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8 Foreign Coaches Who’ve Reigned In Spain

8 Foreign Coaches Who’ve Reigned In Spain

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Rinus Michels

The architect of total football, Dutch master Michels first took the reins of Barcelona in 1971 having guided Ajax of Amsterdam to their first of three consecutive European Cup successes. One of the legendary names in coaching throughout the world, Michels major triumphs were gained largely in his homeland (and as national team manager) but it was, nevertheless, his brand of football which would become the template for Barcelona’s style over the next forty years.

Drafting fellow Dutch legend Johann Cruyff into his side in 1973, Michels crowning glory as Barca coach would follow a year later, guiding the team to their first Spanish title in 14 years.

Johann Cruyff

A hero as a player and manager at Barcelona, Cruyff became manager in 1988, assembling over the next 5 years what would become known as the ‘Dream Team’.

Blending a mix of young talent from their academy (such as Pep Guardiola with some of the biggest names in world football, including Laudrup, Stoichkov, Koeman and Romario, Cruyff moulded a side which would dominate Spanish football in the early 90s, winning 4 consecutive championships along with the 1992 European Cup.

Fabio Capello

Another titan of world football management, Capello made his impact on Spanish football in the capital with Real Madrid. 10 years separated his two stints in charge at the Bernabeu. And, although each spell last barely a year, both times he led Real to La Liga titles – so not a bad record really.

Hector Cuper

An Argentine manager who would prove a major thorn in the side of the traditional Spanish powerhouses in the late 90s / early 00s. Establishing his reputation in La Liga with Mallorca Cuper would take the relative minnows all the way to a Copa Del Rey victory in his first season, following this up with a trip to the European Cup Winner’s Cup Final and a remarkable qualification to the Champions League. Cuper moved to Valencia in 1999, helping the side reach consecutive Champions League Finals (losing to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively) and establishing the side as one of Spain’s best teams – they would go on to win 2 La Liga titles after Cuper’s departure in 2001.


Bobby Robson

Following an 8 year spell as manager of England Robson became a hugely respected club coach across the European leagues, taking the helm at Barcelona for 2 seasons between 96-98.

Instrumental in the signing of Brazilian legend Ronaldo Robson’s side was known for its attacking flair and goal-scoring prowess. Whilst the league title eluded Robson during his tenure he did manage a cup treble in his debut season, winning the Super Cup, Spanish Cup and European Cup Winner’s Cup.

John Toshack

Welshman Toshack became a fixture of Spanish football throughout the 80s and 90s with two spells in charge at Real Madrid and 3 times at Real Sociedad. In his first spell at Sociedad Toshack enjoyed a spell of relative success, leading the side to runners-up in the league and to a Spanish cup triumph in 1987. Leaving the Basque club to join Real Madrid he would go on to claim his a Spanish League title in 1990. Taking up a number of roles across Europe in the 90s Toshack would return to Spain several times, claiming a Super Cup victory during a short spell with the fast emerging power of Deportivo La Coruna in 1995.

Diego Simeone

Current manager of Atletico Madrid, Argentine Simeone is fast establishing himself as one of the great managerial names in world football. Twice voted La Liga’s coach of the year Simeone has been in charge of Atletico during a golden era which has seen them win Europa league titles, Spanish Cup and European Super Cups. Cementing their status as Champions League regulars the former Argentinian international led his team to the final of 2014 (losing to neighbours Real Madrid) and, in his crowning moment, a historic league title success.

Jose Mourinho

Whilst the bulk of Mourhino’s successes have come elsewhere in Europe it’s hard to ignore the Portugese manager’s impact on La Liga. His three seasons at Real Madrid may have been marred by controversies and overshadowed by the success of Barcelona, but he nevertheless re-asserted the capital side’s credentials as European and domestic powerhouses. A formidable home record and the scoring exploits of Christiano Ronaldo saw Real to a league title in 2012 to go alongside a Spanish Cup and Super Cup triumph (in 2011 and 2012 respectively).

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