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Top 5: Greatest managers to never win the Champions League

Valeriy Lobanovskyi

The legendary Soviet-Ukrainian manager did a great deal to bring new ideas to the beautiful game. He famously treated football as a system of 22 elements, having two sub-systems of 11 elements each, moving in a confined space and subject to a series of restrictions. If at the end of the 90 minutes, the two systems were evenly matched a match would end in a draw, otherwise the stronger sub-system would win.

His methods yielded 12 league titles with Dynamo Kiev as well as two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups; however, the European Cup eluded the great pioneer.

Hennes Weissweiler

The German had a keen eye for talent, having unearthed the likes of Gunter Netzer, Berti Vogts, Jupp Heynckes, Rainer Bonhof, Allan Simonsen, Uli Stielike, and many more. He was at the helm of 1. FC Koln as well as Borussia Monchengladbach during their most successful eras and also had a year-long stint with Barcelona.

Weissweiler’s impact on football coaching was such that Germany’s training centre for coaches bears his name. He won four league titles in Germany, but the Big Ears eluded him.

Cesar Luis Menotti

The philosophical Argentine was the man who delivered his motherland their much-coveted first FIFA World Cup in 1978. A left-leaning romantic, Menotti drew much from life and politics into his football during his long years in management.

The chain-smoking giant had very brief spells in management in Europe. He spent a year at the Camp Nou with Barcelona in the 1983/84 season after leaving La Albiceleste, had another season-long spell with Atletico Madrid and then an even shorter stint with Sampdoria in Serie A. It’s fair to say that he didn’t spend long enough time in Europe to have a shot at the European Cup.

Bobby Robson

Robson was different from his compatriots. Very different. Leaving the confines of the domestic league somehow never appeals to the English managers, but Robson took the plunge, and with great success.

After winning Ipswich Town their only FA Cup in 1978, he won them their only UEFA Cup three years later. Robson then went on to win two league titles in the Dutch Eredivisie, two league titles in the Portuguese Primeira Liga and a Copa del Rey as well as a European Cup Winners’ Cup with Barcelona. But he couldn’t win the European Cup at any of his clubs.

Arsene Wenger

The Frenchman went closest to winning the Champions League in 2006, but his Arsenal came up short against Frank Rijkaard’s Barcelona, losing 2-1 in the final. Ten years on, Wenger still remains at the helm of the north London outfit, but he hasn’t come any closer to the prestigious trophy since.

Undoubtedly, the Frenchman will go down in history as one of the greatest managers to have graced the game, but his methods and way of thinking makes it hard to imagine that he will retire with a European Cup in tow.

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