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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Where Carlo Ancelotti ranks among oldest bosses to win Champions League or European Cup

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Liverpool make up plenty of the ten oldest managers ever to win the European Cup or Champions League, with Carlo Ancelotti consolidating his position. Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund to become European champions for a 15th time – and with Vinicius Junior, Jude Bellingham and Kylian Mbappe dovetailing from next season onwards, Ancelotti might climb even further up this list in time. DISPLACED: Matt Busby (Manchester United, 1968): 59 years, 3 days Knocked out of the top ten by Ancelotti, Busby was for a time the second-youngest man ever to win the European Cup after emotionally leading Manchester United to a 4-1 extra-time victory over Benfica, ten years on from the Munich air disaster. Bobby Charlton’s brace either side of goals from George Best and Brian Kidd took the trophy to England for the first time, but it was to be the peak of that great United side: the next season did not go so well and Busby retired from a club in decline aged 60. 10. Bob Paisley (Liverpool, 1978): 59 years, 107 days The second of six European Cups for Liverpool, and the second of three for Paisley himself, coming a year on from beating Borussia Monchengladbach in Rome. This time Liverpool overcame Club Brugge under the Twin Towers of Wembley, courtesy of Kenny Dalglish’s strike midway through the second half. 9. Bela Guttmann (Benfica, 1961): 62 years, 124 days Now…you may notice that Guttman’s age here is exactly the same as Paisley’s on the day of the 1981 final in years and days. But we’ve put him ninth rather than equal eighth, because he was born in 1899 and, for boring reasons, 1900 was not a leap year – making Paisley (born 1919, thus getting the benefit of the 1920 leap year) technically a day older over the two mens’ respective lifetimes. Is that the most boring thing you’ve ever read? Probably, but somebody will have liked it. 8. Bob Paisley (Liverpool, 1981): 62 years, 124 days We wonder if Guttmann (who died three months later) was aware of that extra day when Alan Kennedy struck his late winner against Real Madrid in Rome. Curse the men who invented leap years! Curse you, Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory! Well, actually, it didn’t really matter, as we’ll come to later… 7. Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid, 2022): 62 years, 352 days Yes, he was already on the list, courtesy of his record-breaking fourth Champions League triumph with his current club two years ago. This time the tables were turned on Liverpool as Real bagged the only goal of the game through Vinicius Junior just before the hour. 6. Joe Fagan (Liverpool, 1984): 63 years, 79 days The most reluctant yet successful manager in history capped a league, League Cup and European Cup treble in his first season following Paisley’s departure from Anfield. Liverpool effectively had to play away from home against Roma at Stadio Olimpico, with Roberto Pruzzo cancelling out Phil Neal’s early strike just before the break. That was to be the last of the goals, with Liverpool becoming the first side ever to win the European Cup by penalty shootout after six straight years of finals finishing one-nil. 5. Bela Guttmann (Benfica, 1962): 63 years, 95 days Yeah, so it turns out Paisley’s extra leap year day didn’t really matter because Guttmann had already broken his own record by going and winning it twice in a row. The first had come in a thrilling 3-2 win over Barcelona; the 1962 edition was even more dramatic, with Real Madrid twice coming from behind to lead 3-2 at the break before Benfica rallied to win 5-3. Eusebio bagged a brace. NEW ENTRY: 4. Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid, 2024): 64 years, 357 days There he is. Have a cigar on us, Carlo. 3. Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United, 2008): 66 years, 142 days Sir Alex led the last truly great United side to two more Champions League finals after this, but was beaten both times by an even greater Barcelona. Still, he’ll always have Moscow, and that penalty shootout victory over Avram Grant’s Chelsea after Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard both scored first-half goals in a 1-1 draw. 2. Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich, 2013): 68 years, 16 days The old dog who led Bayern Munich to Bundesliga titles in three separate permanent spells at the club over 29 years also added the Champions League to his list of accolades (having already won it with Real Madrid in 1998). Heynckes’ side saw off Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund with a 2-1 victory thanks to Arjen Robben’s late winner. Dortmund should just stay away from Wembley, we reckon. 1. Raymond Goethals (Marseille, 1993): 71 years, 231 days Marseille were stripped of the league title in a match-fixing scandal in 1992/93, but their European Cup triumph was allowed to stand, with sweeper Basile Boli scoring the only goal against Fabio Capello’s AC Milan just before half time. Goethals broke Guttmann’s 31-year-old record, and 31 more years on, he remains the only septuagenarian manager to lift European football’s most prestigious trophy. What are you doing in 2031, Carlo?

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