trades in the History of Football

​Don’t ask why, but for some reason Barcelona are willing to do whatever it takes to bring Neymar back to the Nou Camp.

Despite frantic efforts from the Catalans to seal the Brazilian’s return before the European transfer window closes on 31 August, he remains a Paris Saint-Germain player, but there have been no signs of his presence in the French club’s first few matches of the 2019/20 season.

​La Blaugrana and the Parisians have both rejected each other’s proposals for the sale of Neymar, with the latter ​holding out for a swap deal involving Ousmane Dembele and Nelson Semedo, plus €100m.

It seems Ernesto Valverde is unlikely to land his man unless the board agree to a trade that includes some of their finest talent. Should that occur, it would no doubt be the biggest deal of its kind in the history of the sport, though ​Juventus are looking to hijack Barça’s attempts to sign the forward.

Here’s a look at six other high-profile swaps and an assessment of which team came off better in the long run.


William Gallas for Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole

William Gallas was a good servant for ​Arsenal, but the centre-back was no way near achieving the levels of success enjoyed by Ashley Cole at Stamford Bridge following their switch in 2006.

​Chelsea acquired arguably the world’s greatest left-back for the modest price of £5m and a defender who was threatening to score own-goals; it should be pretty easy to see which club got the worse end of the stick here.

Cole was an integral part of a side that won four FA Cups, the 2013 Europa League, one League Cup and a ​Champions League title, whilst also ending ​Manchester United’s run of three successive top-flight triumphs. 

In comparison, Gallas’ finest achievement in north London was finishing third…

Winner: Chelsea


Fabian Carini for Fabio Cannavaro

Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro (C) cel

Fabian Carini spent his time at Juventus as understudy to Gianluigi Buffon, the Uruguayan failing to make an appearance for the Bianconeri in ​Serie A before being shipped out on loan to Standard Liege for two years.

Nevertheless, Inter viewed him as equal in value to Fabio Cannavaro, the Nerazzurri nonchalantly agreeing to a trade. The latter went on to play in all bar two of Juve’s league fixtures in the two seasons that followed, with the club collecting the Scudetto in both.

The Calciopoli scandal saw the Old Lady stripped of both titles and relegated to Serie B – Cannavaro deciding to leave as a result – but that wouldn’t stop Cannavaro captaining Italy to victory at the 2006 World Cup.

Winner: Juventus


Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Samuel Eto’o

Inter Milan's Cameroonian forward Samuel

There can be zero doubts that Inter were the main beneficiaries of this controversial transfer in 2009 after they sent Barcelona tumbling out of the Champions League in Samuel Eto’o’s first campaign at the San Siro.

The Cameroonian didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet in either leg of their semi final encounter, but that is also true of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Fortunately for Eto’o, he ended the season as ruler of Europe, while the Swede ended it in a fit of rage.

Zlatan was unable to cope with the Lionel Messi love-in at the Nou Camp – as well as Pep Guardiola’s infamous intensity – and left Catalonia after just 13 months. It’s ludicrous that Barcelona let go of a first-rate finisher and £59m for a year of tantrums and poor form from Ibrahimovic.

Winner: Inter


David Luiz for Nemanja Matic

David Luiz,Nemanja Matic

On the face of it, this was terrible business from Roman Abramovich. He forked out £20m to bring in David Luiz during the winter of 2011, with Nemanja Matic also joining Benfica to sweeten the deal.

Then again, Luiz was in the starting lineup for what remains the Blues’ finest hour: their penalty-shootout victory over ​Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final. The defender was likewise selected to play against – of all teams – Benfica as they won the Europa League the following season.

So, it seems the Portuguese outfit fared better in terms of financial rewards, whilst Chelsea enjoyed on-field glory. They both have reasons to be cheerful!

Winner: Everyone


Ricardo Quaresma for Deco

Deco

Ricardo Quaresma is the king of flattering to deceive. A virtuoso talent who never fulfilled his potential, the forward will likely look back on his career and wonder what could have been.

Eager to be rid of him after a number of altercations, Barça coach Frank Rijkaard must have been counting his lucky starts when Porto bid €15m and the highly-rated Deco to bring him to the Estádio do Dragão in 2004.

During Quaresma’s troublesome time in Spain, his counterpart was busy earning himself a continental crown with Jose Mourinho. Deco would earn another Champions League medal with La Blaugrana, amongst numerous other honours. 

The less said about his countryman’s career back in Portugal, the better.

Winner: Barcelona


Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Alexis Sanchez

Henrikh Mkhitaryan,Alexis Sanchez

In the words of President Donald J. Trump: this has been the worst trade deal in the history of trade deals, maybe ever.

Alexis Sanchez rakes in at least £350,000-a-week at Old Trafford, though that figure is normally bolstered by a further £150,000 in add-ons. What does he do to command such an astronomical wage? I…um…I don’t actually know.

The Chilean has an absolutely dire strike-rate of one goal every nine matches for United, a ratio that is eclipsed by make-weight Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who scores once in every six. More to the point, the Armenian actually tries, something which cannot really be said of Sanchez.

It’s a tragedy and a comedy wrapped into one big tale of decline, disgrace and dumb dealings. The Red Devils tried so desperately to get one up on neighbours ​Manchester City and they’ve only succeeded in making themselves a laughing stock.

Loser: Manchester United


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5 Players Who Have Been Basically Impossible to Sell This Summer

​There’s been transfer sagas galore this summer, but not all of them have ended in success. For every Harry Maguire, Tanguy Ndombele or Antoine Griezmann there has been a litany of players that have been nigh-on impossible for clubs to sell.

Their wage demands could be astronomical, they might not fancy relocating or to put it plainly, they just might not be good enough to attract interest from anyone else.

Whatever reasons lie behind a club’s inability to sell, there’s been plenty of examples of players who have been painfully difficult to move on this summer.


Mesut Ozil 

Mesut Ozil

​It seems that every transfer rumour linking a player with Arsenal this summer has been suffixed with a disclaimer, stating that: “the move is unlikely due to the draining effect of Mesut Ozil’s wages on the club’s transfer budget” – or something similar. 

I do feel some sympathy for ​Ozil in this regard. He simply accepted a very good deal, and Arsenal fans were certainly not complaining at the time. 

However, the cost of keeping the German international at the club, combined with some gutless performances, has now almost universally convinced the supporters, and even his manager Unai Emery, that the midfielder needs to be moved on.

Despite this, Ozil has proved to be impossible to shift. Links to ​various Turkish clubs, as well as a ​possible move to D.C United, have never been close to being realised and with his contract running until 2021, the World Cup winner could stick around in north London for a long time yet.


