With the 2018/19 season upon us, here’s a run-through of the 20 men who’ll be looking to lead their teams to glory in LaLiga Santander this season.
There’ll be nine new coaches in the hot seat this campaign (Eduardo Berizzo, Antonio Mohamed, Rubi, Eusebio Sacristan, Leo Franco, Mauricio Pellegrino, Julen Lopetegui, Asier Garitano and Pablo Machin), some of which will be managing in LaLiga Santander for the very first time.
Ernesto Valverde returns for his second season in charge of Barcelona looking to defend the LaLiga title, with Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) and Lopetegui (Real Madrid) looking to close the gap at the top.
Elsewhere, Quique Setien is also back for a second campaign at Real Betis, fresh from securing the club’s best top-flight finish (6th) in over a decade, while Jose Luis Mendilibar (Eibar) and Jose Bordalas (Getafe) will be hoping to take their sides that one step further and secure a European qualification spot.
Deportivo Alaves – Abelardo Fernandez, 48, Spanish
Former Sporting Gijon, Barcelona and Spain defender Abelardo won two LaLiga titles during his time at the Camp Nou. The Asturian coached home-town club Sporting from 2014-17, securing promotion from LaLiga 123 in 2016 before impressively guiding Alaves to safety after taking over the Basque side half-way through the 2017/18 campaign.
Athletic Club – Eduardo Berizzo, 48, Argentine
A defender with Celta Vigo and Argentina as a player, Berizzo returned to Balaidos as head coach in 2014. In 2015/16 he guided Celta to Europa League qualification and the Copa del Rey semi-finals. His spell at Sevilla in 2017/18 was marked by a successful battle against prostate cancer, allowing him to replace Jose Angel Ziganda the summer at San Mames.
Atletico Madrid – Diego Simeone, 48, Argentine
A winner of the LaLiga title with Atletico in 1995/96, Simeone took charge of his former club in December 2011. He has since guided them to the 2013/14 LaLiga title, as well as victories in the Europa League [2012 and 2018], European Supercup , Copa del Rey  and Spanish Supercopa . Simeone is now the second longest-serving coach in the club’s history – with 250 LaLiga games to the end of 2017/18.
FC Barcelona – Ernesto Valverde, 54, Spanish
A winger with Espanyol, Athletic Club and Barcelona as a player, Valverde has now coached at all three of those LaLiga clubs – as well as at Villarreal, Valencia and Greek side Olympiakos. Valverde won the 2017/18 LaLiga and Copa del Rey double in his first season in charge at the Camp Nou, and has to date coached a total of 385 LaLiga games across his career.
Celta Vigo – Antonio Mohamed, 48, Argentina
A former Argentina international midfielder, Mohamed played most of his club football in Mexico, where he also began his coaching career. He has since won trophies in both Argentina and Mexico, where his most recent club was Monterrey. ‘El Turco’ was appointed to replace Juan Carlos Unzue for Celta’s 2017/18 campaign.
SD Eibar – Jose Luis Mendilibar, 57, Spanish
A former midfielder with Basque lower league side Sestao River, Mendilibar is now a veteran of over 300 LaLiga games in charge of Athletic Bilbao, Valladolid, Osasuna, Levante and current club Eibar. His third season in charge last year brought the top flight’s smallest club’s highest ever finish of ninth.
RCD Espanyol – Rubi, 48, Spanish
Joan Francesc Ferrer – known as Rubi – is a former lower division player with various Catalan clubs. After spells in charge at Girona and Real Valladolid in LaLiga 1l2l3, and Levante and Sporting Gijon in LaLiga Santander, in 2017/18 he guided Huesca to a first ever promotion to the top division. In June 2018 he was named to replace Quique Sanchez Flores as Espanyol coach.
Getafe CF – Jose Bordalas, 54, Spanish
Bordalas began his coaching career early, after injury cut short his playing career at 28. After two decades of experience with various clubs in Spanish football’s second and third tiers, the Alicante-native moved from Alcorcon to suburban Madrid neighbours Getafe in summer 2017, and had an excellent first LaLiga season at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
Girona FC – Eusebio Sacristan, 54, Spanish
Eusebio made over 500 LaLiga appearances as a player, patrolling the midfield with Valladolid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Celta Vigo, winning four LaLiga titles when at Barca. After beginning his coaching career in the Camp Nou youth system, he had spells in charge of Celta and Real Sociedad, before being appointed this summer at Girona.
