🔝 The five best managers of 2022 | OneFootball

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Dan Burke·28 December 2022

🔝 The five best managers of 2022

Article image:🔝 The five best managers of 2022

It has been a year to remember for many managers across the football world.

Here’s our top five of 2022.

5. Stefano Pioli (AC Milan)

It has been just over three years since Pioli took the reins at Milan, during which time the Rossoneri have gone from strength-to-strength.

And the 2021/22 Scudetto is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the 57-year-old’s coaching career so far.

Having made a strong start to the season, big wins over the likes of Roma, Inter and Napoli in the early part of 2022 kept Milan in the driving seat for the title, but it wasn’t until the final day of the season that glory was sealed in spectacular fashion, with a 3-0 win over Sassuolo meaning they finished two points above rivals Inter.

The Scudetto returned to the red half of Milan for the first time in 11 years, and their 86 points was their best tally since 2005/06. An excellent achievement.

4. Walid Regragui (Morocco)

Article image:🔝 The five best managers of 2022

Morocco may not have won the World Cup but they were never expected to, and their run to the semi-final won the hearts of football fans everywhere.

The Atlas Lions were a joy to watch in Qatar with their defensive organisation and desire to put their bodies in the line, not to mention the thoroughly enjoyable splash of flair and panache they brought to the table.

And what made it all the more impressive was the fact coach Regragui only took charge at the end of August, and his appointment didn’t go down particularly well in Morocco at the time, with some underwhelmed pundits derisively branding the shaven-headed coach “avocado head”.

It’s fair to say the 47-year-old – who also led Wydad AC to the Moroccan league and CAF Champions League double in 2022 – answered his critics in stunning fashion this year.

And it surely won’t be long before a big European club takes a long, hard look at his credentials.

3. Sarina Wiegman (England Women)

Article image:🔝 The five best managers of 2022

England’s appointment of Wiegman as the first ever non-British of the women’s team coach back in 2020 was a sign that they meant business, and in 2022 their grand plan came to fruition in glorious fashion.

The Lionesses had never lifted serious silverware before this year and while hosting the European Championship on home soil brought them plenty of support, it also came with a great deal of pressure as a nation watched on intently.

But with the cool head of Wiegman at the helm, the hosts calmly dealt with the pressure as they sailed through the group stage (with the 8-0 victory over Norway a particular highlight) before dispatching Spain and then Sweden in the knockout rounds.

It all came down to an epic final showdown with Germany at Wembley, with Chloe Kelly’s 110th minute goal deciding a nervy, end-to-end game in England’s favour.

England Women lifted their first trophy, England as a nation celebrated its first senior silverware since 1966, and Wiegman became the fourth manager to retain the Euros title and the first to win the tournament with two different countries.

Could World Cup glory follow in 2023?

2. Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid)

His largely unsuccessful spells at Napoli and Everton suggested Ancelotti’s coaching career was beginning to wind down, and Real Madrid’s decision to re-appoint him in the summer of 2021 was a somewhat surprising one.

But it turned out to be a masterstroke as the wily silver fox lifted an eyebrow to the world and showed he wasn’t done yet. Not even close.

Having never won the LaLiga title during his first spell in charge at the Bernabéu, Ancelotti’s Madrid romped to domestic success in 2021/22, finishing 13 points clear of rivals Barcelona. It meant the Italian tactician became the first manager in history to win each of Europe’s top five leagues – an achievement which might not be equalled for quite some time.

But the best was yet to come. Having emerged victorious from dramatic battles with Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the Champions League, Los Blancos travelled to the final with a 14th European crown in their sights.

A solitary goal from Vinícius Júnior was enough for them to overcome Liverpool in Paris, and Ancelotti became the first manager to lift the Champions League four times.

Again, we might be waiting a while before somebody else matches that record. Don Carlo indeed.

1. Lionel Scaloni (Argentina)

Article image:🔝 The five best managers of 2022

Arguably no coach on the planet was working under the kind of pressure Scaloni had to deal with in 2022.

Not only was football-mad Argentina hungry for its first World Cup since 1986, but it was Lionel Messi’s last chance to get his hands on the one trophy which had always eluded him.

If Scaloni was going to be the architect of Argentina’s downfall in Qatar and deny Messi is final shot at glory, he would surely never live it down in his homeland.

And when La Albiceleste were beaten by Saudi Arabia in their opening group game, Scaloni might just have been praying for his life.

But the 44-year-old kept his cool and reverted to the methods which had seen him lead Argentina to Copa América glory in 2021.

They bounced back quickly from that shock Saudi Arabia defeat and though there were plenty of other hairy moments along the way, they ultimately booked a daunting date with France in the final.

Scaloni made the decision to reinstate Ángel Di María in his starting line-up for the final and it paid off, with the veteran winger winning the penalty for the first goal before scoring the second.

But Argentina rarely do things the easy way and of course they squandered their two-goal lead in the space of 76 seconds before enduring a nervy extra-time which saw them go in front again, only to be pegged back again and taken to penalties.

Scaloni could only hope and pray that his players would hold their nerve in the shoot-out, and that was exactly what they did.

Let’s be honest, had they not won that shoot-out, Scaloni would not have even made this list. But they did win, Scaloni is a world champion, and football is all about fine margins.