Gareth Bale

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​As soon as Zinedine Zidane reemerged at the Santiago Bernabéu, Gareth Bale must have known his days were numbered. 

The 30-year-old’s agent summed up the pair’s relationship perfectly in July, stating: “It’s simple: Zidane doesn’t like Gareth. There is no relationship between them, there never has been.”

Manchester United, Liverpool and a host of other top European clubs were linked with a move for Bale, but his astronomical wages seemed to put a lot of them off…for obvious reasons. 

He hoped to have found footballing salvation, in the form of mega-rich Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning, however even this move ​would eventually break down, due to ​Real Madrid’s insistence that they pay a transfer fee for the Welshman. Bale simply cannot catch a break.


Shkodran Mustafi

Shkodran Mustafi

​Arsenal fans dislike for Shkodran Mustafi borders on the ridiculous. According to some Gunners’ supporters, the error-prone German is responsible for global warming, rush hour traffic and a everything bad that’s ever happened to them. 

Unai Emery is also not the centre-back’s biggest admirer, with it recently emerging that he has tried to sell the German in ​each of his three transfer windows as Arsenal manager so far.

The trend of Emery failing in his attempts to move Mustafi on look set to continue this summer, with speculation linking him to Monaco and Valencia going quiet of late. 

Emery’s only hope is that Roma proceed with a loan move for the defender, but with a deal that runs until 2021, there’s nothing stopping Mustafi returning after the loan move is up. Oh, the horror!


Adrien Silva

Adrien Silva

​One that may have slipped under your radar this summer is ​Leicester City’s struggles to get Adrien Silva off of their wage bill. Signed to much fanfare in January 2018, after paperwork for a move the previous summer was submitted 14 seconds late, Silva has achieved very little since arriving in the east Midlands.

Struggling to break into the first team, he spent the second half of last season on loan at Monaco, in a deal that brought Youri Tielemans to the King Power Stadium. 

When Tielemans signed permanently in the summer, it was assumed to Silva would be the likely replacement for him at the Stade Louis II. However, the deal panned out. 

Brendan Rodgers recently came out publicly encouraging Silva to leave, but even this has failed to stir up much interest in the Portuguese international. The midfielder’s first team prospects are likely to be limited this season and he will be hoping that speculation linking him with a move to Rennes or ​AC Milan has some substance.


Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi

​Since arriving at the club, Antonio Conte has made it very, very clear that Mauro Icardi is not part of his plans. An infamously disruptive personality in the dressing room, the striker would no doubt respond negatively to Conte’s regimented training regime. 

This​ transfer saga has been rumbling for all summer long and, much to his manager’s dismay, the likelihood of the Argentine staying at San Siro is increasing by the day.

​Juventus, ​Napoli, Roma and Monaco have all been linked with a move for Icardi in recent times, but his final destination remains a mystery. 

If he does end of staying at ​Inter, Conte will surely try and heal the rift between the club and Icardi, as attackers of his ability are not abundant commodities in football. 


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Mauro Icardi: The Contenders to Sign Him & Where He Might End Up

​Ever since Antonio Conte arrived at Inter, it has been abundantly clear that Mauro Icardi has no future at the club.

However, as we often see with deals of this magnitude, signing him is easier said than done. With the delay in negotiations, a number of sides have been given the chance to involve themselves, since strikers of Icardi’s pedigree don’t hit the market all too often.

So, when all is said and done, where will he end up? Let’s take a look.


Inter

Mauro Icardi

Could ​Icardi actually remain with ​Inter? 

It seems like that’s what the Argentine actually wants to do. He took to ​Instagram to reveal that he is currently in the process of building a new house in Milan, describing the city as ‘home’. Does that seem like the move of a man who plans on leaving?

Unfortunately for Icardi, it looks like Conte wants rid of him as soon as possible. Once you cross the boss, there’s not usually any coming back.

Likelihood rating: 1/10


AC Milan

UC Sampdoria v Juventus - Serie A

If remaining in Milan is key for Icardi, then a move to cross-town rivals ​AC Milan might be the only option.

A recent report from ​Il Giornale suggests that the Rossoneri are ready to take advantage of his wish to remain in the city by trying to strike a deal for Icardi. However, a deal would certainly not be easy.

Firstly, Icardi would have to be prepared to deal with the fan uproar if he made the move, and Inter would have to be willing to strengthen their fiercest rival. Don’t say never, but surely this would have to be the last resort for Inter.

Likelihood rating: 3/10


Monaco

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With Icardi’s future up in the air, Monaco were touted as a potential landing spot for the controversial Argentine.

The Ligue 1 side are looking to bounce back from an utterly shambolic season, and a move for Icardi would certainly help their cause. Unfortunately, his wife and agent, Wanda Nara, recently insisted that ​Icardi won’t be going to Monaco. Well then.

It seems Monaco know that, because they have brought in ​Leicester City’s Islam Slimani on loan. A move for Icardi could still resurface if the right offer arrives, but Monaco fans shouldn’t get their hopes up.

Likelihood rating: 3/10


Roma

Gianluca Mancini

Now we’re onto the serious contenders. With fears that 33-year-old Edin Dzeko can’t go on forever, it is thought that Roma are incredibly keen on recruiting Icardi.

They may have tied Dzeko down to a new contract, but that doesn’t mean their pursuit is over. Roma have been trying to thrash out a deal all summer, but Inter’s asking price is thought to have proven problematic.

As the window nears its end, Inter may be forced to accept a lower bid for their striker, but that’s only if another side doesn’t come in with an acceptable offer beforehand.

Likelihood rating: 6/10​


Napoli

Carlo Ancelotti

​Like Roma, ​Napoli are incredibly keen on Icardi, who has proven to be one of the ​Serie A’s most reliable marksman. In their pursuit of the Scudetto, someone like him could be the missing link.

It seems like club president Aurelio De Laurentiis is well aware of that and is prepared to spend big on Icardi to partner him with ​Dries Mertens in attack – not least because it would stop Icardi from joining ​Juventus.

Unfortunately for Napoli, it looks like Icardi has his heart set on a move to Turin. However, if an offer from Juventus doesn’t arrive, the Partenopei would likely be in pole position.

Likelihood rating: 7/10


Juventus

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It’s no secret that Icardi is keen on moving to the league champions, and the feeling appears mutual as Juventus have long been interested in acquiring the Argentine. Those two factors make the Allianz Stadium a likely destination for Icardi.

Having missed out on ​Lukaku, who took Icardi’s place at Inter, the 26-year-old looks to be their only real option, and Juventus don’t often take no for an answer when it comes to transfers.

