Here are our views on the best managers from each of the 7 continents:
7. Asia - Kurban Berdyev
As always, we start with Asia, and those footballing layman out there may be expecting the cream of the Asian managerial crop to hail from one of the continents better known footballing nations. Japan? South Korea? Iran, perhaps? Nope. Top spot goes to Kurban Berdyev, who hails for Ashgabat, the capital and largest city in the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan.
Part of the USSR when Berdyev was born, Turkmenistan gained independence upon the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, and currently ranks number 130 in FIFA’s World Rankings - below the likes of Bahrain and Namibia.
That doesn’t mean Kurban Berdyev isn’t Asia’s best manager, though, in fact, we’d say he takes that title quite comfortably. The former FC Rostov manager is best known for his 12 year stint managing Rubin Kazan from 2001 to 2013, during which time he guided the club to promotion from the second tier followed by consecutive Russian Premier League titles - a quite remarkable achievement. Now aged 65, Berdyev returned to Kazan in 2017.
6. Africa - Walid Regragui
Grenoble's midfielder Walid Regragui (R) vies with Auxerre's defender George Daniel Niculae during their French L1 football match Grenoble versus Auxerre on December 7, 2008 at the Stade...
The majority of the most highly-regarded managers in Africa hail from northern African nations, such as Hussein Amotta from Morocco and Nabil Maaloul of Tunisia. We were tempted to go with the experienced Egyptian Hassan Shehata here. Nicknamed ‘the Boss’, Shehata guided Egypt to three consecutive African Cup of Nations titles between 2006 and 2010, before stints in Morocco and Qatar. However, the 71-year-old has been out of work for around 18 months, so we thought we’d best look elsewhere.
So, in our books, the best candidate is Walid Regragui. The youngest manager in this seven, Regragui is only 42, and he has been managing Moroccan outfit Fath Union Sport - sometimes known as FUS Rabat - since 2014. Once a versatile right sided player who played his club football in France and Spain, Regragui has quickly earned a stellar reputation as a formidable up-and-coming manager. He won the Botola (Morocco’s top flight) in 2016, and his side finished fourth last season.
5. Europe - Pep Guardiola
Okay, so the vast majority of the world’s top coaches hail from Europe. Jose Mourinho, Jupp Heynckes, Jurgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti… we could reel off a list of top European managers the length of our arm. Picking the best of the bunch is no easy task then, but given that this seven is based on the managers current powers, not their all time achievements, we have to go with Pep Guardiola.
There are some who say Pep has never truly had a challenge. He inherited an exceptional group of players at Barcelona, treble winners at Bayern and owners willing to hand him blank cheques at Manchester City. There’s a certain degree of truth to that, but it also overlooks a great deal. When Pep took over at Barcelona, the club had won only two La Liga titles in the last nine years - and only one Champions League trophy in the last 16. They preceded to win three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in four seasons, playing a quite beautiful brand of football.
Guardiola is an idealist, but he’s also a fantastic tactician and man manager. He sets extraordinarily high standards and the results tend to be emphatic. Sure, he has spent untold millions at Manchester City, but so have a string of Premier League clubs. Guardiola fired Manchester City to a record Premier League points tally playing some of the best football the division have ever seen. For us, he is Europe’s best manager right now.
4. North America - Luis Fernando Tena
Luis Fernando Tena, Coach of Queretaro prior the 16th round match between Queretaro and Pachuca as part of the Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX at La Corregidora Stadium on April 21, 2018 in...
Mexico, the USA and Costa Rica tend to be the three countries we look at when it comes to North America in these videos, and it’s a similar story today. Mexico can offer the likes of Miguel Herrera and Victor Manuel Vucetich, the US could point to the experienced Bruce Arena or an up-and-comer like Greg Vanney, and the outstanding candidate from Costa Rica would have to be Alexandre Guimaraes.
We’ve gone for a Mexican in the form of Luis Fernando Tena, an experienced head coach who has been in management for more than 20 years. Formerly the assistant and U21 coach for the Mexican national team, Tena successfully guided the country to win Gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, beating Neymar’s Brazil in the final.
3. South America - Diego Simeone
There are a number of impressive South American coaches, from Tite to Manuel Pellegrini, but the two that stand out are Mauricio Pochettino and Diego Simeone. Pochettino’s rise has been gradual but commendable, going from Espanyol to Southampton and, for the last four years, Tottenham. Poch is a proper coach, who works tirelessly on the training ground to actually improve his players, a dying art among many managers in the game. He has transformed Tottenham from perennial nearly men into Champions League regulars, but has as yet failed to win any silverware at White Hart Lane.
Meanwhile, Simeone honed his skills in Argentina, before being given the top job at Atletico Madrid in 2011. In each of his full seasons at Atletico, Simeone has never failed to finish in La Liga’s top three, dramatically winning the league in 2014. He has also guided the club to one Europa League title, two UEFA Super Cups, one Copa del Rey, one Spanish Supercup and two Champions League finals.
All this has been achieved with an incredibly modest budget in comparison to their main league rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, and Simeone led Atletico to finish above their Madrid rivals once again last season. All in all, he has to take this one.
2. Australia/Oceania - Graham Arnold
Graham Arnold speaks during the Sydney FC Sky Blue Ball on May 19, 2018 at The Star in Sydney, Australia.
The man who recently took the helm as manager of the Australian national team following their group stage exit at the 2018 World Cup, Graham Arnold is our pick for Australia/Oceania. A fine player himself, Sydney-born Arnold was a sharp shooting centre-forward in his day, scoring regularly in the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as being the national teams 10th highest scorer of all time.
Arnold previously spent four years managing Sydney FC, winning a league and cup double in 2017.
1. Antarctica - Gaetano Snowstorm
No conversation about the game’s great managers is complete without a mention for Gaetano Snowstorm. When he first took over the South Orkney Islands most Antarctic football fans had never heard of the struggling third division outfit. Within five years, he had them competing in the top flight on a shoestring budget. Two Antarctic Peninsular Premier League titles in the following four seasons made him the most sought after coach on the ice, and he ended up at Palmer Rangers.
The abrasive and pragmatic head coach raised one or two eyebrows when he moved top scorer Steve Freeze into the middle of the park, but it has proved a masterstroke, and two more league titles makes him the most decorated manager in the leagues history.
Snowstorm’s managerial competence cannot be questioned, but controversy has followed him wherever he has gone. Back in 2013, he flipped out following an offside call by a linesman and was slapped with a 12 game ban. Less than six months later, Snowstorm caused a media storm once again, labelling a journalist an ‘ostrich’ after he asked whether Gaetano’s side had received favourable decisions over the course of the season from referees.
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