#1 Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid)
There is still time for Simeone to leave his managerial mark, but if we look just at the coaches who have been the closest to winning the Champions League before seeing it snatched away, he is by and away the best.
We’re not talking about the Eurovision Song Contest here, but Simeone came so close to winning Europe’s top award twice. When Atletico Madrid were leading Real Madrid 1-0 in 2014, it took Sergio Ramos three minutes into stoppage time to tie the game. Atleti, exhausted by the match, were punished in overtime.
Two years later, Los Colchoneros got even closer, falling to Madrid in a penalty shootout. Very painful, but Simeone has now shown that he is more than a near miss. He won the Copa del Rey in 2013, then won La Liga in 2014 and 2021, ending Real’s dominance in Spain. The fact that he has won the Europa League twice (in 2011 and 2018) demonstrates that he is a remarkable coach, even though he does not yet have the coveted big-eared trophy.