The only thing which might scupper this move is Inter’s insistence that Icardi will never play for Juventus. There’s even talk of an ‘​anti-Juventus alliance’ being formed by a number of Serie A sides to prevent that from happening, but Inter may ultimately have no choice but to do business with Italy’s dominant force.

Likelihood rating: 9/10 


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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Admits Alexis Sanchez Could Leave Man Utd Amid Inter Interest

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Alexis Sanchez could leave the club this summer following his side’s 1-1 draw with Wolves on Monday night.

Sanchez is expected to join Inter following a disastrous move from Arsenal to Old Trafford, the Chilean managing just five goals in 45 appearances for the Red Devils, with a medical with the Serie A club ​slated for Tuesday.

​Now, speaking after Anthony Martial’s thumping finish and Ruben Neves’ stunner ensured United left Molineux with a point, Solskjaer has revealed ​Sanchez could leave before the window closes for good throughout Europe.

He said: “Well, there’s still a couple of weeks left of the transfer window and there is a chance…some clubs have shown interest in Alexis, so we’ll see what happens. Can’t update you more than that.”

Solskjaer’s declaration comes just ​days after the former striker said he still counts on Sanchez as part of his squad, backing the former Barcelona ace to come good at the club.

Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez wasn’t involved in United’s Monday night clash with Wolves as ​United were pegged back by Nuno Espirito Santo’s side. Martial’s cool finish had given the visitors the lead, but Neves’ stunning curler ensured the points were shared.

​Paul Pogba also saw a penalty saved by Rui Patricio, prompting some social media reaction as to whether Marcus Rashford – who scored a spot kick against Chelsea last week – should’ve taken it instead. But that’s besides the point, as United have bigger problems than players missing penalties. No, really, they do. Scott knows, right Scott?

Cheers mate.​​


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Alexis Sanchez’s Inter Earnings Revealed as Man Utd Prepare to Subsidise Huge Wages

Inter are expected to pay Alexis Sanchez just €4m during his soon-to-be confirmed loan spell, with Manchester United set to subsidise the majority of his earnings.

A switch to the Nerazzurri looks a near certainty after Sanchez was left out of United’s squad to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confessing after the game that ​the Chilean could be on his way out.

Alexis Sanchez

​His extraordinary wages at ​United were thought to be a huge problem for ​Inter so, according to ​Alfredo Pedulla, the Red Devils have agreed to pay €8m of the €12m ​Sanchez will be owed between September and the end of the season.

Inter will not be asked to pay any loan fee and will only need to pay €4m in wages, but Pedulla claims United accepted that because the ​Serie A side want to sign Sanchez permanently at the end of the season for between €12m and €15m.

Should they choose to do so, Inter would be prepared to offer Sanchez a base salary of €4m, which could rise to €6.5m based on performance-related bonuses.

That’s a significant reduction on the €14m-a-year Sanchez earns at Old Trafford, but it is a clear indication of his desire to bring his United nightmare to an end.

The Serie A side are now simply waiting for United to give the move the green light, which is not expected to take much longer, so Sanchez could arrive in Milan as early as Tuesday night to finalise the move.

Should he make the expected switch to Italy, it would bring an end to Sanchez’s torrid time in Manchester. 

Alexis Sanchez

Since making the switch from ​Arsenal back in 2018, the Chilean has managed just five goals in 45 appearances. He has looked nothing like the winger who starred for Arsenal before the move, and his huge wages have often left fans expecting far more from him.

With Solskjaer putting his faith in the likes of ​Anthony Martial, Daniel James and ​Marcus Rashford, it appears that there is no place for Sanchez at Old Trafford anymore, so the Chilean will soon join up with former United teammate ​Romelu Lukaku in Italy.

Let’

The 50 Greatest Football Managers of All Time

For ten weeks, we at 90min ranked the top 50 greatest managers of all time. 

In those weeks, we at 90min published 100 articles on these managers, wrote the guts of 100,000,000,000 words (roughly) on these managers, and told some of the most incredible stories in the beautiful game’s history. 

So now, here is a rather long list detailing every single one of these managers’ storied careers. 


50) Marcelo Bielsa

Marcelo Bielsa

By Ben Carter

Taking influence from Rinus Michels’ totaalvoetbal, as well as Argentine pioneers César Luis Menotti and Carlos Bilardo, Marcelo Bielsa is still to this day one of the most well-renowned managers in football history.

That’s come not only as a result of his tactics on the pitch, but Bielsa’s antics off it too. Legend has it he once pulled a grenade out and threatened to pull the pin when he was confronted by a group of Newell’s Old Boys ultras at his house.

Marcelo Bielsa: El Loco’s Journey From Argentina to Footballing Immortality in Europe

Marcelo Bielsa: The Argentina Manager’s All-Time Best XI


49) Vic Buckingham

Vic Buckingham

By Jack Spedding

The greatest manager you’ve probably never heard of. The Londoner was a true pioneer of total football and a key factor in a rise of the great Johan Cruyff.

Buckingham is renowned as lauded as a hero on the continent, but his ideologies came too early for a stubborn English fan base who thought it was their way or the highway.

Vic Buckingham: How an Englishman Discovered Johan Cruyff & Pioneered Total Football

Vic Buckingham: The English Manager’s All-Time Best XI


48) Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri

By Toby Cudworth

One of the most charismatic managers in the history of the game, Claudio Ranieri will forever be remembered as the man who achieved the impossible with Leicester. Favourite for relegation going into the 2015/16 season, a change of emphasis, mood and direction at the club, led by Ranieri, soon transformed the Foxes into fairytale title contenders as the Premier League’s big boys endured a dramatic fall from grace. 

Once regarded as a loveable tinkerman, Ranieri’s title win changed the landscape of English football forever – making the Italian one of the greatest managers of all time.

Claudio Ranieri: A Ridiculed Tinkerman Who Masterminded One of Football’s Greatest Ever Achievements

Claudio Ranieri: The Tinkerman’s All-Time Best XI


47) Bill Nicholson

Bill Nicholson

By Jude Summerfield

Nicholson was responsible for Tottenham having any kind of golden age. His immense man-management played a major role in transforming Spurs from a team languishing sixth from the bottom in the First Division into title winners less than three years later. Winning eight major trophies in his 16-year managerial spell, including a double in 1960/61, Nicholson is rightly heralded as ‘Mr Tottenham’, his soul and ethos still prevalent at the club this day.

Bill Nicholson: Mr Tottenham Hotspur, the First Double Winning Manager of the 20th Century

Bill Nicholson: The Tottenham Legend’s All-Time Best XI


46) Sven-Goran Eriksson

Bari v Lazio X

By Chris Deeley

Do you start with Lazio, and the impossible Scudetto? With his England spell – the most successful of the 21st century until Gareth Southgate turned up with his waistcoat and winning smile? With seven trophies in three and a half years in Italy? 

