Coaches play crucial roles in most sporting events these days. Good coaching is an extraordinary ability, not dependent on the knowledge of the game alone. It requires perfect understanding of nuances of that sport and an instinctive grasp of the players’ mindsets. In a way, the coach is a player-resource manager and SWOT analyst, familiar with his player/team’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Modern teams and players depend heavily on their coaches for techniques, advice, encouragement and mentoring. On account of the game’s unmatched popularity, some football coaches have acquired the status of celebrities themselves. The name of Sir Alex Ferguson; the Manchester United coach for over 26 years, easily comes to mind. Sir Alex proved how a master strategist can bring in genuine difference in team performance. During his tenure, United won 38 trophies; including 13 Premier League and 2 UEFA Championships.
Other than sizing up his players and extracting the best out of them, a football coach performs many diverse responsibilities. Club owners want coaches to be involved in; a) selecting players for matches and deciding about formation; b) setting strategies with ground instructions; c) delegation to the next in command and medical staff, when required; d) buying and selling players in transfer market; and e) interacting with media.
One coach can make different impressions on different players for a variety of reasons. When Ferguson resigned, his place was taken by David Moyes, as United’s new coach. Moyes has not been able to wield the same influence on the players as Ferguson had. Stars like Robin Van Persie and Wilfried Zaha are unhappy with Moyes. While Persie thinks Moyes’ training methods are responsible for his injuries; Zaha was not given a match-chance for allegedly courting Moyes’ daughter. In another setback for Moyes, United humiliatingly lost 0-1 to Newcastle at home, two days ago.
While Ferguson was a celebrity, another coach, who had a dominant presence in the visual media during 2010 World Cup, was Vicente Del Bosque; Spain’s National coach. Del Bosque had earlier coached Real Madrid during 1999-2003 and made this period as the most successful ever for the Club. He became Spain’s coach in 2008 and played an influential role in Spain winning 2008 and 2012 European Championships. But Bosque will always be known for leading Spain to their first ever World Cup triumph at South Africa in 2010.
In 2013 UEFA Champions League semifinals, Bayern Munich’s unprecedented 7-0 victory over FC Barcelona is attributed to the efforts of Jupp Heynckes, their Coach. Heynckes served Bayern from July 2011 until June 2013 and under him, Bayern broke all records in Germany during 2013 season. In Pep Guardiola, Bayern have a new coach now. For four years until 2012, Guardiola coached FC Barcelona and led them to two Champions League victories and three La Liga titles. According to Barca midfielder Xavi, the Club benefitted greatly from Guardiola’s unique football philosophy.
As Borussia Dortmund’s coach, Jurgen Klopp is regarded as a master strategist. He was relatively unknown until he joined Dortmund in 2008. Under Klopp, Dortmund have won Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, DFB Pokal in 2012 and reached UEFA Champions League final in 2013. Klopp was named German Football Manager in 2011 and 2012. As per rumors emanating from London, Manchester United want Klopp to replace their controversial coach David Moyes. Ever since taking over from Ferguson, Moyes has failed to win the confidence of all his players. In an observation, veteran defender Rio Ferdinand says; Moyes makes the players pretty nervous by withholding the announcement of starting line-up until the very last moment.
Former Real Coach, Jose Mourinho has a great reputation. He won the first ever FIFA Ballon d’Or best coach award in 2010 and coached Real Madrid for 3 years until 2013. Under Mourinho, Real won Copa del Rey in 2010 and La Liga in 2011. He also helped Madrid reach three successive Champions League semifinals. He currently coaches Chelsea, where he had a first stint during 2004-2007.
If Italian Club Juventus, has acquired the tag of Italian football superpower over the last three season, the credit for such achievement rightfully belongs to Antonio Conte. Under Conte’s superb management since 2011, Juventus has lost only 8 games in the last three years.
To manage Real Madrid is a great job, since the celebrated Spanish Club is often in the news. Carlo Ancellotti’s joining Real was, therefore, a big news in June 2013. He had earlier managed Chelsea, during May 2009- May 2011. In Ancellotti’s first season, Chelsea recorded an epoch-making Double of Premier League title and FA Cup. In December 2011, Ancelotti joined Paris Saint-Germain and managed to win Ligue 1 title. He was also instrumental in PSG reaching the quarterfinals UEFA Champions League.
Other than those named above, football has many coaches, famous for their diverse personalities. Two of them are; Big Phil, Scolari and Tito Vilanova. Scolari is the current national coach of Brazil and as World Cup 2014 draws closer; his name will keep hitting media headlines for one reason or another. Vilanova joined Barca as assistant in 2007 and became a full coach in 2012. He had to resign in 2013, when he was diagnosed with cancer.