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Which manager has won most leagues across Europe’s big five?

As Real Madrid close in on another LaLiga title, Liverpool and Man City continue to fight it out for the Premier League, all adding to coach honours.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - Real Madrid v Paris St Germain - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - March 9, 2022 Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti celebrates after the match REUTERS/Susana Vera

As we edge ever closer to the end of the European leagues, some title winners are coming into rather clear focus, and one in particular got us considering how managers compared with the number of different league competitions they have collected across the continent’s so-called ‘big five’.

Which manager has won the most different top leagues?

Real Madrid’s last-gasp victory over Sevilla on Sunday had the feeling of securing the LaLiga Santander title for the capital club. Assuming no major disaster - and despite still having a big eye on a 14th European title as they head into a semi-final against Manchester City - Carlo Ancelotti will have helped Los Blancos to be champions of Spain’s top flight for a 35th time, extending their record. But the smooth Italian will be making more history in doing so...

It's not about the total haul here, but about how often you've travelled while winning.
It's not about the total haul here, but about how often you've travelled while winning.

Ancelotti does not have the most league title wins across his managerial peers, but is on the verge of doing something that no other manager is even close to. That is to become champions of each of the big five European competitions, incredibly doing it just once in each.

Although having some time at Juventus at the end of the millennium, Ancelotti only managed UEFA’s Intertoto Cup with the Old Lady. His Italian success came at AC Milan, the Serie A title in 2004, as well as twice winning the Champions League and two domestic cups for good measure.

Next up, a brief spell at nouveau riche Chelsea, where he took them to the Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010. Swapping London for Paris seemed like the next best solution for the Italian and he helped PSG to a 2013 triumph, before packing up again for the Spanish capital. Cups were his thing there, watching his players lift the Champions League, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup… but no league. Rivals Barcelona under newish kid on the block Pep Guardiola were rather a decent opposition.

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So to Germany, and the Bundesliga was captured in 2017 to give him four of a kind, which no other manager has done. He is now looking to lay down a straight flush in the coming weeks. And with Real Madrid taking it high, it is quite clearly going to be seen as a Royal Flush.

Bayern Munich's coach Carlo Ancelotti, wearing traditional attire in Munich, back in 2016.
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Bayern Munich's coach Carlo Ancelotti, wearing traditional attire in Munich, back in 2016.MICHAELA REHLEREUTERS

Historical managerial records assessed

Of course, as the challenge remains for those still in the game to add more honours to their career in the game, we cannot ignore those that came before them. That said, upping sticks and jumping between different leagues is a far more palatable and accessible option these days.

Let’s take a look at Giovanni Trapattoni. Eight titles with one of them outside his native Italy, six with Juventus, one with Inter, and then with Bayern Munich almost a decade later in Germany. He also won took Benfica, RB Salzburg to the Portuguese and Austrian titles respectively in later years.

Fabio Capello, another Italian, led teams to seven championships, this time in Serie A with Milan and LaLiga with Real Madrid. Let’s not mention the two with Juve that were later revoked.

One other factor to take into account is that these comparisons have been made based on the ‘big five’ of recent times. In previous decades the likes of the Portuguese, Dutch and Scottish leagues all had their moments.


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