Over the course of its history, Serie A has produced some of the best individual footballers and the best collective teams in the world. That was especially true during its heady heydays of the 1990s, when all the best players wanted to come to Italy. Although it might have fallen behind the English Premiership and La Liga in recent years, Serie A was top dog not all that long ago.
It was during this golden period (and subsequently) that many of the divisions top managers cemented their reputation as the best in the business, as well. But with such a rich tradition of accomplished bosses, who makes the cut for the most successful of all time? Here’s our rundown of the top five.
5. Antonio Conte
Conte’s lowly position on this list is surely a symptom of his relative youth compared to some of the other candidates. In the five full seasons he has managed in Italy’s topflight, his team has finished top of the Serie A table in four of them – on the only other occasion, his Inter team finished second.
Not only did he guide Juventus to their first title in eight years, he became the first manager to go unbeaten for an entire season since the competition was expanded. He won two more consecutive Scudetti with Juventus, marking the start of a nine-year period of domination that would only be ended by Conte’s Inter in 2020.
4. Marcello Lippi
Perhaps best known for guiding Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, Lippi had a hugely successful domestic career in Serie A prior to his appointment as the national coach. After relatively short stints with Cesena, Lucchese and Atalanta, Lippi achieved a UEFA Cup spot with Napoli, catching the eye of Juventus bigwigs.
Over the course of a five-year term with The Old Lady, Lippi claimed three Scudetti before leaving for Inter. However, his time there was ill-fated and he returned to Turin two years later, adding a further two league titles to his haul. He has since gone on to manage in China, including the Chinese national team.
3. Fabio Capello
English football fans will likely harbor less than pleasant memories of Capello, who oversaw an underwhelming performance by the Three Lions during their so-called “golden generation”. However, Capello earned that job opportunity by excelling in Italy time and time again.
Between 1991 and 1996, Capello helped AC Milan achieve almost complete domination in the league, winning four of the five Scudetti he contested (Lippi claimed the other). He would repeat the trick five years later with Roma, completing his impressive haul of five Serie A trophies in Italy.
2. Massimiliano Allegri
The only manager on this list to still manage in Serie A, Allegri achieved the lion’s share of his success with his current club, Juventus. He did set out his stall prior to his time in Turin by steering AC Milan to their first championship in seven years in 2011, though it is at Juventus where he has shone brightest. Of course, there is an argument that Conte put in the groundwork for Allegri to succeed, but the fact that the man won five Scudetti back-to-back cannot be argued with. Though the Bianconeri have struggled this season, Allegri has cemented his place among Italian managerial greats already.
1. Giovanni Trapattoni
With an impressive seven Serie A titles under his belt, Trapattoni is widely regarded as not just the most successful manager in Italian football, but one of the most respected in the whole world. Over the course of a career spanning 40 years, Trapattoni helped Juventus clinch six titles and Inter win one, as well as finding time to manage both the Italian and the Irish national teams. Trapattoni was forced to resign from his role as manager of the Republic of Ireland due to ill health and has not returned to the sport since, though his influence still stretches over those which remain.
What do you think? Have we missed out anyone you feel deserves to make the cut? Let us know in the comments.