Good coaches/managers are hard to find, as the prerequisites of coaching a football team require a distinct knowledge of the game as well as having the tactical prowess to approach games.
Managers such as Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, Jurgen Kloop, and a few of those who are in their class have all enjoy great adulation from both the fans and the media.
While those who are silently and impressively doing their job in the dugout ain’t getting enough of praise, while the aforementioned managers have name-recognition, dozens of coaches toil in relative obscurity while producing excellent results.
Some managers are overlooked because either they were successful but never won a major championship, UEFA Champions League, and were not as notable as other coaches or managers that led the same or they simply didn’t have an unforgettable personality.
Here are 7 of Europe’s most underrated coaches who hardly get enough recognition, unlike their comrades.
- Lucian Favre – (Borrusia Dortmund, Switzerland)
Favre is an experienced manager who knows the rudiments of managing a football team in and out. He’s also well known for his dynamic pressing style of play combined with his great attitude of managing big egos in his team.
The former Swiss international may not be as vocal as Mourinho or have a colored resume that highlights the multiple trophies he has won but he’s also a decent manager every employer could bank on to deliver.
The Borussia Dortmund gaffer began his managerial career in Switzerland, where he won two Swiss Cup with FC Zurich and also won the Manager of the Year in the Swiss Super League twice.
Under his tutelage, Zurich 25 year wait for a league title ended when he led the team to a dramatic final day triumph over FC Basel to win the league, which also cumulated into winning the Manager of the Year.
Favre has been able to impress his critics with his ability to handle all of the teams he has managed perfectly, even when they expected him to fail.
Talking of success, he did achieve relatively something great for Borussia Monchengladbach when he was appointed in 2011, taking over a team that was sitting comfortably at the bottom of the league with only 16 points after 22 matches in the league and seven-point adrift of safety.
With a very stringent transfer project at Monchengladbach, Favre was able to revive the team the following season and surpassed all expectations by finishing fourth on the Bundesliga table, which also cumulated in qualifying the side for the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League.
Favre is currently managing the Signal Iduna Park side, as he continues to show that he’s one of Europe’s finest manager, which is quite evident with the way his team plays and also give credence to how brilliant he is tactically. He may not have won the most coveted European club football title. However, Favre is no doubt one of the decent coaches around who don’t often get a lot of praise.
- Marcelino Garcia Toral – (Unattached, Spain)
Marcelino is regarded as a brilliant manager by many fans and one that could guarantee a team title if given the right support and chance to work. The former Villarreal coach is currently unattached, but the event has shown he’s one of Europe’s underrated managers that could deliver when called upon, and without doubt, he’s among the most sought manager currently out of job.
The former Spain U21 handler may be out of a job since 2019. However, his past achievements keep giving credence to the fact that he’s a brilliant manager who doesn’t get enough recognition, unlike his colleagues.
Among some of the achievements he has had with Villarreal, a team he joined in 2013 as a relegated team playing in the Segunda Division. Following his appointment with the Yellow Submarine side, he turned around the fortunes of the team in three seasons and Villarreal finished in the European places in all three seasons under his supervision.
A fantastic achievement for a side that has been relegated the same season he took over before he now brought them back to the topflight.
Marcelino also had a host of spells in the Spanish second and third divisions respectively, notably with Real Zaragoza and Racing Santander, the team he also turned out for as a player.
- Brenden Rodgers – (Leicester City, Northern Ireland)
Rodgers has not only grown into one of the most exciting, brilliant, and respected managers in the Premier League, he has grown into one of the finest managers in the world for his tactical skillset and swashbuckling kind of football with every team he’s been able to manage.
The former Swansea manager kicked start his managerial career as a young coach still learning the ropes in 2004 when he was spotted by Jose Mourinho to come handle Chelsea’s academy team under the reign of Abramovich’s takeover.
Rodgers was so good that it didn’t take long before he made it into professional management with Watford in the Championship, having taken over from Malky Mackay, and guided the team to 13th position in his first season.
Thereafter he joined Swansea City in 2009, where he made a name for himself, having guided the team to third place in the Championship, and also won the playoffs which led them into the Premier League in his first season with the side.
The following season Swansea finished the campaign in 11th position, an achievement that attracted a lot of suitors to him bearing in mind that a newly promoted team more often than not usually don’t find it so easy to play in the topflight. However, surprisingly under Rodgers they performed brilliantly and won big matches against eventual title winners Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal.
His ever impressive, attractive, and consistent free-flowing football style didn’t go unnoticed. He landed the Liverpool job in 2012 following the dismissal of Kenny Dalglish, having been regarded as one of the brilliant managers in British football. Rodgers was tasked to resuscitate the low confidence of the Liverpool team and to also return them back to the heights of English and European football.
Although Rodgers couldn’t win the league for the Kop, despite having one of the most glaring opportunity to achieve that feat with Liverpool in the 2013-14 campaign, with Luis Suarez firing from all cylinders and ended the league as the team top goalscorer in all competitions.
During those periods, signs of his attractive playing style were evident in the team and Liverpool finished second competing for the title until the last game of the season.
Following his dismissal at Anfield, he left for Celtic in 2016 where he went on to dominate the Scottish league, winning seven domestic trophies, before he left for Leicester City in 2019 where he has also continued his tactical prowess.
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- Ernesto Valverde – (Unattached, Spain)
The former Barcelona coach has been without a job, although he is seen as the possible candidate for the Basque club for a possible third stint.
For some football enthusiasts who really don’t know about the trajectory of Valverde, he came out of a year sabbatical to take up the Espanyol job in 2006 and he dragged them to the final of the UEFA Cup in 2007, which Espanyol eventually lost to eventual winner Sevilla in Glasgow.