No. You start; you must start, you’re contractually obliged to start, with the shagging. Whatever it was about the Swede – charm, smooth lines, a whopper whose legend has never been told – his greatest cultural impact will remain his astonishing way with women. 

The man looked like a nerdy Mr Burns. His life should’ve been impossible…and yet.

Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Scudetto Winning Shagger Who Never Solved the Lampard-Gerrard Conundrum

Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Former Lazio Manager’s All Time Best XI


45) Sir Alf Ramsey

Alf Ramsey

By Wilf Dutton

By those he knew best, Sir Alf Ramsey was regularly described as somewhere between an ‘enigma’ and a ‘lone wolf’, a fact he was publicly proud of. “I should be hard difficult to get to know,” he said in an ESPN documentary. Maybe so. But he was also known, both in his playing and coaching career, as ‘The General’.

So, enigmatic and a wholehearted leader of men – check. But he was also a pioneering tactician, with his ‘Wingless Wonders’, and an ardent disciplinarian, who emitted pure professionalism with every breath. That sounds about right for the only English manager ever to lift the World Cup, right?

Sir Alf Ramsey: The Man Behind the ‘Wingless Wonders’ & England’s Sole World Cup Triumph

Sir Alf Ramsey: The World Cup Winer’s All Time Best XI


44) Antonio Conte

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By Toby Cudworth

Winner of domestic league titles in both Italy and England, there is no doubting the credentials of current Inter manager Antonio Conte. The former heartbeat of Italy’s midfield has worked with some of the best players to grace the modern game, but his success owes much to his reinventing of the 3-5-2 wheel. 

Charged with reviving Juventus’ fortunes after the Calciopoli scandal, Conte led La Vecchia Signora to three consecutive Serie A titles – before impressing his philosophy upon an arguably average Chelsea side, winning the Premier League in his first year in charge.

Antonio Conte: An Astute Tactician Whose Perfectionist Philosophy Reinvented the 3-5-2 Wheel

Antonio Conte: The Fiery Italian’s All-Time Best XI


43) Sir Kenny Dalglish

FBL-ENG-LCUP-BURTON-LIVERPOOL

By Ed Alexander

King Kenny will forever rule the hearts of Liverpool supporters. Sure, his record of 169 goals in 502 appearances as the Reds’ go-to forward made him a beloved figure at Anfield, as did his 13 years of loyal service. And yes, the three First Division titles – plus a trio of domestic cups – that he delivered whilst coaching the side were mightily well received amongst fans. 

However, it was his stoic, brave, inspiring leadership in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster that make Dalglish a genuine legend on Merseyside. The Scot also enjoyed success at Blackburn Rovers and Celtic – via an ill-fated stint at Newcastle United – but Anfield is undoubtedly his spiritual home.

Kenny Dalglish: The Beacon of Light in Liverpool’s Darkest Hour

Kenny Dalglish: The King of Anfield’s All-Time Best XI


42) Massimiliano Allegri

Massimiliano Allegri

By Jude Summerfield

Antonio Conte laid the foundations for Massimiliano Allegri, but the levels he took Juventus to during his five-year spell in Turin could not have been predicted prior to his arrival. However, success at AC Milan did hint at greater triumphs down the line, and Allegri realised that with an incredible five Serie A titles in a row. 

The Champions League proved illusive, but the Italian giants are in immaculate shape to win Europe’s most coveted club competition sooner rather than later thanks to Allegri.

Massimiliano Allegri: The Masterful Tactician Who Won Serie A Five Times in a Row

Massimiliano Allegri: The Six-Time Serie A Winner’s All-Time Best XI


41) Sir Bobby Robson

Bobby Robson, Manager of Barcelona

By Will Imbo

Sir Bobby Robson is arguably the most revered and fondly remembered manager in English football history. He came within a whisker of winning the World Cup with England in 1990, and enjoyed incredible success with the likes of Ipswich Town, Barcelona and Porto. But that’s not the reason he’s so highly regarded.

For Robson was also so much more than a football manager. He was a warm and kind soul, a mentor, an entertainer, a trailblazer, a fighter – a legend. Few people have ever had the impact he made on so many people in the world of sports, nor the success he enjoyed at so many different clubs in numerous countries.

Make no mistake – we will never see the likes of Sir Bobby Robson again.

Sir Bobby Robson: A Footballing Colossus Whose Fighting Spirit Ensured an Immortal Legacy

Sir Bobby Robson: The Legendary Fighter’s All-Time Best XI


40) Luis Aragones

Spanish national football team coach Lui

By Chris Deeley

The most important manager in the history of the Spanish national team and one of Atleti’s all-time greats, the 30+ year gap between Aragones’ first major title and his last speak of a coach who was able to tweak and reinvent himself with an innate tactical understanding. He made Fernando Torres into Fernando Torres.

He saw David Villa and helped craft him into Spain’s greatest ever striker. He was also, notably, a bit racist. His comments about Thierry Henry early in his Spain tenure went down in history – and if it feels gratuitous to mention it in every profile of him? Well, we wouldn’t have to if he hadn’t said racist things.

Luis Aragones: Spain’s Most Important Manager, the Atleti Rock and the Modern Father of Tiki-Taka

Luis Aragones: Spain’s Most Important Manager’s All-Time Best XI


39) Herbert Chapman

Herbert Chapman,Mr Foster

By Ross Kennerley

Naturally, throughout the development of a sport, there will be figures whose roles in its progression will be classed a true innovators. However, when the topic of ‘innovators’ is mentioned, it would be a crime to have Herbert Chapman’s name not in the discussions. His methods and tactics were revolutionary, and not only did he outsmart the rest of English football with the creation of his own ‘W-M’ formation, he led two sides to unparalleled success. 

Firstly with Huddersfield and then with a mid-table Arsenal, Chapman rewrote the handbook on football management. Implementing previously unseen training techniques and taking on more responsibility than those before him, he set the astronomically high benchmark for what a professional coach in England needed to be.

Herbert Chapman: One of Football’s Great Innovators & Mastermind Behind the ‘W-M’ Formation

Herbert Chapman: The Yorkshire Tactician’s All-Time Best XI


38) Carlos Alberto Parreira

Carlos Alberto Parreira

By Tom Gott

No manager has ever understood international football quite like Carlos Alberto Parreira, and his record six appearances at the World Cup proves it. The motivational Brazilian often took on near-impossible jobs, in an attempt to bring the world together over a mutual love of football.

Leading the likes of South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates was never going to be easy, but Parreira was solely responsible for some of the greatest moments in the sporting history of each nation.

