Mourinho, Guardiola & the nominees for's Coach of the Season in La Liga

The Real Madrid trainer and the Barcelona boss are among the candidates in the running to win our end-of-season award
La Liga has been decided. The best team, in the end, was Real Madrid. The capital club beat Barcelona to the title while Valencia came in third and Malaga claimed fourth and the last Champions League place. Europa League winners Atletico Madrid followed in fifth, Levante finished sixth to qualify for European competition for the first time in their history, while Zaragoza, Rayo Vallecano and Granada all avoided relegation on a dramatic last day which saw Villarreal condemned to the drop.

But who was the best coach? looks at La Liga's best trainers from 2011-12, with the winner revealed in the coming days. Have your say in the comments section and vote in the poll below. Here are the nominees.


The best coach in the history of Barcelona is ending his four-year spell at the Catalan club. Pep leaves the Blaugrana behind after four fantastic seasons at Camp Nou, although his side suffered more than before this term as they finished second to fierce rivals Real Madrid in La Liga.

Adrian Boullosa, Spain

In just four seasons at Camp Nou, Guardiola has claimed three Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, two Champions Leagues, three Spanish Supercopas, two Uefa Super Cups and two Club World Cups. Win the Copa del Rey on May 25 and it will be 14 titles for Pep as coach at the Catalan club. Impressive.
Barca remained true to their style in the Primera Division, racking up a series of crushing victories at Camp Nou but hitting more problems away from home, where dropped points allowed Madrid to take control in the race for the title.

Guardiola is exhausted, but will leave with his head held high: he has created a dream team around his star player, Lionel Messi, and has consistently managed to get the best out of his brilliant Argentine forward.

Pep announced his departure late last month and will leave the club he loves in the hands of his assistant, Tito Vilanova, who is set to take over from his friend in the summer.

But Barca's season, which has already yielded a Spanish Supercopa, a Uefa Super Cup and a Club World Cup, is not over yet as Guardiola looks to add the Copa del Rey to his haul of 13 trophies in the last four years. Win or lose, his legend status is guaranteed.


When Manolo Jimenez arrived at Zaragoza earlier this season, it was seen as an act of faith. The Aragonese appeared condemned to relegation as they occupied last position in the table; confidence was low and conflicts at an institutional level further complicated an already desperate situation.

Adrian Boullosa, Spain

Manolo Jimenez avoided the drop for Zaragoza against all odds. Acting as both mediator and motivator, the former Sevilla coach inspired an improbable comeback.
Jimenez began badly. After arriving at La Romareda, the former Sevilla coach saw his side crash to several defeats at a critical time. He had had enough, or so it seemed.

"I am ashamed," he said. "But only rats jump from sinking ships." He was determined to continue and those strong words produced the required reaction from his players. The comeback started in earnest.

Zaragoza found form all of a sudden and a series of victories gave the club a chance with several rounds of the Primera Division remaining. Still, however, survival hopes were slim. But an incredible five wins from their last six matches saw the Aragons secure survival as Villarreal went down on a dramatic final day of action. And much of the credit for their preserved Primera Division status must go to Jimenez.


Luis Garcia received high praise after leading Levante to salvation last season, so replacing him looked anything but easy for incoming boss Juan Ignacio Martinez.

Adrian Boullosa, Spain

With just €23 million, Levante's spending budget is the lowest in La Liga, some 20 times less than that of Madrid and Barcelona. Malaga, Atletico, Sevilla and Valencia were able to spend four times as much.
Nevetheless, the former Cartagena coach got off to a brilliant start and after two draws, he led Levante to a famous victory over Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid at the Ciutat de Valencia.

The club even briefly led La Liga at one stage and kept their run going long after others had written them off to remain in the Champions League places after Christmas. It was only after a run of defeats that they eventually started dropping down the table.

Still, the Valencia-based side continued to punch above their weight right until the end of the campaign and ended up in the Europa League thanks to an impressive 3-1 win at home to Athletic Bilbao on the last day of the season. An unexpected but thoroughly deserved success story.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid needed a special season after three years living in the shadows of Barcelona, and Jose Mourinho delivered it, leading the capital club to the Primera Division title at the second time of asking. And they did it in spectacular style.

Adrian Boullosa, Spain

Madrid's media blackout allowed Mourinho to get on with his work behind the scenes and shield himself behind assistant Aitor Karanka. The 49-year-old stayed silent in tricky times and that helped his side focus on the task in hand.
Often accused of being a defensive coach, Mourinho saw his Madrid side hit 121 league goals in 2011-12 to smash the record of 107 held by John Toshack's Real outfit of 1989-90. They also claimed victory in all of the league's most emblematic stadiums, including Camp Nou, to lift the Primera Division trophy with an unprecedented haul of 100 points.

The Portuguese had always claimed his second season in charge would be an improvement on his first, and after winning the Copa del Rey in 2010-11, the former Chelsea and Inter boss attained an even bigger prize this term.

Having confirmed he will stay on for a third season at the Santiago Bernabeu, Mourinho can now work without pressure, in full knowledge that the seeds of success are already sown in Spain.

The 49-year-old will look to bolster the squad with at least two additions this summer as Madrid seek to strengthen their hold domestically and regain the bragging rights once and for all in Spanish football. A 10th European Cup success for Madrid is also in Mourinho's sights in 2012-13.

DIEGO SIMEONE | Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone arrived as a supposed saviour for Atletico Madrid following the forgettable reign of Gregorio Manzano. The Argentine immediately tightened things at the back and Atleti showed a marked improvement as they made their way up the table.

Adrian Boullosa, Spain

Simeone has quickly instilled his philosophy at Atletico, who are now playing with a high-tempo game, with complete commitment and doing damage on the counterattack. At times, it has looked devastating.
The capital club struggled for consistency at times and ultimately missed out on Champions League qualification on the final day of the campaign, despite a narrow win at Villarreal which saw the Yellow Submarine lose their top-flight status.

However, over a whole season things would surely have been different and Simeone will be charged with leading the side back into Europe's elite next term.

There was plenty of continental cheer for Atletico, though, as Simeone's side won the Europa League by beating Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in Bucharest earlier this month.

Now the key will be to build on that success, although the first priority will be retaining the services of star striker Radamel Falcao, who could leave the club this summer due to a lack of Champions League football at the Vicente Calderon.