Who do you rate as the best football coach in the world? I bet you are tempted to fittingly reply, Pep Guardiola of Man. City or Aliou Cissé of Senegal, Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool, Pitso Mosimane of Al Ahly, Carlo Ancellotti of Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho, or maybe Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea….
Understandable, considering these coaches have not only been dominant in their profession, winning several trophies and equally grabbing all the media headlines by merit.
Today I would like to ask you to add somewhere at the top of your list, if not at the very top, Villareal’s coach, Mr. Unai Emery! Why? Here we go.
Yesterday I watched Villareal, coached by Unai Emery, lose out to arguably one of the best, most physically imposing, and in-form club sides in world football at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Losing by 2 goals to 0. Champions League Semifinals 1st leg.
Liverpool dominated ball possession but needed an own goal, off a deflection from the captain, Jordan Henderson’s pull out to open the scoring.
Villareal has a scanty and unbelievable minute population of 50,000 people! Despite that, it is currently European League defending Champions. Currently 7th on the Spanish la Liga table, and with an estimated budget of? 120 million Euros ONLY!
To put this in perspective for you, how unbelievable, remarkable, and shocking, the budget factor is, see below the budget of some English Premier League clubs for 2019/2020.
Manchester City 569 M€
Liverpool 515 M€
Chelsea 506 M€
Arsenal 440 M€
Aston Villa 135 M€
How can a club with a budget much less than that of 15th placed, Aston Villa, and 4 times less than Liverpool be contesting toe to toe with Liverpool in a European champions league semi-final?
I bet most people cannot even name 3 players from Villarreal in contrast to Liverpool as they have relatively unknown players.
Conversely, Liverpool players are valued at almost a Billion Euros! Villareal players are valued at 382 million Euros.
My point here is Unai emery is doing a miracle with the absolute minimum at his disposal!
I admit having been an Ardent follower of Unai Emery since his Valencia days just as I have followed other top coaches named above for my own education, but no coach has marveled me as much as Emery for his ability to use the very minimum to achieve gigantic results.
Practically, with relatively unknown players, his team goes compact once possession is lost, not just to reduce space and encourage the loss of possession by the opponent, but mainly to try to wrestle the ball away from the opponent.
The players are set out by Emery, to play in a manner that masks the weaknesses of his players and lets them play to their strength in variations, based on the player ability.
As a player, Unai Emery played mostly in Spain’s Second Division. Emery transitioned into coaching after retiring in 2004 at Lorca Deportiva, where he achieved promotion to the Segunda División in his first season.
He then joined Almería, who he led to promotion to La Liga for the first time in the club’s history.
He subsequently moved to Valencia, leading the team to top-three finishes.
He joined Sevilla in 2013, winning an unprecedented three consecutive Europa Leagues.
He joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2016. Winning the Ligue 1 title, two Coupe de France titles, two Coupe de la Ligues, and two Trophée des Champions, which included a domestic quadruple in his second season.
Emery succeeded Arsène Wenger as head coach of English club Arsenal in 2018 and immediately he finished Europa League runner-up in his first season, before being dismissed in November 2019.
He was hired by Villarreal in July 2020, he won the Europa League in his very first season.
I totally admire and respect the great achievements coaches like Guardiola, Klopp, Mourinho Ferguson, etc. have amassed in the recent past years, and they certainly are arguably the candidates for the best coach recognition.
I however wonder how great they would all have been, or be if they would have been able to achieve these without the talented collection of great players they have as tools at their disposal to work with.
We all saw how Guardiola struggled at Man. City during his first season with good but not “special” players and how he is now flying with other players that have cost almost a Billion to assemble.
Same way Klopp struggled in the first seasons at Liverpool until he splashed out hundreds of millions to assemble this great and dominant team he now possesses etc.
Out of curiosity, could you join me in imagining just what Emery could achieve if he had the players Guardiola, Tuchel, Ancelotti, Klopp, etc. must work with?
I believe we can arguably conclude that Emery is one of the best World coaches today, if not the Best!