The 3 best and worst managers in the Champions League this season
The 2017/18 season is over with the FIFA World Cup approaching. However, this campaign has been an exciting one filled with memorable moments; most especially where managers are concerned. We've witnessed tactical genius, alongside some failed managerial performances in Europe over the last twelve months. For the Premier League, the best and worst managers have been ranked. It's now time to reveal the greatest flops and best tacticians of the Champions League
3 - Rui Vitoria (SL Benfica)
Can you imagine a manager bringing his team into a competition and leaving without securing a single point? Rui Vitoria managed exactly that, as his SL Benfica got eliminated from Group A; losing all six games in the process. A forgettable campaign for the Portuguese heavyweights.
It's not as if they were drawn against huge European forces like FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, or Paris Saint-Germain, either. Instead, they faced Manchester United, CSKA Moscow and FC Basel. You'd imagine that, at the very least, Benfica should have been able to beat Moscow or Basel at home. Heck, even the Red Devils didn't perform in Europe this term. This just highlights how badly Vitoria struggled across the continent.
2 - Leonardo Jardim (AS Monaco)
Take a look back to the 2016/17 season, AS Monaco were flying under Leonardo Jardim. Now, though, it seems both have now lost their chemistry. Losing key players like Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Kylian Mbappe certainly played a part in that.
Being pitted against RB Leipzig, Besiktas and FC Porto shouldn't have made qualification process mission impossible for Monaco, but they struggled from the outset. The-then Ligue 1 champions couldn't muster up a single victory, finishing bottom of their group on just two points. Jardim must definitely go back to the drawing board, figure out what went wrong and come back stronger in the next edition; as he does have a decent squad at his disposal.
1 - Ernesto Valverde (FC Barcelona)
Here's the first major name on our list. Ernesto Valverde’s tactical mistake sent Barcelona packing from the Champions League in unlikely circumstances. The Catalans were deemed favorites for the coveted trophy but lost at the quarterfinal in an embarrassing fashion.
Before Barca visited the Stadio Olimpico, they were enjoying an unbeaten tournament, with Lionel Messi at the forefront (obviously). Valverde's men headed to Rome with a 4-1 advantage, but criminally, the gaffer set his team up in a defensive manner, inviting AS Roma to attack their frail defence. The Serie A side won 3-0 and progressed on away goals.
3. Eusebio Di Francesco (AS Roma)
Eusebio Di Francesco has really shaken up Europe with his tactical prowess over the last twelve months. At the season's beginning, nobody would have guessed that the Giallrossi would make it to the Champions League semi-finals. Their 48-year-old leader made that dream a reality.
From the group stage, Francesco has been relentless. Roma came out as bosses of their group leaving both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in their wake; the latter fell into the Europa League. Shakhtar Donetsk aren't mugs either, with the Italian side beating their Ukrainian counterparts 3-1 on aggregate.
The manner in which Roma overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit against Barcelona was dramatic. They played like a possessed beast and manhandled the Catalans for 90 minutes. Francesco's men scored three unanswered goals from Barcelona to complete arguably the famous comeback in the competition’s history.
Unfortunately, Francesco struggled to get to grips with Liverpool's swashbuckling style. Roma did make the tie somewhat exciting though, winning the second leg 4-2. Eventually, their time ran out and it wasn't enough. They were beaten 7-6 on aggregate.
2. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
The German has proven his true worth to the beautiful game by firing his team to a Champions League final. We're now seeing exactly what Liverpool are capable of, showing that all Jurgen Klopp needed was time.
Liverpool are now feared across the continent, no team wants to go toe-to-toe with them; just look at what they did to Premier League champions Manchester City. You just know the Red Men are always good for a goal or two, particularly when their front three are fully fit and firing.
As runners-up, Liverpool's achievement is visible for all to see, they're a side on the up. Klopp's already added Naby Keita and Fabinho to his team. Don't be surprised if we see them go deep into the competition next year...
1. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)
No justification is required. Our number one has to be Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman has made the Champions League crown his own personal trophy; winning three in a row. In fact, he's never tasted defeat in European football. Sure, it certainly helps when you've got world-class players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale at your disposal, but the Real Madrid legend certainly deserves credit for what he's achieved in his short stint as a manager.
Although it was shocking, you have to admire his decision to walk away from the Santiago Bernabeu. He's left Madrid on a high note with his legacy at Los Blancos remaining completely intact.