Manager Power Rankings: Xabi Alonso CLOSES IN on Guardiola

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald
  • Updated: 20 Mar 2024 09:32 GMT
  • 9 min read
Xabi Alonso, Pep Guardiola

Xabi Alonso's stock could not be higher at the moment as we enter the closing stages of the European season.

His Bayer Leverkusen team remain staggeringly unbeaten and we're almost in April, a testament to the incredible job he has done as Leverkusen close in on the title.

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But Pep remains well out in front; the Man City boss has oversaw a stunning run since the start of 2024 and City remain well positioned on all three fronts as they look to claim back-to-back trebles.

Elsewhere Jurgen Klopp is on his farewell journey around the leagues and despite losing to Manchester United in the FA Cup, remains top of the Premier League, ahead of Mikel Arteta, whose Arsenal team grow in stature with each passing week.

Who are the best managers in the world? FT outlines the best coaches and how they are currently perceived by fans, clubs, and the media alike.

Our bespoke algorithm takes into account a huge number of factors, including:

- Club current form, adjusted for the strength of the competition

- European form

- Style of play

- Reputation

- Media buzz

- Recent trophies won

- Experience

- Recent additional achievements

All of this comes together to form the below list. Do you agree with our algorithm? Let us know in the comments.

1. Pep GUARDIOLA (Manchester City)

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola chats to Phil Foden during a Champions League tie with PSG
© ProShots

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are engaged in precisely what they do at this time of year, every year - winning football matches.

City have flew back into the title race at a rate of knots and are still handily positioned in all three competitions as they chase the treble.

The relentless consistency of this team, and this boss, is something to be admired and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

2. Jurgen KLOPP (Liverpool)

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Could Jurgen Klopp be tempted to leave Liverpool for the German national team?
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From where Liverpool were last summer to where they are now is testament not only to some shrewd transfer market business, but also the togetherness in the club which allows younger talent to thrive.

And the fact that Klopp has announced his departure at the end of the season has given this entire run-in even more impetus.

Can the German leave celebrating a second Premier League title - this time with fans present? He's definitely giving it his best shot.

3. Xabi ALONSO (Bayer Leverkusen)

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Xabi Alonso
© ProShots - Xabi Alonso

Alonso's incredible rise to prominence is tied to the pace that his Bayer Leverkusen team are setting in the Bundesliga.

Ten points clear of Bayern with a handful of games remaining, their dominance looks finally to have been broken, and it leaves Alonso in an incredible position.

Next season he will have to make a choice: Guide this Leverkusen team into the Champions League, or else look to build a new project at either Bayern Munich or Liverpool.

4. Mikel ARTETA (Arsenal)

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Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 2021/22
© ProShots

Arsenal are rampant at the moment, thrashing teams at will and contributing to one of the best title run-ins of the 21st century.

Arteta has been absolutely integral to this success, slowly and methodically building this team piece-by-piece into the defensively sound, free-scoring side that we see before us.

Arteta is testament to what can happen if a manager is given time (and money) to create a truly great side - all that is to be decided is where Arsenal ultimately end this season.

5. Carlo ANCELOTTI (Real Madrid)

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Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti
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Real Madrid remain an enigma; a squad jam-packed with exciting young talent and one that is winning matches, but it's not always clear how they manage it.

Ancelotti is now an elder statesman in managerial terms but his ability has been to hold this group of players together, but one other crucial thing.

What he has turned Jude Bellingham into - maybe the most exciting player in the world - really is a joy to behold.

6. Simone INZAGHI (Inter)

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Simone Inzaghi, Inter
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Are Inter one of the best teams in Europe? Unquestionably yes, but it's hard to avoid the immense disappointment that will be felt with Inter's Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid.

Inzaghi will have felt his side could have gone back to the final in that competition, and it's testament to how far he has taken them that a completely unassailable lead in Serie A - guaranteeing another title - is seen as a second prize in this scenario.

Inzaghi has had to work under quite specific budgetary constraints but has still built a brilliant team - that's what good managers do.

7. Ruben AMORIM (Sporting)

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Ruben Amorim has to constantly compete with losing his best players every season and also against the superior budgets at Porto and Benfica.

And the Amorim hype train is showing zero sign of slowing down. Most recently linked with the soon-to-be-vacant Liverpool job, there are eyes all Europe on this hugely impressive coach.

It's a matter of time before he steps into a big job - the only question is, which one?


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PSG were a mess when Luis Enrique arrived; Lionel Messi leaving, Neymar on the brink, while the Kylian Mbappe saga continued onwards seemingly without end.

And yes, he has had money to spend. But PSG for the first time in a long time feel truly like a team, one that has the capability of challenging in Europe.

They are in the quarter finals this season and have a balance about them which makes them a threat. And, of course, Mbappe. But it's Luis Enrique's stubborn dedication to style which has taken them to this point.

