Club Day: Real Madrid – The Best Managers

As part of our Club Day programme, we bring you the best coaches to have been in charge of the Spanish and European giants Real Madrid…..

Arthur Johnson (1910-1920) 

Arthur Johnson was the first coach of Real Madrid and was in charge of the club between 1910 and 1920. The Englishman won the Spanish Cup five times with the Merengues. 

Miguel Munoz (1959; 1960-1974) 

Miguel Munoz Mozun was the club’s first really successful manager and is still Real Madrid’s longest serving and most successful coach to date. Under Munoz, Real played a very attacking and entertaining football and absolutely dominated Spanish football. They won the league five times in a row (1961-1965) and then thrice in a row (1967-1969). Munoz also led Real to the European Cup conquest in 1956 and 1957. 

Luis Molowny (1974; 1977-1979; 1982; 1985-1986) 

Luis Molowny Arbelo managed Real Madrid for four times between 1974 and 1986 and won a total of 9 trophies with the Whites. He led Real to three League triumphs and two UEFA cup conquests during his reign. 

Vicente del Bosque (1994; 1996; 1999-2003) 

Vicente del Bosque is one of the most successful coaches of Real Madrid of all time and the most successful one in recent years. He first managed the club in 1994 but only for a couple of months and then returned as the coach for one game in 1996 and was given the job full time only in 1999-2000.  Del Bosque immediately repaid his bosses the faith they had fostered in him. He led Real Madrid to the UEFA Champions League conquest in 2000 and then the Spanish league in 2001. Del Bosque won the European Cup again in 2002 and then led Real to the Spanish league in 2003.  

Under Del Bosque Real Madrid played a very attacking football helped of course by the Galacticos such as Luis Figo, Raul, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo. Del Bosque was reputed to be very much popular with the players as he was able to maintain harmony and comradeship in the dressing room, a remarkable accomplishment given the amount of ego on display. 

Vicente del Bosque managed to win 104 matches out of a possible 186 at Real Madrid. The man from Salamanca gifted the perfect football to the Bernabeu faithful and was hugely popular with the supporters as well. But it was rumoured tat there was a political split at the club during his time, with him and several players including Fernando Hierro on one side and the then club president Florentino Perez and the then sporting director Jorge Valdano on the other. Del Bosque’s contract was not renewed at the end of the 2002-2003 season. 

Fabio Capello (1996-1997; 2006-2007) 

Italian hardman Fabio Capello, often so vilified in Spain and said to be archetypal of Italian coaches, was in charge of the club for two years, one year in each spell. His first spell was in the 1996-1997 season when he led Real to La Liga triumph even though it was FC Barcelona who played the better football that season. Capello was sort of defensive in his tactics at the time but still managed to win the league for Real.  Fabio Capello and Real Madrid parted company at the end of that season.

He was again drafted into the Real Madrid unit in the summer of 2006. Real hadn’t won a major silverware in three years and Capello was asked to restore the club’s glory days. Which he did but did it in his “ugly” and “boring” Italianized way. He was accused of being ultra-defensive and often played with two defensive midfielders and adopting a caution-first approach.  

Nevertheless he did what he did the first time he was in charge of the club: pip bitter rivals FC Barcelona to the title, only this time Real did so on the final day of the season. 

And like the last time, this time too Fabio Capello was asked to leave at the end of the season. He is not a popular person at all at the Bernabue and his footballing philosophy is almost dramatically opposite to what the Madrid supporters foster but two league titles in two seasons in two separate spells do demonstrate the caliber of the Italian. 

Subhankar Mondal