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Football: Top Five Managers in History

As Pep Guardiola celebrates his 51st birthday he is well on his way towards celebrating further success with Manchester City.

The Spaniard has plenty to be pleased about less than a month 2022, as the Citizens look to be on course to retain their Premier League crown.

City, 1/14 to win the Premier League, sit 11 points clear of Liverpool, who are 9/1 to end the season at the top of the pile, after beating Chelsea 1-0 last Saturday.

Guardiola has led the Citizens to three league titles over the past four seasons, while he's also won the EFL Cup four times and the FA Cup once.

The club was already in a very strong position when he took charge in the summer of 2016, but he's taken them to the next level, having led City to a first Champions League final last season.

Most European Cups as a manager

1=Bob Paisley3
1=Carlo Ancelotti3
1=Zinedine Zidane3
4=Brian Clough2
4=Arrigo Sacchi2
4=Alex Ferguson2
4=Jose Mourinho2
4=Pep Guardiola2

The European crown still remains elusive, but City can be backed at 11/4 to finally land the trophy this term.

Since stepping into management with Barcelona B in June 2007, Guardiola has won major trophies 26 and he's certain to further swell that tally in the years to come.

It's difficult to talk about Guardiola without considering where he ranks among the greatest to have ever taken their spot in the technical area and we've taken a look at the top five managers to have graced the beautiful game.

5) Pep Guardiola

Guardiola spent one season in charge of Barcelona B before stepping up to replace Frank Rijkaard with the senior side.

The former midfielder enjoyed immediate success, winning the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey during his first campaign.

He had a huge amount of talent at his disposal but it was the style in which they played that had so many raving over his future as a manager.

Barcelona won a further two league titles, one Champions League and one Copa del Rey prior to his departure in 2012, while they also lifted the FIFA Club World Cup twice.

After going on to enjoy further success at Bayern Munich, Guardiola proved his triumphs at Barcelona were no fluke.

The Spanish tactician is always striving to be the best and he's constantly evolving his philosophy, which has its roots in Johan Cruyff's tiki-taka, to ensure his team is ahead of the curve.

With many years ahead to further bolster his CV, Guardiola will likely work his way up this list by the time he eventually steps into retirement.

4) Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley had a hard act to follow at Liverpool, but he did a fine job of building on the solid foundations put in place by Bill Shankly.

The Reds were already a dominant force and Paisley did an incredible job in leading them through a hugely successful era.

Liverpool collected 19 trophies, including six league titles and three League Cups, during his nine years at the helm, while they finished in the top two in all but one of those campaigns.

He also made history in 1981 when he became the first manager to lift the European Cup three times.

3) Johan Cruyff

Johan Neeskens, who played alongside Cruyff, once said: "If you look at the greatest players in history, most of them couldn't coach. If you look at the greatest coaches in history, most of them were not great players. Johan Cruyff did both - and in such an exhilarating style."

Cruyff was a magical player, enjoying an illustrious career, and he transferred that success through to management.

After hanging his boots up in 1984, Cruyff accepted his first managerial role with boyhood club Ajax in 1985 before moving on to Barcelona in 1988.

Cruyff's record might not match up to some others in this list, winning 11 major titles, but his impact on the game is still felt today, as mentioned earlier with his influence on Guardiola

2) Rinus Michels

Michels spent his entire playing career with Ajax prior to moving into management with Asser Boys in 1953.

He spent the following couple of decades building his philosophy and was ultimately responsible for introducing us to "Total Football" in the 1970s.

The former striker enjoyed two spells in charge of the Netherlands and he had two stints leading both Ajax and Barcelona.

After winning 13 titles, including the European Championships with his home nation, the European Cup with Ajax and La Liga, Michels was declared as Manager of the Century by FIFA in 1999.

1) Sir Alex Ferguson

After plying his trade in Scotland, winning the European Cup Winners' Cup with Aberdeen, Ferguson moved south of the border to take the reins at Manchester United in November 1986.

His time at Old Trafford didn't start smoothly and he was famously on the verge of getting sacked in 1990, with fans even unfurling a banner that read "3 years of excuses... tara Fergie".

Fortunately, the board stuck with the Scotsman and it proved to be one of the best decisions ever made in football as he eventually found his feet and went on to enjoy a hugely successful time in Manchester.

United's treble-winning campaign in 1998/99 was arguably the highlight as the Red Devils embarked on a mission to, in Ferguson's words, "knock Liverpool off their perch".

After 23 years, Ferguson certainly managed to achieve that winning 10 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups and the Champions League twice.

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