Last month, the FIFA Football Committee and FIFA’s Technical and Development Committee drew up a shortlist of candidates for the inaugural FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award. Their selection will now be scrutinised and voted on by national team coaches and captains, and journalists from all around the world, with the winner to be announced on 10 January at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala. FIFA.com now runs the rule over the ten exceptional tacticians up for this special honour.
Carlo Ancelotti (ITA), Chelsea
It may have only been his first season in the Chelsea dugout, but the former AC Milan coach brought an immediate end to the three-year Premier League reign of Manchester United and added the FA Cup for good measure. His side played with plenty of attacking panache too as they notched up a league record tally of 103 goals.
Vicente del Bosque (ESP), Spain national team
The former Real Madrid coach led Spain to 2010 FIFA World Cup™ glory after putting together a perfect ten wins from ten games in qualifying. Known worldwide for their spectacular, clinical football, Del Bosque’s charges also proved themselves to be remarkably solid at the back, racking up four consectuive clean sheets during the knockout stages of South Africa 2010.
Alex Ferguson (SCO), Manchester United
Sir Alex has racked up every title going in his 24 years at United, and the Old Trafford outfit have plundered just short of 2,500 goals in more than 1,300 games under his stewardship. The 2009/10 season proved less successful on the silverware front as United failed to clinch a fourth straight league crown, although they did add another League Cup and Community Shield to their long list of honours.
Pep Guardiola (ESP), Barcelona
The youngest coach ever to win the UEFA Champions League when he led Barcelona to glory in 2009, Guardiola has remained loyal to the attacking philosophy of his former coach at the Camp Nou, Johan Cruyff. He followed up his sensational maiden campaign at the Barça helm by clinching a second successive Liga title courtesy of a record tally of 99 points.
Joachim Low (GER), Germany national team
Germany’s 1-0 loss to Spain in the semi-finals at South Africa 2010 could not overshadow their spectacular 4-1 win over England and 4-0 triumphy over Argentina in the preceding rounds. Despite operating with the youngest team in their history at the world finals in the absence of several key figures, including Michael Ballack, Low’s men turned heads with their audacious, forward-thinking approach. They have since continued where they left off, impressing in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying with football that remains both attractive to watch and effective.
Jose Mourinho (POR), Inter Milan/Real Madrid
The Portuguese tactician led Inter to a league, cup and Champions League treble - an unprecedented feat in the Italian game. The third coach to claim Europe’s most prestigious club prize with two different outfits after first hitting the heights with Porto in 2004, he left for Real Madrid in the summer hoping to become the first to lift the trophy with a third club and lead Los Merengues to their tenth continental crown.
Oscar Tabarez (URU), Uruguay national team
They required a play-off win against Costa Rica to take their place at South Africa 2010, but Uruguay went on to reach the last four, celebrating their first semi-final finish on the global stage in 40 years. Beyond the individual talents of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, Tabarez’s side managed to combine Uruguay’s traditional combativeness – their celebrated garra charrua – with potent attacking play and an exceptional team ethic.
Louis van Gaal (NED), Bayern Munich
The Dutchman enjoyed a particularly successful maiden campaign with Bayern, securing honours in the Bundesliga and German Cup and leading his side to the Champions League final. What made those achievements all the more impressive were Bayern’s catastrophic start to the season and a seemingly endless list of injuries from beginning to end.
Bert van Marwijk (NED), Netherlands national team
Two years after taking over from Marco van Basten, Van Marwijk exceeded the expectations of many observers by guiding the Netherlands to the FIFA World Cup Final. The cool and pragmatic coach succeeded in forging a top-quality team from a collection of forthright personalities and led them all the way to a Soccer City showdown with Spain, where they were finally undone late in extra time.
Arsene Wenger (FRA), Arsenal
An apostle of fluid, attacking play, Wenger has overseen more than 800 matches since taking the Arsenal helm in 1996. He amassed his 1,000th point with the Gunners on 31 October 2009 and is rightly confident of challenge for titles at home and abroad this year, having built a young and exciting line-up.