The coaches who will start the season in charge of LaLiga’s 20 clubs

With a new LaLiga season set to kick off in August, coaches across the country are fine-tuning their preparations. Here we look at who will be present in the dugouts of Spain’s top division in 2022/23.

International experience

A lot of LaLiga Santander’s most well-known coaches have had experience both in Spain and overseas. Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti is the division’s most decorated manager with 23 trophies and seven of those have come at Real Madrid, including the LaLiga Santander and Champions League double last season, among various others in Italy, Spain, France and Germany during his career. At 63, Ancelotti is the division’s joint-second oldest manager, with RCD Mallorca’s Javier Aguirre, and only behind Real Betis’s Manuel Pellegrini, who is 68. Those two have also racked up years in different countries, arming them with plenty of knowledge and insight from decades in the game. Villarreal CF’s Unai Emery is only 50 but he has already managed in Russia, France and England as well as several postings in Spain, winning the Europa League a record four times, thrice with Sevilla FC and once with the Yellow Submarine.

The longest-serving coaches

While there is plenty of change in elite football when it comes to coaches, there are a few who have held the fort in LaLiga Santander. Diego Simeone has led Atlético de Madrid for 10 years and six months, longer than any current serving coach in top flight football. Following him is Jagoba Arrasate, who has done a brilliant job at CA Osasuna over the past four years, and Imanol Alguacil at Real Sociedad. The Basque is another who has excelled in his post, helping La Real compete near the top of the table and give some of the division’s most storied sides problems since being appointed three and a half years ago. Sevilla FC’s Julen Lopetegui is the fourth longest-serving coach at just over three years, and he helped the Andalusians compete in the title race last season.

New posts

By contrast, three coaches have been appointed this summer and fans across the world are looking forward to finding out their plans for the season ahead. Athletic Club’s Ernesto Valverde is both a new and old face, given this is his third spell at the helm of the Basque side. Valencia CF have opted for Italian manager Gennaro Gattuso, arriving for his first job in Spain after most recently coaching Napoli. Known for his tenacious attitude on the pitch, Gattuso could be the warrior to match Los Che’s impressive atmosphere at Mestalla. Meanwhile, RCD Espanyol have plumped for Diego Martínez, who did a superb job with Granada CF between 2018 and 2021.

Eye-catching ideas

FC Barcelona appointed legendary midfielder Xavi Hernández in November 2021 and it helped turn their season around, seeing them fly up the table from ninth to second. The coach will now take charge of his first full season and look to continue the Catalan giants’ revival, experimenting tactically now that he has more time to establish himself and his ideas. That’s just what Rayo Vallecano’s Andoni Iraola did last season, helping the Madrid side to thrive in the top flight and play some of the division’s best football, despite their more modest size. RC Celta’s Eduardo Coudet led another of LaLiga Santander’s most entertaining sides, and his innovative tactics and formations will again be talking points.

LaLiga coaches

The coaches of last year’s survivors

As well as the aforementioned Aguirre, there were a few other coaches who brilliantly steered their sides clear of relegation last season. Cádiz CF appointed Sergio González in January and some remarkable results, including wins over FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF and draws with Real Madrid and Sevilla FC, helped them stay in the top flight. Quique Sánchez Flores was similarly crucial at Getafe CF, after they lost their first seven games straight. In came Sánchez Flores for his third spell in charge of the club, and he helped them secure a 15th place finish. Elche CF’s Francisco Rodríguez did similar, arriving in November 2021 and guiding the team to a comfortable spot in 13th.

The hard work starts now

UD Almería, Real Valladolid and Girona FC are the three newly promoted teams and, after sparkling seasons, their coaches know this year will be significantly harder. Girona FC’s Míchel has helped Rayo Vallecano and SD Huesca up to the top flight previously, but keeping teams there has been a trickier challenge. Rubi, the coach of UD Almería, has also been part of a relegation from LaLiga Santander in the past, with Real Sporting, and he will be determined to establish his side in the division. Pacheta met the same fate with SD Huesca in 2021 and he too now gets another bite of the cherry with Real Valladolid.

The 2022/23 LaLiga Santander coaches:

Athletic Club – Ernesto Valverde

Atlético de Madrid – Diego Simeone

CA Osasuna – Jagoba Arrasate

Cádiz CF – Sergio González

Elche CF – Francisco Rodríguez

FC Barcelona – Xavi Hernández

Getafe CF – Quique Sánchez Flores

Girona FC – Míchel

Rayo Vallecano – Andoni Iraola

RC Celta – Eduardo Coudet

RCD Espanyol – Diego Martínez

Real Mallorca – Javier Aguirre

Real Betis – Manuel Pellegrini

Real Madrid – Carlo Ancelotti

Real Sociedad – Imanol Alguacil

Real Valladolid – Pacheta

Sevilla FC – Julen Lopetegui

UD Almería – Rubi

Valencia CF – Gennaro Gattuso

Villarreal CF – Unai Emery


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