He left for the Greek giants in 2008 to further continue upgrading his resume with Olympiacos. On getting to Greece in his first season he won the league and cup double for the Athens side, before leaving for Villarreal for a short spell in Spain.
Valverde returned to Greece to be in charge of Olympiacos for his second spell, and he yet again achieved success with the Greek giants with two league titles and one Greek Cup.
In 2013 he returned to Athletic Bilbao, qualifying for the Champions League in his first year and also reaching the final of the 2015 Spanish Cup. In 2015-16 he helped the Basque team to their first trophy in 31 years following their triumph over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, and also took them to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
His career at the Camp Nou may not have ended the way he wanted when he was sent packing. However, the former Bilbao gaffer will always look back at his stint with the Catalan side and feel proud of himself, having won four trophies, two league titles, one Copa Del Rey, and the Supercopa de Espana.
Valverde as a manager has been able to achieve 213 La Liga games won in his career, an impressive feat which ranks him fifth among managers who have achieved such.
- Julian Nagelsman – (RB Leipzig, Germany)
At age 33, Nagelsman became the youngest manager to win a UEFA Champions League knockout tie, leading his team to their first-ever semi-final in the biggest European club competition.
Nagelsman’s success so far as a manager wouldn’t have been possible if not for the high risk some of the Bundesliga clubs give to young managers to showcase what they’ve got.
This was clearly evident when a young and inexperience Ralph Hasenhuttl promoted Ingolstadt to the topflight, and also went on to set a record with RB Leipzig, securing the highest point which has never been secured by a newly promoted team when he led them to second place in the 2016-17 campaign.
The ‘Baby Mourinho’ as he is fondly called was first appointed as the head coach of 1899 Hoffenheim in 2015 but took over officially when Huub Stevens stepped down from his role as head coach, as when he resumed duty he became the youngest ever permanent manager in the history of the league at the age of 28.
The most talked-about and one of the best managers in Germany now didn’t even have the licenses required to lead the team but was given the green light by the German Football Authority to manage Hoffenheim.
Despite his appointment been mocked all over the country by critics, he managed to help the village club avoid relegation finishing 15th, and since then he’s grown from strength to strength with his managerial career at RB Leipzig, leading a side that plays a swashbuckling brand of football in Europe.
- Thomas Tuchel – (Paris Saint Germain, Germany)
Like Nagelsman, like Tuchel, the German tactician began his managerial career in Germany with Mainz, one of the decent football teams in Germany that helped him honed his craft as a manager.
Tuchel’s time came when he was appointed to lead Mainz as a manager in 2009 at age 36 after been behind the bar as a barman. He was brought in following the dismissal of his predecessors Jorn Andersen, who couldn’t qualify the team from the first round DFB Cup lost to lower league side VFB Lubeck.
Following his appointment, despite Mainz just recently promoted to the top flight, he steered the team to a ninth position in his debut season. In his second season, he earned Mainz a place at the top of the table and got them to play in the UEFA Europa League for the first time in the history of the club after finishing the 2011-12 league season in fifth position.
During his time at Mainz, Thomas Tuchel earned himself a reputation as one of German football’s most tactically brilliant young managers, and he also remains the most successful coach even ahead of Kloop in Mainz’s history with 1.41 per game won, compared to Kloop’s 1.13 per game in the 2005-06 season.
His impressive performances got him the Borussia Dortmund job after a year sabbatical leave, he replaced Jurgen Kloop at the Signal Iduna Park. Tuchel didn’t waste much time in achieving success with Dortmund, he helped the Die Schwarzgelbe finished runners-up in 2015-16.
He also took them to the DFB Cup glory the following year, plus setting a record in the history of Dortmund with an average of 2.09 points per game, until current manager Lucien Favre came to town and broke the record with 2.11
His stint only lasted two seasons at the Signal Iduna Park and since he has gone on to join Paris Saint Germain, where he won his first Ligue 1 title in his maiden season which cumulated into many more trophies after that.
Despite the fact that he took the French side to the final of the Champions League against Bayern Munich last season which they lost narrowly to the German giant, critics still don’t regard him as one of Europe’s finest managers.
- Gian Piero Gasperini – (Atalanta, Italy)
Gasp’s attacking style of play has not only seen his team dispatched bigger teams but has also dealt with smaller teams both in Seria A and Europe.
Gasperini may not be as young as some of the new generation managers in football, but he is arguably one of the best managers in football and certainly a revolutionary manager doing impressive work with the Bergamo side since he arrived in the 2016-17 season from Genoa.
The former Genoa manager attacking front three of Zapata, IIicic, and Papu Gomez is no doubt three of Seria A’s best-attacking players, which is evident in all of the matches and with the total of goals they’ve scored combined.
When Gasp was appointed in 2017, the objective of Atalanta was to avoid the drop, surprisingly he took Atalanta into the mid-table for the first time in over two decades which led The Goddess to play in Europe.
Although Gasperini has had his ups and downs as a manager with Inter Milan. During those torrid time with Inter, his methods and tactics were constantly criticized by the fans and within a year he was dismissed after a poor run of results.
He returned to Genoa, following a short stint at Palermo before he eventually left for Bergamo where he was seen as the right candidate to maintain their Seria A status. And since then, the Bergamo club stories both in Italy and Europe has changed for good, with their free-flowing style of play and results-wise on the pitch.
Gasperini, may not be well revered like the Mourinho’s or Klopp’s, but then he’s no doubt one of Europe’s brilliant coach.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)