However, the crowning moment of his career came in charge of Brazil, as Parreira led the Selecao to glory in the 1994 World Cup.

Carlos Alberto Parreira: The International Specialist Who Never Shied Away From a Challenge

Carlos Alberto Parreira: The World Cup Hero’s All-Time Best XI


37) Franz Beckenbauer

WORLD CUP-1990-ARGENTINA-WEST GERMANY

By Robbie Copeland

Der Kaiser is best remembered for his glittering playing career, but he achieved more in his 12-year management spell than most will in a lifetime. His larger than life personality and organised style drilled Germany into becoming World Cup winners in 1990 and he would later lead Bayern Munich to domestic and European glory.

Franz Beckenbauer: The German Giant Whose Playing Career Overshadowed His Managerial Genius

Franz Beckenbauer: Der Kaiser’s All-Time Best XI


36) Viktor Maslov

By Tal Robinson 

Viktor Maslov’s name has become one of the lesser known footnotes of football history, however his brilliance can still be seen to this day. The 4-4-2 formation that he pioneered is still in wide use, and his pressing tactics continue to shine in the best teams around the world. Maslov was one of the fathers of modern tactical thinking, and his influence should be celebrated and known by every football fan who loves the game.

Viktor Maslov: Soviet Pioneer of the 4-4-2 & the Innovator of Pressing

Viktor Maslov: Dedushka’s All-Time Best XI


35) Rafael Benitez

FBL-ASIA-CHN-DALIAN-YIFANG-HENAN-JIANYE

By Toby Cudworth

There are few managers over the past 35 years who have been able to break Barcelona and Real Madrid’s stranglehold of La Liga. Radomir Antic, Diego Simeone and Javier Irureta each achieved the feat once, but only one man has had the guile, wisdom and tactical knowledge to defeat Spain’s heavyweight duo twice in that time – the grossly underappreciated Rafa Benitez. 

A future Champions League winner for Liverpool, the Spaniard is famous for his methodical and pragmatic approach to management, as well as the ability to raise the games of all those who play under his stewardship.

Rafa Benitez: The Conquerer of La Liga Who Masterminded That Comeback in Istanbul

Rafa Benitez: The Likeable Spaniard’s All-Time Best XI


34) Zinedine Zidane

TOPSHOT-FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-REAL MADRID

By Jamie Clarke

Zidane has had comfortably the shortest career to date of any manager on the list and that is a testament to the impact he has made on the game in such a short spell. Under Zizou in 2017, Real Madrid became the first club to retain the Champions League in 27 years. 

One year later, the Frenchman became the first manager *ever* to win three consecutive European Cups with the same club – a feat we may never see repeated again. Now back at the club with whom he has had such success, Zidane will hope to add to his legend.

Zinedine Zidane: Cataloguing the Frenchman’s Transition From Midfield Magician to Managerial Maestro

Zinedine Zidane: The French Magician’s All-Time Best XI


33) Luiz Felipe Scolari 

FUSSBALL: WM 2002 in JAPAN und KOREA

By Jamie Clarke

Scolari is perhaps the most Hollywood movie-worthy manager on the list because in the Brazilian, you would usually get one of two extremes. The outstanding or the appalling – though more often the former than the latter. 

Much of his success can be credited to his enigmatic style, with his ability to inspire his players proving to be as important as his tactical prowess. As a manager he was by no means a remedy for all ills, but when his methods worked, they worked brilliantly and his World Cup triumph with Brazil in 2002 is evidence of this.

Luiz Felipe Scolari: How the Enigmatic ‘Big Phil’ Succeeded as Much as He Failed on the Big Stage

Luiz Felipe Scolari: Picking Big Phil’s All-Time Best XI


32) Jupp Heynckes

FBL-GER-CUP-DFB-BAYERN MUNICH-STUTTGART

By Jack Spedding 

The mastermind behind Bayern Munich’s 2013 treble winning side, arguably the most complete European club outfit of the 21st century.

The German was relentless in his pursuit of tactical perfection, and his methods have been universally praised by almost every great player he has managed in his illustrious career.

Jupp Heynckes: The Legendary Manager Who Masterminded ‘the Greatest Bayern Side Ever’

Jupp Heynckes: The German Master Tactician’s All-Time Best XI


31) Vicente Del Bosque

FBL-WC2014 -BRAZIL-FINAL-DRAW

By Andrew Headspeath

While Del Bosque’s style and tactics will never be poured over like Arrigo Sacchi, Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, he was a master of the most human elements of football. He made his players feel happy, trusted and confident. He facilitated an environment where they could be at their best together, with little room for ego and pressure. Tiki-taka, after all, was as much about the team over the individual as anything else.

Del Bosque won everything worth winning and it never looked particularly difficult. He was a subtle, master conductor of the greatest orchestras, always keeping the focus on his delighted performers, shunning any spotlight of his own. 

Vicente del Bosque: The Unluckiest Manager in the World Who Led Spain to Immortality

Vicente del Bosque: The Moustachioed Mister’s All-Time Best XI


30) Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

By Toby Cudworth

Arsenal are a club steeped in history and traditional, but one man has become synonymous with everything they stand for over the last two decades. That man is Arsene Wenger. At the helm for 22 years, Wenger redefined and reinvigorated the Gunners by introducing a slick, attacking brand of football, whilst demonstrating great knowledge of the transfer market to bring in talented youngsters who he would transition into world class players. 

Winner of the league and cup double on two occasions, the Frenchman then achieved the unthinkable – becoming ‘Invincible’ as Arsenal went the entire 2003/04 Premier League campaign unbeaten.

Arsene Wenger: A Pioneering Who Became Invincible at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger: The Legendary Arsenal Manager’s All-Time Best XI


29) Udo Lattek 

Fussball: Samba Soccer Charity

By Tom Gott

Remembered as perhaps the finest manager in Bundesliga history, Udo Lattek knew nothing other than winning. During his career, Lattek managed an incredible eight league titles, leading both Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach to domestic glory.

His intellectual and motivational approach to management often left many questioning his credentials, but wherever Lattek went, success tended to follow.

It wasn’t just league success which made Lattek so great, as he even etched his name into European folklore as well. He won the 1974 European Cup with Bayern, the 1979 UEFA Cup with Gladbach, and the 1982 European Cup Winners Cup with Barcelona, making him one of just two men to lift all three – and the only to do so with three different clubs.

Udo Lattek: The Bundesliga Icon Who Shattered European Records

Udo Lattek: The Inspirational Leader’s All-Time Best XI


28) Jock Stein

By Robbie Copeland

When Stein took over Celtic in 1965 they were at one of their lowest ever ebbs. Within two years they were European champions and by the time he left to take over Scotland 12 years later they had won the league 10 times under in his tenure. Yet perhaps his greatest accomplishment is the influence he had over Sir Alex Ferguson, his international assistant, who describes him as the greatest ever.

