When you think of Spanish football, FC Barcelona is the first club that comes to mind for a lot of people. There have been some fantastic players who made their way through the club over the years, and also plenty of managers who have found success at the highest level. Though Barca tends to not stick to one manager for too long, there have still been some all-time greats.
Coming up with a list of the five best Barca managers isn’t easy as there have been more than 70 in the club’s history that dates back to the start of the 20th century. However, we feel that these five stand out above the rest. Before we start the list, some of the more notable managers who just missed the cut include Frank Rijkaard, Enrique Fernandez, Helenio Herrera, and Louis van Gaal.
There are several managers on the list who had spent time playing for Barcelona in their younger years, and that includes Jack Greenwell. Greenwell made 88 appearances, and for his final three years, was serving as a player-manager. He retired from play in 1916 but continued to be the Barca manager for seven more years, giving him a total of a decade in charge.
Greenwell is the only manager on the list to never win La Liga, but that’s only because it was established after he had left. Greenwell won the equivalent that predated La Liga (Campionat de Catalunya) four times during his career, as well as the Copa del Rey twice.
Born in what was then Austria-Hungary, Ferdinand Daucik had a long playing career with KFC Komamo, 1. CsSK Bratislava, and Slavia Prague before retiring in 1942. He then began his managerial career which had a whopping 25 different stints. Among those stops was Barcelona, with Daucik serving as the manager from 1950-54 before heading to Athletic Bilbao, and after coaching the Hungarian national team.
Daucik led Barca to three Copa del Rey titles in addition to a pair of La Liga titles. His other honours include two Copa Eva Duarte wins and a Latin Cup. Daucik managed the club through 148 matches, winning 89 of them and losing just 40. He didn’t have the best exit from the club, but did produce results.
Spanish native Luis Enrique just missed being the youngest man on the list by four months thanks to the number one manager. Enrique was a fantastic player for both Real Madrid and Barcelona with his career lasting from 1988 to 2004. Once he retired, Enrique took some time away from football, then returned to manage the Barcelona B team. After stints leading Roma and Celta, Enrique was hired to manage the top Barca squad from 2014 to 2017.
Though he didn’t have as many matches as some of the others on the list, Enrique was a winner. In 181 Barcelona matches, Enrique won 138 of them, good for 76.24% Enrique’s squads also won the Copa del Rey three times and La Liga twice in addition to a UEFA Champions League title.
Born in Amsterdam, Johan Cruyff began his professional career in his home country, playing for Ajax for nearly a decade before heading to Barcelona. He had 143 appearances and 48 goals with Barca and continued playing for six years after he left. Following his 1984 retirement, Cruyff managed Ajax for three years, then took on the managerial spot with Barcelona from 1988 to 1996.
Cruyff became the first manager in Barcelona’s history to win La Liga four times. On top of that, he took home the Spanish Super Cup three times while also adding one trophy each in the Copa del Rey, European Cup, and European Super Cup. In his 430 Barcelona matches, Cruyff’s squads won 250 of them.
As a defensive midfielder, Pep Guardiola was a fantastic player with Barcelona throughout the entirety of the 1990s. He spent the beginning of the 21st century with short stints in Brescia, Roma, Al-Ahli, and Dorados. After retiring, Guardiola immediately got into management and took over the Barcelona B squad in 2007 and 2008. In that second year, he was promoted to the top squad’s managerial spot and held the position for four years.
Guardiola managed Barcelona for 247 matches and put up an impressive 72.47 winning percentage. Despite being a tenure on the shorter side, Guardiola has more honours than any other Barca manager with 14. This includes winning La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup three times, the UEFA Champions League and Super Cup twice, and even a pair of FIFA Club World Cup titles.