The Best FIFA Men's Coach: nominees in focus
Seven candidates are vying for The Best FIFA Men's Coach
They are Messrs Conte, Flick, Guardiola, Mancini, Scaloni, Simeone and Tuchel
We look at their achievements during the period under consideration
Runner-up to Zinedine Zidane for The Best FIFA Men's Coach vote while managing Chelsea in 2017, Antonio Conte took the Inter Milan helm with serious title ambitions two years later. After finishing second to Juventus in his debut season, Conte's Nerazzurri side managed to end the champions' nine-year stranglehold on Serie A in the following campaign, earning the club a first Scudetto in 11 years. Did you know? Conte won five league titles as a player, all with Juventus (1995, 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2003). He has now matched that tally as a coach, securing championship honours with Juve (2012, 2013, 2014), Chelsea (2017) and Inter (2021).
Hansi Flick began the 2020/21 season having won everything during the previous campaign. And although wisdom has it that reaching the top is far easier than staying there, the German coach impressed again as his Bayern Munich side retained the Bundesliga title for a record ninth consecutive year. Untouchable on the domestic stage, Flick's team also won the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™ – yet another trophy for the man who succeeded Joachim Low as Germany coach in August. Did you know? Flick won 70 of his 86 games at the Bayern helm (nine draws, seven defeats). That represented a winning ratio of 81 per cent, a new record for a Bayern coach.
The Spaniard steered Manchester City to a third English title in four years and duly picked up the Premier League Manager of the Season award, while also overseeing a fourth straight English League Cup triumph. The Citizens caught the eye in Europe too, reaching their first ever UEFA Champions League final before losing 1-0 to Chelsea. Did you know? City's 3-1 defeat of Swansea in the FA Cup on 10 February was their 15th consecutive win in all competitions – an English record. It was also Pep Guardiola's 200th victory in charge of City, who won their next six matches to stretch that winning run to 21 games.
Roberto Mancini masterminded Italy's triumph at UEFA EURO 2020 and capped the feat by downing England on their own turf in the Wembley final. By doing so, he became just the second Azzurri coach to lift the trophy, and the first since 1968. Mancini's side also set a new record of 15 consecutive victories in EURO finals or qualifiers when they saw off Belgium in the quarter-finals. Did you know? Mancini's team made history by going 31 games unbeaten when they prevailed 2-1 against Austria on 26 June – surpassing the Italy record of 30 set by legendary coach Vittorio Pozzo. La Nazionale were not done there either, eventually extending their unbeaten sequence to 37 matches.
After finishing third at the Copa America in 2019, Lionel Scaloni made all the changes necessary to come out on top in this year's edition. Not only did the Argentina coach lead his team to their first continental crown in 28 years, they got the better of arch-rivals Brazil in the final – and equalled Uruguay's record haul of 15 titles in the competition. Did you know? Scaloni went unbeaten in all 13 games during the period under consideration for The Best FIFA Football Awards™ (8 October 2020 to 7 August 2021). Argentina's record of nine victories and four draws was enough for them to win the Copa America and close in on qualification for Qatar 2022, which they finally wrapped up on 13 November.
Diego Simeone is the face, the voice and the heart and soul of Atletico Madrid, as much for his past as a player as his many successes as a coach. The Argentinian further cemented his legendary status by spurring Los Colchoneros to the Liga title in 2020/21, when his team finished two points clear of neighbours Real Madrid and ended with the best defence and best goal difference. Simeone also led his charges to the Round of 16 of the Champions League, where they succumbed to eventual winners Chelsea. Did you know? Last season, Simeone inspired Atletico to their first Liga crown since 2014. That previous title ended a 17-year wait… and was also Simeone's handiwork.
Appointed by Chelsea in January, Thomas Tuchel quickly settled in and began his reign with a run of 14 games unbeaten – a record for the London club. In just half a season, the German achieved the feat of winning the Champions League, thanks to a 1-0 upset of Manchester City, while also leading the Blues to the FA Cup final and fourth place in the Premier League. Did you know? By reaching the Champions League decider, Tuchel became the first coach in European Cup history to contest two consecutive deciders with different clubs. A runner-up with Paris Saint-Germain in 2020, he got his hands on the trophy with Chelsea the very next season.