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Survival of the fittest

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Over the course of the last decade, we have seen a number of managers transform their clubs from also-rans to bonafide contenders. Someone that you may feel should be included on this list is Pep Guardiola. During his seven years in charge of Manchester City, he has turned the Etihad club into the team to beat, completing a famous treble last season, just the second in the history of English football.

However, as impressive as the iconic Spaniard’s tenure has been in the Northwest, there can be no denying the riches he has had at his disposal to catapult him to success. He has forked out an eye-watering amount of money during his time with the Blues and that has no doubt helped him endlessly in his quest to create the greatest football team the planet has ever seen. But not all managers have been so lucky.

Here are what we feel are the four best current stints by active managers.

Diego Simeone – Atletico Madrid

What can we say about El Cholo, Diego Simeone? The maverick Argentine has been in charge at Los Rojiblancos since 2011 and his decade-plus in charge, firstly at the Vicente Calderon and then at the Wanda Metropolitano, has seen him completely revolutionize the club. When he took over, Madrid’s second team was languishing way down in the second half of the Spanish top flight and was in dire need of a rebuild.

He managed to lead his club to the Europa League in just his first six months in charge and at the time many felt that was as good as it would get. How wrong they were. With a modest transfer budget at his disposal, Simeone assembled a side built on grit and determination, with defenders such as Diego Godin and Miranda as well as long-term captain Gabi personifying everything their manager stands for. He has also blooded youngsters such as Koke and Saul, and they have led the club to twice win La Liga, as well as reaching two Champions League finals.

In recent years, Simeone’s success has brought plenty of extra funds to Los Rojiblancos’ coffers and in turn has afforded him the luxury of bringing in superstars such as Joao Felix as well as bringing Antoine Griezmann back to the club from Barcelona. That in turn has given El Cholo the opportunity to move away from his solid defensive style of play into a more expansive 3-5-2 system, with everything flowing through his French attacking sensation. This season, his team looks set on powering into the Champions League knockout round and also battling it out for La Liga once more.

Jurgen Klopp – Liverpool

When Jurgen Klopp took over Liverpool, the Reds were a shadow of their former selves. Despite Brendan Rodgers leading them to the brink of the title in 2014, the sale of Luis Suarez and the subsequent wasting of the £75m that the club received for him left the club languishing in midtable. But the success they would go on to achieve, without huge backing from the club’s owners, has been simply unbelievable.

Like Simeone, Klopp also reached the Europa League final in his maiden campaign with the club however, they came out on the losing side with specialists Sevilla coming from behind to win 3-1 in Basel. Since then, though, that disappointment has been left firmly in the rearview mirror.

In 2018, Klopp’s new-look Reds spearheaded by fearsome attacking trident Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino reached the Champions League final. There, they would lose to Real Madrid in Kyiv but they wouldn’t make the same mistake the following year, defeating Tottenham 2-0 to lift the famous Big-Eared trophy for the sixth time in the club’s history.

That same year, Klopp’s Reds went toe-to-toe with Manchester City for the Premier League title and ended up losing out on the final day of the season by just one point. The following year they would right that wrong, lifting their first Premier League title in almost three years.

Throughout a five-year spell – with this being the epicenter – Liverpool and City were the two finest teams on the planet, but there was significantly less money at Anfield than there was at the Etihad, making Klopp’s tenure all the more impressive. This term, the Reds are a contender once more, and if you like to bet live on sports at Bovada, you’ll have noticed them as the +350 third favorites for the title.

Christian Streich – Freiburg

Christian Streich might not be known to everyone, but he’s certainly known within German football. For those who don’t know, he is the manager of Freiburg, a Bundesliga team that has been punching above their weight for years. None more so than in recent times when they have risen through the ranks of the German footballing system to qualify for the Europa League. In fact, last term, they missed out on a spot in the Champions League by just one point.

He has been managing the German side since 2011 and has made them a genuine threat in the Bundesliga. Despite having a small budget, Streich has created a team that is renowned for its hard work and attacking style of play. His achievement of leading Freiburg to the Europa League for the first time in their history was nothing short of remarkable.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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