9. Unai EMERY (Aston Villa)

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Unai Emery
© ProShots - Unai Emery

Aston Villa's form has been a little more of a concern of late as the attempt to battle on multiple fronts is catching up with the squad a little.

But considering where Villa were positioned when Emery took over, it's a masterclass in management from Emery to have them on the verge of European glory as well as Champions League qualification.

It's vital that they don't run out of steam, however, and undo all of the good work they have built up.

10. XAVI (Barcelona)

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BArcelona manager Xavi
© ProShots

Xavi finds himself in a bizarre situation at Barcelona where he isn't expected to still be in charge this time next season, and yet he has still achieved some good things in difficult circumstances.

He has been tactically naive at times, but whether through necessity, luck, or a combination of both, he is overseeing the best crop of youngsters in well over a decade to emerge from La Masia.

In a club that still faces a difficult future, Xavi has given them some gems to remember him by, should he ultimately move on in the summer.

11. Diego SIMEONE (Atletico Madrid)

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Diego Simeone
© ProShots - Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid's away form is nothing short of woeful at the moment, and yet, we might still bear witness to Diego Simeone's finest hour.

Their Champions League victory over Inter was quintessential Simeone in every way, rallying the Wanda behind his players in a way only he can. He might still get that Champions League he covets just yet.

12. Thomas TUCHEL (Bayern Munich)

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Thomas Tuchel
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Tuchel won't be in charge of Bayern Munich next season, that is absolutely for sure. The man who will oversee the end of Bayern's domestic dominance will never be looked upon fondly.

And yet it doesn't entirely feel like his fault. He has bemoaned not getting the players he wanted in the summer despite being promised them, and the result is this mess of a side in which only Harry Kane and Jamal Musiala emerge with any real credit.

13. MICHEL (Girona)

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© ProShots - Michel

Alas, it was too good to be true; Girona just never had the legs to sustain a La Liga title challenge all the way to the end of the season.

But that shouldn't obscure the efforts of Michel to take a team with a tiny budget and largely discarded or loan players and turn them into a truly impressive unit. His future may lie in bigger jobs next season.

14. Roberto DE ZERBI (Brighton)

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Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton
© ProShots - Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton

Yes, De Zerbi's Brighton were handed a humbling in Europe at the hands of Roma, but the fact they are even competing at that level should never be forgotten.

De Zerbi's tactical approach and ability to turn raw talents into genuine stars really is something special, and it's little wonder Liverpool are thought to be interested.

15. Roger SCHMIDT (Benfica)

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Roger Schmidt is perhaps the least sexy coach of the big three in Portugal beyond Ruben Amorim and Sergio Conceicao, but his work remains among the best in Europe.

He regularly loses players and yet Benfica are still challenging Sporting for the title as well as going deep in the Europa League. Schmidt might be on a different trajectory to his peers, but that doesn't make his achievements any less impressive.

16. Arne SLOT (Feyenoord)

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Arne Slot had a number of opportunities to leave Feyenoord in the summer and yet he chose to stay and have a run at the Champions League. His team gave it a good go, and will be in the Europa League after Christmas.

Slot has been blindsided by the unbelievable form of PSV domestically but his reputation has only been enhanced by how his Feyenoord side continue to perform.

17. Erik TEN HAG (Manchester United)

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Ten Hag is under more pressure than ever with the recent takeover of Manchester United, and while his team remain far from perfect, he is still able to produce great results.

The elimination of Liverpool from the FA Cup was one the highlights of any season. Whether ETH sees another season is unclear, but he's fighting on regardless.

18. Sebastian HOENESS (Stuttgart)

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Stuttgart under Sebastian Hoeness have gone from the relegation playoff to Champions League contenders.

Hoeness has been able to work closely with the team week in, week out and also get the best out of Serhou Guirassy, turning him into one of the most prolific forwards in Europe.

19. Didier DESCHAMPS (France)

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Deschamps is setting himself to have one of the finest international management dynasties in recent memory.

His France side will be unquestionably the favourites for the Euros this summer and should he ever wish to return to club management, he will not be short of offers.

20. Ilmanol ILGUACIL (Real Sociedad)

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The Basque club's run to the last 16 of the Champions League was a momental effort, topping a group that contained Inter.

La Real's form has been in freefall since however, struggling in all competitions, but Ilguacil's reputation is such that he will be in the running for other major club jobs that emerge.


21. Sergio CONCEICAO (Porto)

22. Peter BOSZ (PSV)

23. Julian NAGELSMANN (Germany)

24. Ange POSTECOGLOU (Tottenham)

25. Eddie HOWE (Newcastle)

26. Luciano SPALLETTI (Italy)

27. Marco ROSE (RB Leipzig)

28. Stefano PIOLI (Milan)

29. Thomas FRANK (Brentford)

30. Abel FERREIRA (Palmeiras)

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