Jock Stein: The Man Who Guided Celtic to Historic Heights & Mentored Sir Alex Ferguson

Jock Stein: Big Jock’s All-Time Best XI


27) Vittorio Pozzo

Italy's national soccer team poses with

By Jack Gallagher

Vittorio Pozzo is one of the greatest managers of all time because he is the only manager in history to win two consecutive FIFA World Cups.

That’s pretty good. Maybe too good to be 27th on this list…until you hear about the accusations of match-fixing – Benito Mussolini’s influence on the outcome of World Cup games – and a certain Nazi salute incident in 1938…

…Then maybe Pozzo’s ranking makes a bit more sense. 

Vittorio Pozzo: Metodo, Mussolini, Meazza & the Difficult Memory of a Two-Time World Cup Winner

Vittorio Pozzo: Il Vecchio Maestro’s All-Time Best XI


26) Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp

By Andrew Headspeath

One of the very best coaches, working right now, Jurgen Klopp has been so successful due to his knack for taking talents and squeezing something extra out of them that no-one else even knew was there.

He ended Bayern’s Bundesliga dominance (for a while anyways), brought Liverpool back to the very top of the European game, and has made every player he’s ever worked with better. A true modern great.

Jurgen Klopp: The Early Years at Mainz 05 Where He Sealed His ‘Greatest Achievement’

Jurgen Klopp: Mr Heavy Metal Football’s All-Time Best XI


25) Mario Zagallo 

FBL-WC2014-CONFED-BRA-ESP-ZAGALLO

By Ross Kennerley

It became the bane of Brazilian football. A mission to somehow get a one of the most talented group of footballers the world has ever seen all singing from the same hymn sheet. One would argue that moulding the likes of Pele, Tostao, Rivellino and Jairzinho into a formidable force is more a joy than and assignment, but it had yet to crafted successfully. Mario Zagallo did that. 

And, not only did he thrive under that pressure, he blossomed in it, with the 1970 Brazil World Cup team often revered as the greatest of all time. ‘Jogo Bonito’ was forged under his guidance, and Brazil as we know it owe a significant degree of gratitude to the habitual World Cup winner. Two triumphs as a player and two as a manager, Zagallo is the World Cup.

Mario Zagallo: Habitual World Cup Winner & Sculptor of Brazil’s Joga Bonito Era

Mario Zagallo: Velho Lobo’s All-Time Best XI


24) Bela Guttmann

Bela Guttmann

By Chris Deeley

You always know you’ve made it in life when you’ve got an entire curse named after you. That’s when you’re a ‘someone’. True to Guttmann’s words – or alleged words, it’s always hard to tell whether these sort of perfectly fitting lines are apocryphal or not – Benfica haven’t won a single European Cup in the 50+ years since they refused to give him an improved contract. 

Bela Guttmann. Two-time European Cup winner, Holocaust survivor, man who nailed dead rats to management’s doors, qualified dance instructor. Nomad. Gamechanger.

Bela Guttmann: The Dance Instructor Who Changed Football Forever (and Managed…Just Everyone)

Bela Guttmann: The Proto-Mourinho’s All-Time Best XI


23) Valeriy Lobanovski

By Jack Spedding

Second only to Sir Alex Ferguson in terms of managerial trophy collections, the former Soviet scientist was the first trailblazer when it came to sports science and bringing in the idea that the team is the star, not the individual.

With the exception of Lev Yashin, there may not be a name more synonymous with Soviet football than Lobanovskyi, who created the dominant Dynamo Kiev side of the late 20th century, and he is considered a national icon in Ukraine.

Valeriy Lobanovskyi: The Scientist Who Dominated Football in the Soviet Union

Valeriy Lobanovskyi: The Soviet Scientist’s All-Time Best XI


22) Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal

By Jamie Spencer

Louis van Gaal had the honour of managing four of the most famous clubs in history during his career – Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United – and he won trophies with all of them.

The Dutchman has famously fallen out with plenty of people over the years, but his greatest strength was his faith in young talent. So many modern legends, including Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Xavi, Carles Puyol Andres Iniesta, made their senior debut under Van Gaal, while he proved so influential for others like Frank de Boer, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller.

Louis van Gaal: The Stubborn Master Who Won 15 Major Trophies at 4 of the World’s Greatest Clubs

Louis van Gaal: The Mercurial & Enigmatic Dutch Master’s All-Time Best XI


21) Otto Rehhagel 

Fussball: EM 2004 in Portugal Finale POR-GRE 0:1

By Jamie Spencer

With a career split into two distinct chunks, Otto Rehhagel was the great German coach humiliated in his own country by failure at Bayern Munich, who went on to transform Greece into the most unlikely European champions in history.

Rehhagel made his name in Germany in the 1980s and early 1990s when he guided Werder Bremen to two Bundesliga titles, two DFB Pokals and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. He turned Kaiserslautern into national champions after his Bayern disaster, but it was with Greece where his greatest achievement came – stealing the show with pragmatic brilliance at Euro 2004.

Otto Rehhagel: The ‘King’ Who Turned 150/1 Greek Outsiders into Champions of Europe

Otto Rehhagel: The ‘King’ Who Conquered Europe’s All-Time Best XI


20) Tele Santana

Tele Santana

By Tom Gott

When you think of Brazilian football, chances are you will think of joga bonito – ‘the beautiful game’. Whilst Tele Santana did not found this movement, his time with Brazil was certainly behind its rise to prominence.

During his two separate spells with the Selecao, Santana may not have won any silverware, but he is credited with forming some of the greatest international sides in history. His 1986 side were fantastic, but his 1982 squad was something else. His love for attacking football quickly infected the nation, and Brazil still pride themselves on their free-flowing attack to this day.

Even at club level, Santana helped transform Sao Paulo into one of the world’s finest teams, winning back-to-back Intercontinental Cups in 1993 and 1994.

Tele Santana: The ‘Joga Bonito’ Icon Who Helped Brazil Rediscover Their Love of Football

Tele Santana: The Attack-Minded Superstar’s All-Time Best XI


19) Bill Shankly 

Bill Shankly

By Robbie Copeland

Put simply, Liverpool would not have the domestic or European legacy they herald today without the remarkable rebuilding process they underwent in Shankly’s 16 years at Anfield. 

His enthusiasm for the job and belief in the club restored an average second division side to the top flight and won the league three times before stepping down, leaving his long-term assistant Bob Paisley to take Liverpool into the next step of their evolution in the 70s.

