UEFA Champions League

Top five managers with most Champions League appearances 

Jimit Bhavsar

May 13 2023
managers with most Champions League appearances 

A look at the most experienced and successful managers in UEFA Champions League history

The UEFA Champions League is arguably the best club competition in which top clubs from Europe’s best leagues battle it out. The UCL has had its share of legendary and iconic players such as Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, and much more. Behind every successful team is a manager who leads them to glory.

Managers such as Luis Enrique, and Jurgen Klopp are honorable mentions in terms of iconic moments in the UEFA Champions League. However, let’s take a look at the top five managers with the most games managed in the UCL.

5. Jose Mourinho – 151

Often referred to as the ” Special One” in football has a knack for winning trophies everywhere he goes. The Portuguese manager has won an astounding 25 trophies in his managerial career. Mourinho is arguably the only one to have pulled off the impossible. Jose Mourinho with his tactical knowledge guided Porto to win the UEFA Champions League in 2003. The underdogs Porto even beat Manchester United in the semi-finals of the 2003 Champions League. Another remarkable feat includes winning the UEFA Champions League in 2010 with Inter Milan.

Jose Mourinho marked his Serie A debut as a manager in 2010 after leaving Chelsea. Mourinho’s Inter Milan beat Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in the semifinals which is arguably the greatest team of all time. Moreover, Inter Milan then went on to beat German giants Bayern Munich in the finals.

4. Pep Guardiola – 158

Premier League Pep GuardiolaPep Guardiola is regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time

The Spanish manager is a Barcelona legend both as a player and manager. Despite failing to win the UEFA Champions League with both Bayern Munich and Manchester City, Pep has achieved wonders with Barcelona.

The 2009-2011 FC Barcelona side is arguably the greatest team of all time. Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona beat Manchester United twice in the 2009 and 2011 UEFA Champions League finals respectively. At the time, Manchester United were at the peak of their powers. Despite this, FC Barcelona managed to beat the Red Devils with Lionel Messi being a key player.

Pep Guardiola has now once again come close to winning the ultimate trophy for Manchester City. Despite losing against Chelsea in Manchester City’s first-ever UCL final, Pep Guardiola has not given up as City host Madrid in the second leg.

3. Arsene Wenger – 188

The Arsenal manager was the only one who posed a threat against Sir Alex Ferguson’s dominant Manchester United reign. Arsene Wenger even managed to win the Premier League title as the ” Invincibles” going undefeated. However, when it came to the UEFA Champions League, Wenger’s Arsenal did not succeed.

Just like Manchester City, Arsenal also had their first UEFA Champions League final appearance back in the 2005-06 season. Arsenal lost against Spanish giants FC Barcelona in the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League final. The likes of Samuel Eto’o, Puyol, and many more pulled through as Arsenal failed to capitalize on their one-goal lead. Despite not winning the final, Wenger’s side beat Real Madrid, Villarreal, and Juventus, enroute to the final without conceding a goal. This showed how good they were under Arsene Wenger, especially in the UCL.

2. Sir Alex Ferguson – 190

The ethereal figure in the history of football, the greatest of the greatest, Sir Alex Ferguson is bound to be on this list. He has won an astounding 48 trophies as a manager which includes two UEFA Champions League titles. Sir Alex Ferguson dominated the Premier League winning 13 titles. However, his Manchester United side was quite dangerous as well in the UEFA Champions League.

Sir Alex Ferguson won the UEFA Champions League on two occasions, in 1999 and 2008. The 1999 Manchester United side won the final against FC Barcelona in the dying minutes as former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored the winning goal. The 2008 victory was astonishing as well with Cristiano Ronaldo rising to become Sir Alex Ferguson’s key player.

1. Carlo Ancelotti – 190

The most successful manager in the UEFA Champions League winning the title 4 times. Carlo has won it twice with AC Milan as well as Real Madrid. Despite losing the final in a dramatic fashion against Liverpool in 2005. Carlo’s Ac Milan had their eyes set on revenge as they once again met in the 2007 final. Finally, AC Milan triumphed beating Liverpool to win their 7th UEFA Champions League title.

Carlo Ancelotti’s most iconic victories in the UCL come with the best team of the competition itself, Real Madrid. Ancelotti won the 2014 UCL final against Atletico Madrid in an iconic comeback. Sergio Ramos scored a header in the 92nd minute to take the match to extra time. Carlo Ancelotti once again managed Madrid to a victory in 2022 where Karim Benzema was the most crucial player. Karim Benzema scored back-to-back hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea to knock them out. Furthermore, he even scored against Manchester City in the semi-finals as well.

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