Pep Guardiola won his fifth Premier League title with Manchester City in the 2022/23 season to add to three La Liga and three Bundesliga titles he’d already won as a manager. But despite Guardiola’s outstanding success, other managers have won more top-flight titles than him in each of England, Spain and Germany.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the managers who’ve won the most top-flight titles in the so-called Big Five league in Europe. But before that, let’s first let you know which leagues make it into the Big Five.
What are the Big Five Leagues in Europe?
- Premier League (England)
- Bundesliga (Germany)
- La Liga (Spain)
- Serie A (Italy)
- Ligue 1 (France)
Note that while some of the above mentioned leagues are relatively new in their current format, for the purposes of this article we will include their predecessors (where they exist). For instance, the Premier League only began for the 1992/93 season, but we’ll include managers who won titles in the old Division One, where applicable.
Premier League – Alex Ferguson, 13 Titles, Manchester United
For fans of the Premier League, Alex Ferguson needs no introduction. His Manchester United teams (for he rebuilt his squad repeatedly) dominated English football for much of the 1990s and 2000s. He won his first English title in the Premier League’s inaugural season (1992/93) and his last in 2012/13, after which he retired.
As well as the numerous league titles, Ferguson also led his club to five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions Leagues, and the FIFA Club World Cup (among various other more minor trophies). Fans of Ferguson hold him up as the greatest manager in the history of football, and it’s hard to disagree. Managers who trail in Ferguson’s wake in terms of English titles won include Geroge Ramsay and Bob Paisley (six titles each), and Tom Watson, Matt Busby and Pep Guardiola (each with five).
Bundesliga – Udo Lattek, 8 Titles, Bayern Munich (6), Borussia Mönchengladbach (2)
The manager who’s won more Bundesliga titles than anyone else might not be a household name in England, but Udo Lattek is certainly very well-known in Germany. He was the assistant coach of the West Germany national side from 1965 to 1970 and then he had his first stint as Bayern Munich boss. During the 1970s he won three Bundesliga titles (and the European Cup) with Munich, before he moved to Borussia Mönchengladbach and won another two league titles and the UEFA Cup.
Lattek then had a spell in Spain with Barcelona, where he landed the European Cup Winners’ Cup, but no La Liga titles. He then returned for another go at the Bayern Munich job and it proved almost as successful as he landed three more league titles. His total of eight puts him one ahead of another Munich legend, Ottmar Hitzfeld, and four ahead of both Jupp Heynckes and Hennes Weisweiler. Incidentally, that man Pep Guardiola pops up next on the list in joint-fifth place having won three Bundesliga titles… one more than Jurgen Klopp.
La Liga – Miguel Muñoz, 9 Titles, Real Madrid
Guardiola has to settle for joint-fifth spot in his home country of Spain too as four men have won more La Liga titles: Enrique Fernández, Helenio Herrera and Johan Cruyff have four apiece, but there’s one man who’s head and shoulders above that trio. That man is Miguel Muñoz.
Muñoz led Real Madrid to an impressive haul of nine La Liga titles between 1960/61 and 1971/72 and also guided them to European Cup success in 1960 and 1966. He’d won three European titles and four La Liga titles with the club as a player and didn’t disappoint fans when he took over as manager. He was appointed boss of the Spanish national side after the World Cup in 1982 and led them to the final of the 1984 Euros (which they lost to France) and the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup (where they lost to Belgium on penalties).
Serie A – Giovanni Trapattoni, 7 Titles, Juventus (6), Inter (1)
Things are a little tighter in Italy than England or Spain, with Giovanni Trapattoni’s seven Serie A titles meaning he’s just one ahead of Massimiliano Allegri (who, at the time of writing, is Juventus manager and has a good few years left in him). For now at least, Trapattoni sits at the top of the Italian tree (or albero, if you prefer) and his six titles at Juventus in the 1970s and 80s really showed his managerial prowess.
He also led Juve to European Cup glory in 1985, and won various other trophies with the club. After leaving Juventus, Trapattoni won another Serie A title, this time with Inter, and travelled around, picking up top-flight championships in Germany (with Bayern Munich), Portugal (with Benfica) and Austria (with Red Bull Salzburg). He also had a stint as the Republic of Ireland boss before ending his career as the manager of the Vatican City national team. To many Juve fans though, he was already a saint!
Ligue 1 – Albert Batteux, 8 Titles, Reims (5), Saint-Etienne (3)
Finally, to France, and although Ligue 1 doesn’t have quite the status of the other leagues mentioned, it’s certainly the next in line and sneaks ahead of Portugal’s top flight in terms of prestige. Like some of the other Big Five leagues, one manager is a fair way ahead of the competition in terms of the number of titles won: Albert Batteux.
Batteux spent his whole playing career from 1937 to 1950 at Reims, and upon retirement from playing, he took the manager’s job at the club. During his managerial reign from 1950 to 1963, he led them to five league titles between 1952/53 and 1961/62. Interestingly, he also managed the France national team for much of that time (1955 to 1962) and guided them to third place at the 1958 World Cup after losing 5-2 to Brazil in the semis, a game in which the great Pele bagged a hat-trick.
In the late 1960s, Batteux managed Saint-Etienne and landed three more Ligue 1 titles, leaving him four clear of his nearest rivals, Lucien Leduc, Robert Herbin and Laurent Blanc.