Should Diego Simeone help guide Atlético Madrid to their first UEFA Champions League crown, he will become only the third non-European coach in the competition’s history to win the famous trophy – and the first since 1965.
It is unlikely to have escaped Simeone’s notice that the two names he would be following are fellow Argentinians: Luis Carniglia (Real Madrid, 1958 and 1959) and Helenio Herrera (Internationale Milano 1964 and 1965).
- Luis Carniglia
Born 4 October 1917
Handed a veritable treasure chest as Real Madrid boss when succeeding José Villalonga in June 1957, Carniglia steered the club to further European and domestic glory. Later in life he became the first president of the Argentinian footballers’ union.
The former Boca Juniors forward began his coaching career at Nice, where he landed the Ligue 1 title in his first year. Despite a disappointing second term with the French side, Carniglia had turned heads at Madrid and was soon offered the keys to the Santiago Bernabéu. With the Merengues having claimed the first two European Champion Clubs’ Cups under Spaniard Villalonga, Carniglia’s brief was ‘more of the same’.
Walking with giants
Carniglia walked into a dressing room packed with 1950s ‘galácticos’, including Alfredo Di Stéfano, Francisco Gento, Raymond Kopa and Héctor Rial – with José Santamaría and Ferenc Puskás set to follow. Some may have felt intimidated in such company, but the Argentinian thrived and even took the great Puskás to task over what he perceived as a lack of fitness.
Carniglia duly delivered what mattered most, continuing the Blancos’ domination of the European Cup and adding a Spanish championship in his two-year reign. In 1958, they fell behind twice to AC Milan in Brussels before goals by Di Stéfano, Rial and Gento, with the winner coming in extra time, saw them home.
The next year Carniglia’s team retained the trophy with a 2-0 victory over Stade de Reims in Stuttgart. Carniglia then coached in Italy, including Fiorentina and Roma, with whom he lifted the 1961 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup against English outfit Birmingham City, and there was a stint in Spain with Deportivo La Coruña. However, nothing could match his triumphs at the Bernabéu.
- Helenio Herrera
Born 10 April 1910
A superb innovator and widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches, Herrera masterminded the ‘Grande Inter’ sides of the mid-1960s, leading the Nerazzurri to three Serie A crowns and two European Cups.
Following an inauspicious start to his managerial career with Stade Français, where his three campaigns finished trophy-less, Herrera moved to Spain and enjoyed title-winning tenures at Atlético Madrid and Barcelona. In Catalonia, his two championship-winning sides embraced attacking flair which reaped an avalanche of goals, earning him the sobriquet ‘El Mago’ (magician).
Talking a good game
Herrera raised the profile of the coach from peripheral figure to central part of the cast – the driving force behind a team’s success. Happy to take on the media at their own game, he was also a pioneer of psychological techniques which could bring the best out of his players. Some of his phrases are still quoted today, including “He who doesn’t give everything, gives nothing”.
Though not the founder of Catenaccio (door-bolt in Italian), Herrera deployed it to excellent effect. His tactics gained him few friends, yet his use of overlapping full-backs, notably Giacinto Facchetti, lent his sides a new dimension and as Herrera said: “The problem is that most of those who copied me copied me wrongly. They forgot to include the attacking principles that my Catenaccio included. I had a sweeper, yes, but I also had Facchetti, the first full-back to score as many goals as a forward.”
Herrera’s approach brought spectacular rewards at San Siro, with three league titles in four seasons and two European Cup successes in 1964 and 1965. Sandro Mazzola, who netted twice in Inter’s 3-1 final victory over Madrid in the first of those triumphs, said of his manager: “He was light years ahead. He would train our brains before our legs.”