Bill Shankly: The Innovative Motivator Who Rebuilt Liverpool From the Ground Up

Bill Shankly: The Liverpool Godfather’s All-Time Best XI


18) Ottmar Hitzfeld

Fussball: Borussia Dortmund

By Ross Kennerley

It’s a title bestowed upon you that is achieved through no less than total dedication, loyalty and a burning desire to give your heart and soul to the cause. Ottmar Hitzfeld earned legendary status, not once, but twice, with the two biggest clubs in German football. 

Firstly at Borussia Dortmund and then Bayern Munch, the man’s supreme marshalling of his troops ultimately meant he obliterated all the competition on a march towards the upper echelons of German football. Brushing aside those in his way, he won everything with Die Borussen, before eventually repeating the feat in Bavaria. On a one-way trajectory towards Bundesliga royalty, Hitzfeld now stands in a league of his own.

Ottmar Hitzfeld: The Manager Who Won Absolutely Everything at Germany’s 2 Biggest Clubs

Ottmar Hitzfeld: Der General Who Dominated Germany’s All-Time Best XI


17) Miguel Munoz 

By Andrew Headspeath

In the history of the best club there has ever been, Miguel Muñoz is quite probably Real Madrid’s best ever manager.

The former European Cup-winning player navigated what should have been a perilous transitional period to transform the ageing Galacticos of Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano into the youthful Ye-Ye’s (named after the Beatles chorus in She Loves You) of Amancio and Pirri, while keeping them at the very apex of Spanish and world football. 

Miguel Muñoz: The Man Who Told Alfredo Di Stefano to F*ck Off & Led the Ye-Ye’s to European Glory

Miguel Muñoz: Real Madrid’s Greatest Ever Manager’s All-Time Best XI


16) Fabio Capello

AC Milan Coach Fabio Capello

By Ben Carter

A far cry from how his most recent spells as a manager will be remembered, Fabio Capello not only helped to create one of Italian football’s best-ever teams but he also helped to make Calcio exactly what it is today.

Capello brought tremendous success to AC Milan – even more so than Arrigo Sacchi – while also lifting silverware almost everywhere he went across Europe.

Fabio Capello: Italy’s Cosmopolitan Disciplinarian Who Built on a Generation-Defining AC Milan

Fabio Capello: The Serial Serie A Winner’s All-Time Best XI


15) Brian Clough

Brian Clough and Peter Taylor

By Ed Alexander

Arrogant, disrespectful, obnoxious…Clough had many insults levelled at him. The issue is, ‘Old Big Head’ didn’t care in the slightest. In his own words, he was the best manager in the business; his time at Nottingham Forest suggests he may well be right. 

He won the First Division with Derby County in 1972, though no silverware came Clough’s way when coaching Hartlepool United, nor Brighton. It was worse at Leeds United, where – without the aid of trusty assistant Peter Taylor – the Yorkshireman was sacked after just 44 days. Clough then redeemed himself as he got Forest promoted to the top-flight. On their return, he took them to a maiden English crown. And then he secured back-to-back European Cups, the only side from these shores to ever achieve such a feat.

Brian Clough: He Wasn’t the Best Manager in the Business, But He Was in the Top 1

Brian Clough: The Maverick Manager’s All-Time Best XI


14) Nereo Rocco

Jimmy Greaves,Nereo Rocco

By Wilf Dutton

Italy is to football management as America is to basketball, pretty much. Which goes some way to explaining why Nereo Rocco is unlikely to be the first name uttered during a quick fire round of categories. But he should be. The great pioneer of Catenaccio – that greatly misunderstood tactical discipline – was in many ways a simple man. He enjoyed food, drink and company (usually in excess). 

But he was also a complete innovator, coaching with a ‘genius-like pragmatism’, as the great Italian journalist Gianni Brera described it. But even that could be seen to embolden the myth that his AC Milan sides were dourly defensive. Rocco was a winner, there’s no doubt, but he was also not dull in doing so. And, while you may not be that clued up on him, all of your favourite managers are and, if they coincided with his time in the game, they were probably taught a lesson or two in real time.

Nereo Rocco: ‘El Paron’, the Pioneer of Catenaccio & Forgotten Great of Italian Football

Nereo Rocco: The Milan Legend’s All-Time Best XI


13) Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti

By Andrew Headspeath

‘The Diva Whisperer’, football’s great avuncular uncle, Carletto’s legacy (beyond winning a boatload of trophies) is his man-management skills.

From Milan to Madrid to Munich, it seems almost no-one has a bad word to say about Ancelotti. He is the manager the very best love to play for.

His detractors might say he has been in right place at the right time (with the right squads) but Ancelotti’s great trick is managing the highest of high profile names of the last two decades and nearly always getting the very best out of them. Having the best team on paper, as football history shows, doesn’t always guarantee success. Having Ancelotti as your manager pretty much does.

Carlo Ancelotti: Football’s Most Loveable Eyebrow in the Words of His Players

Carlo Ancelotti: The Diva Whisperer’s All-Time Best XI


12) Sir Matt Busby

Matt Busby

By Jamie Spencer

Sir Matt Busby did nothing short of build the modern Manchester United, creating a legacy that paved the way for all of Sir Alex Ferguson’s success and one that still serves the club to this day.

Busby took over a club in 1945 that had narrowly avoided bankruptcy twice in just 43 years, where there was a new focus on developing young players at a time when it wasn’t the norm.

His ‘Busby Babes’ were revered, but from the ashes of the tragic Munich Air Disaster in 1958 rose a team that would become the first English club to win the European Cup 10 years later.

Sir Matt Busby: The Man Who Built the Modern Manchester United

Sir Matt Busby: The Legendary Scot Who Built Modern Man Utd’s All-Time Best XI


11) Marcello Lippi 

Head coach of the Italian team Marcello

By Ben Carter

Perhaps even more important to the development of Italian football than Capello, Marcello Lippi put the groundwork in throughout the 1990s with Juventus most notably, but also punching above his weight initially at Napoli.

Lippi, with a cigar protruding from his lips, was then reaping the rewards of his work when he took over the Italian national team, ending Gli Azzurri’s 24-year wait to be crowned as world champions in 2006.

Marcello Lippi: Montecristo Cigars, Neapolitan Dreams, Scudetti in Turin & Gli Azzurri’s World Cup

Marcello Lippi: The Italian World Cup Winner’s All-Time Best XI


10) Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley

By Robbie Copeland

Shankly aimed the bow for Liverpool’s dominance throughout the 70s and 80s, but Paisley was the razor-sharp arrow that followed through and conquered all of Europe. 

