The Finalists

  • Claudio RANIERI

  • ITA
  • Claudio Ranieri achieved the seemingly impossible with Leicester City. The Foxes were ranked 5000/1 by some bookmakers to win the 2015/16 English Premier League title when the Italian first took charge in July 2015 – the same odds as Elvis Presley being found alive and conclusive proof of the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. While it seemed that staving off relegation was the best Leicester could hope for before the campaign began, Ranieri would go on to inspire his charges, instilling an unrivalled team spirit as Leicester went on to incredibly win the Premier League against all odds, and claim the club’s first-ever top-flight title in their 132-year history.
Fernando SANTOS
  • Fernando SANTOS

  • POR
  • An electrical and telecommunications engineer by trade, Fernando Santos earned a place in footballing history by steering Portugal to their first major title at UEFA EURO 2016. In getting the most out of a side built around its undisputed leader in Cristiano Ronaldo, Santos applied his philosophy of “strength and unity”, instilling genuine team spirit among his players. Tactically astute and methodical in his approach, Santos fashioned a tightly knit side that proved solid in defence and lethal up front. With his substitutes playing just as crucial a role in Portugal’s success as his first-choice players, Santos once again displayed his game management skills and an innate ability to deploy his players in response to the situation.
Zinedine ZIDANE
  • Zinedine ZIDANE

  • FRA
  • In his first season as a Real Madrid player, Zinedine Zidane delivered the club’s ninth UEFA Champions League title. His maiden campaign in the Bernabeu dugout was no less momentous, as he led the Merengues to European Cup number 11 and became just the seventh man to win the competition as both a player and a coach. After being appointed to replace Rafael Benitez in January 2016, the Frenchman promptly set about turning around the fortunes of a team that had looked destined for another trophyless season. He may have fallen just short of overhauling Barcelona in the league, despite victory in El Clasico, but he more than made up for that by guiding his side to European glory. 

The other candidates

  • Chris COLEMAN

  • WAL
  • This time last year, Chris Coleman found his name listed amongst the nominees to win the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football for the very first time, and an eye-catching 12 months with Wales has seen history repeat itself. Having led the Dragons to an all-time best finish at a major competition in reaching the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2016, Coleman undoubtedly registered a new high water-mark in his career. Having played some exciting and memorable football in making it to the final four – most notably in beating Belgium 3-1 in the quarter-finals – they captured the support of neutrals around the world. Coleman also saw success on the ranking front too, seeing Wales climb to their highest-ever placing of tenth in September, after kicking off their quest to reach a first FIFA World Cup™ in 60 years.
  • Didier DESCHAMPS

  • FRA
  • France coach Didier Deschamps’ status as a legend spans more than 20 years and revolves around his uncanny knack of getting the best out of the players around him and leading them to victory. He was renowned for this gift as a talismanic captain during his playing days, and nothing has changed since he turned his hand to coaching. Following a run to the quarter-finals at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, his France team have really pushed on. They rose back into the top ten of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking and overcame world champions Germany to reach the final of UEFA EURO 2016 on home turf, where they were beaten in extra time by Portugal. 

  • ESP
  • After ending 2015 with victory in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan and then picking up the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award at the start of 2016, Luis Enrique has maintained his very high standards, collecting three more titles in his second season as Barcelona coach: La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup. One trophy that evaded his grasp, however, was the UEFA Champions League title, with his side losing out to eventual runners-up Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals. The Asturian coach has stuck firmly to his belief in rotating players, demonstrating his ability to manage a dressing room packed with stellar talent.

  • ESP
  • The Spanish coach rounded off his three-year stay with Bayern Munich in style, winning the Bundesliga, German Cup and Super Cup titles, though the UEFA Champions League eluded him once more. For a third season running, the German club lost out to Spanish opposition in the semi-finals, this time to Atletico Madrid. Guardiola has now taken on a new challenge with English Premier League side Manchester City. Sticking to his principles, he promptly embarked on a major overhaul of his squad and began his tenure with an impressive 11-match winning run.
Jürgen KLOPP
  • Jürgen KLOPP

  • GER
  • Jurgen Klopp took charge of Liverpool in October 2015, introducing himself as ‘The Normal One’. Yet there is nothing ordinary about the German coach. He expresses his passion for the game in an inimitable style on the touchline, tirelessly and emotionally driving his players onwards. A feature of his teams is an aggressive and dynamic style of play, characterised by a hard-running, counter-pressing strategy. Klopp led the Reds into the UEFA Europa League final in his first season, having earlier pulled off a minor miracle against his former club Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final second leg at Anfield. They lost the title-decider 3-1 against FC Sevilla in May 2016. Time will tell whether or not Klopp will finally win silverware again for a club with such a rich tradition, but the English side’s board of management firmly believes he can, as they showed in handing him a contract extension until 2022.
  • Mauricio POCHETTINO

  • ARG
  • The very fact that, for the first time since the English Premier League was established in 1992, Tottenham Hotspur were involved in a title race that went down to the wire speaks volumes about the extraordinary season Mauricio Pochettino had as coach. In his second year in the Spurs dugout, the Argentinian continued to put his faith in the club’s youthful talents to play attractive, bold and effective football. He led Tottenham to their first top-three finish since 1990, thereby securing qualification for the UEFA Champions League for the third time in the club’s history. His ability to improve players has even influenced the England national team: five Tottenham regulars formed the backbone of the Three Lions’ side at UEFA EURO 2016 in France.
  • Diego SIMEONE

  • ARG
  • Diego Simeone again went close to a European triumph in 2016 after finishing as a UEFA Champions League runner-up for the second time in three years. His Atletico Madrid side lost to Real Madrid on penalties in the final, but did manage to knock out Barcelona and Bayern Munich en route. In his fifth year as coach of Los Colchoneros, Atletico were once again involved in the Spanish league title race until the very end before finishing just three points behind champions Barcelona. He succeeded in polishing the rough diamond that was France’s Antoine Griezmann, and despite the departures of key players such as Mario Mandzukic, Miranda and Arda Turan, Simeone was able to replace them with less well-known faces like Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Stefan Savic, among others.