SD Huesca – Leo Franco, 41, Argentine
A former goalkeeper with the Argentina national team, Franco kept goal for LaLiga clubs Merida, Mallorca, Atletico Madrid and Real Zaragoza before spending the 2015/16 season with Huesca in LaLiga 1l2l3. He has now returned to El Alcoraz for his first senior coaching job, replacing last year’s promotion-winning boss Rubi.
CD Leganes – Mauricio Pellegrino, 46, Argentine
Ex-Argentina centre-back Pellegrino played in LaLiga with Barcelona, Valencia and Alaves, winning the 2002 and 2004 LaLiga titles during his time at Mestalla. He has coached at Valencia and Alaves, as well in the Premier League with Southampton, before returning to LaLiga with Leganes this summer.
Levante UD – Paco Lopez, 50, Spanish
Former Levante youth team coach Lopez did a superb job on taking charge of the senior side late in the 2017/18 campaign, winning seven of ten games to ensure safety from relegation. His playing career included spells at Valencia and Levante, while he has also coached in the youth systems at Valencia and Villarreal.
Rayo Vallecano – Michel, 42, Spanish
Miguel Angel Sanchez Muñoz – known as Michel – was a midfielder who spent most of his career at Rayo, making 178 LaLiga appearances in total. He took over as coach at Vallecas in February 2017, and guided the team to the LaLiga 1l2l3 title in his first full season in charge.
Real Betis – Quique Setien, 59, Spanish
An intelligent midfielder as a player, Setien made over 200 LaLiga appearances as a player with hometown club Racing Santander, Atletico Madrid and Logroñes. After spells in charge of Racing and Lugo in LaLiga 1l2l3, he impressed many during 18 months at Las Palmas in LaLiga Santander. He then guided Betis to sixth place and Europa League qualification last term.
Real Madrid – Julen Lopetegui, 51, Spanish
Lopetegui made almost 100 LaLiga appearances as a goalkeeper at Real Madrid, Logrones, Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano, before starting his coaching career in the Bernabeu youth system. After success with Spain’s international underage sides between 2010 and 2014, he spent 18 months at Portuguese club Porto, then took over the Spanish national team in 2016 before succeeding Zinedine Zidane in the Real Madrid dugout.
Real Sociedad – Asier Garitano, 48, Spanish
Garitano made his name by guiding suburban Madrid side Leganes from the third tier to a first-ever promotion to LaLiga Santander in 2016. 2017/18 brought a famous Copa del Rey victory over neighbours Real Madrid, before Basque native Garitano moved north to take over Real Sociedad last summer.
Real Valladolid – Sergio Gonzalez, 41, Spanish
A long LaLiga career saw Sergio play almost 400 games in midfield for Espanyol, Deportivo La Coruña and Levante and win 11 caps for Spain before returning to his first club as coach in August 2014. An immediate success on taking over at Valladolid last April, he won eight of 12 games as the Castilian side secured promotion to LaLiga Santander through the play-offs.
Sevilla FC – Pablo Machin, 43, Spanish
After beginning his coaching career at Numancia, Machin came to prominence by guiding Girona to promotion to LaLiga in 2017, then securing a very impressive 10th place in the Catalan club’s first ever top-flight season. He took over at Sevilla last summer, with veteran Joaquin Caparros moving upstairs to become the club’s sporting director.
Valencia CF – Marcelino Garcia Toral, 52, Spanish
Marcelino played with hometown club Sporting Gijon, Racing Santander, Levante and Elche before beginning his coaching career in Sporting’s youth system, then first team in 2003. He has since coached Recreativo de Huelva, Racing [twice], Real Zaragoza, Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia, who he guided to fourth spot and a return to the Champions League last season.
Villarreal CF – Javier Calleja, 40, Spanish
A former midfielder who made over 200 LaLiga appearances for Villarreal, Malaga and Osasuna, Calleja began his coaching career in the Villarreal youth system in 2015. He was promoted to take over the first team in September 2017, ending his first term in charge with qualification for next season’s Europa League.
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