He adapted Liverpool’s tactics for a new era, and although his management career lasted just nine years, he won the league six times, the European cup three, and averaged 2.2 major trophies per season – making him the second most successful manager of all time.

Bob Paisley: The Understated Tactician Who Conquered All of Europe With Liverpool

Bob Paisley: Liverpool’s Humble Genius’ All-Time Best XI


9) Jose Mourinho 

Inter Milan's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

By Tom Gott

Love him or loathe him, Jose Mourinho has proven to be one of the most influential managers in football history.

After taking Europe by storm by winning the 2003/04 Champions League with Porto, Mourinho has picked up a stunning amount of silverware with Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United, picking up six league titles across a ten-year spell.

Capable of masterminding a strategy to subdue even the strongest opponents, Mourinho has made a career out of constructing dominant sides, and there are few managers capable of stopping him.

Jose Mourinho: The ‘Special One’ Who Shattered Records All Over Europe

Jose Mourinho: The Legendary Portuguese Tactician’s All-Time Best XI


8) Helenio Herrera 

Helenio Herrera

By Ed Alexander

Psychological warfare is so commonplace in the world of modern football that it is difficult to imagine the sport without it. Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and many others would like to think they are the masters of such battles, but they are all mere pretenders to Herrera’s throne. 

The eccentric Argentine-turned-Frenchman was the first to bring focus onto the mind-set of players: both his own, and those of rival clubs. Herrera was a brilliant man-manager, using motivational words and scathing attacks to help his teams fulfil their potential and unarm opponents. Without his pioneering methods, Inter would never have lifted consecutive European Cups, whilst he was similarly important to the mid-20th-century glory enjoyed by both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Helenio Herrera: The Innovator Who Single-Handedly Changed the Beautiful Game

Helenio Herrera: The Peerless Pioneer’s All-Time Best XI


7) Ernst Happel 

Ernst Happel

By Jamie Clarke

Happel questioned everything football had taken for granted, helping him to revolutionise the game and inspire the era of ‘total football’ in the 1970s. Always willing to question his own opinions as much as anybody else’s, the rebellious Austrian was one of the first to opt for a three-man midfield in an era where the 4-2-4 formation prevailed. 

Not just an innovator, Happel was a winner too and is one of only six managers to win the European Cup with two clubs and the *only* manager to lead three different clubs to the final of the competition.

Ernst Happel: The ‘Weird Man’ Who Conquered European Football and Helped Shape the Modern Game

Ernst Happel: The Austrian Mastermind’s All-Time Best XI


6) Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruijff

By Jamie Spencer

It’s not a stretch to call Johan Cruyff the single most important person in the history of football for the impact he had as a player, coach, general figurehead and pioneer.

Cruyff nurtured several of the Dutch legends of the 1980s while at Ajax and later built the ‘Dream Team’ at Barcelona that dominated Spanish football and won the European Cup in 1992, a perfect blend of home-grown talent and world class stars.

But he was so much more; a true visionary who saw the value of implementing a single way of playing at every level of a club and insisted Barcelona launch the academy that became La Masia.

Johan Cruyff: The Visionary Who Became the Most Important Man in the History of Football

Johan Cruyff: The Creator of the Barcelona Dream Team’s All-Time Best XI


5) Giovanni Trapattoni 

Giovanni Trapattoni

By Jack Gallagher

The most successful Italian manager of all time.

That says it all really. 

Trapattoni isn’t fondly remembered by Republic of Ireland fans, but Juventus fans do remember him rather fondly, for winning well, everything in the most golden of eras for La Vecchia Signora.

Giovanni Trapattoni: A Career of 2 Halves That Defined the Golden Era of Calcio at Juventus

Giovanni Trapattoni: Il Trap’s All-Time Best XI


4) Pep Guardiola 

FBL-ENG-PR-BRIGHTON-MAN CITY

By Jude Summerfield

La Liga winner, Bundesliga winner, and Premier League winner. There aren’t many managers nowadays who can boast that record, but Pep Guardiola can. 

From learning from Johan Cruyff to playing a major role in the development of players like Lionel Messi, David Alaba and Raheem Sterling, Guardiola has proved it’s possible to both realise a club’s lofty ambitions while simultaneously improving a core group of players. His work has changed the managerial landscape in the modern era and his standard is the one to beat.

Pep Guardiola: The Maverick Who Strolled to League Titles in Spain, Germany and England

Pep Guardiola: The Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Man City Legend’s All-Time Best XI


3) Rinus Michels

Rinus Michels

By Wilf Dutton

The most influential football manager the world has ever seen, with the greatest moniker for a sporting style that persists today: Total Football. There’s no greater legacy to leave than that. A style of football that was, and is, so lauded, it is deemed to encompass everything that’s great 

about the game. It is the game in its purest, most charming form. And Rinus Michels was the man who packaged it into the European Cup-winning, European Championship-triumphing formula it became. He was its architect, and he has influenced every other sporting edifice that has come after him.

Rinus Michels: The Most Influential Manager There Ever Was & His Total Football Legacy

Rinus Michel: The Dutch Master’s All-Time Best XI


2) Arrigo Sacchi

FUSSBALL: EURO 1996 ITA

By Jack Gallagher

“Football is born in the brain, not in the body. Michelangelo said he painted with his mind, not with his hands. So, obviously, I need intelligent players. That was our philosophy at Milan. I didn’t want solo artists; I wanted an orchestra. The greatest compliment I received was when people said my football was like music.”

Arrigo Sacchi wanted his teams to play fluid football that made their adoring audiences gasp in awe of what they were witnessing; between 1987 and 1991, his team did just that.

The conductor of the single greatest club team the world has ever seen, Sacchi changed calcio forever by winning with beautiful football.

Arrigo Sacchi: The Game That Made the AC Milan Legend One of the Greatest Managers of All Time

Arrigo Sacchi: The AC Milan Legend’s All-Time Best XI


1) Sir Alex Ferguson

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-SWANSEA

By Jamie Spencer

Manchester United simply wouldn’t be Manchester United without Sir Alex Ferguson. His exemplary record of 28 major trophies in 27 years at Old Trafford speaks for itself, on top of 10 major trophies he had earlier delivered at Aberdeen.

It famously took Fergie a little while to see his work come to life at United, but he was responsible for refocusing a club that had become lost, realigning it with the blueprint laid out by Matt Busby and making it the undisputed giant of English football once more.

More than anything else, Ferguson’s longevity made him the greatest of all time, building team after team and continuing to win and win in a way that will never be repeated.

​Sir Alex Ferguson: The Serial Winner Whose Trophy Haul Rewrote Football History

​Sir Alex Ferguson: The Manchester United Legend’s All-Time Best XI


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