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Dec 24, 2010

Global Coach of the Year

Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid

• Review of the Year 2010

There can only be one winner of the prize this year, as Mourinho picked up the Treble at Inter Milan before landing one of the biggest jobs in football at Real Madrid. 'The Special One' may have suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat at the hands of rivals Barcelona in November, but his achievements during the rest of the year place him head and shoulders above the rest of the competition.

Bringing in former Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Sneijder in August 2009 was a move that would set him up for great success. After a period of adjustment, the Dutchman became the lynchpin in Inter's central area and Mourinho's tactical move to a 4-2-1-3 formation bore fruit in the biggest club competition of all.

While he saw off Roma's title challenge to pick up the club's fifth successive Serie A title and also beat the Giallorossi in the Coppa Italia, it was Inter's performances in the UEFA Champions League that gained him the most plaudits.

Struggling initially in a group containing Barcelona, Rubin Kazan and Dynamo Kiev, Mourinho's men progressed to face his old side Chelsea in the first knockout round. After picking up a 2-1 home win, Mourinho chose to attack his former side at Stamford Bridge and came away with a 1-0 win; it was a remarkable achievement for a side who few had given a hope of getting to the latter stages, but better was to follow.

Dispatching CSKA Moscow, Mourinho's side were then drawn against Barcelona - a club with whom he has enjoyed a fractious relationship in the past. A stunning performance to come from behind to record a 3-1 win at San Siro was followed by the polar opposite in the second leg as Inter (down to ten men after 28 minutes after Thiago Motta was sent off) held firm against the Catalans, who managed 86% possession, but only one goal.

Mourinho's reputation was sealed as Inter ran away with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the final to grant him a place in history as only the third manager to have won the Champions League/European Cup with two separate clubs (Ottmar Hitzfeld, with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, and Ernst Happel, with Hamburg and Feyenoord, being the others).

Only one club would be in the frame once Mourinho decided that he had achieved all he could in Italy and Real Madrid pounced to claim his signature in May. His haul of 29 points from his first 11 games broke the record for the best start to a season by a new coach in La Liga and his unbeaten 143-game home league record still stands.

The humiliating defeat to Barcelona at Camp Nou brought him back to earth before the year ended, but none of his peers have come close to matching his achievements in 2010 and the final word must go to the man himself, humble as always.

"This has been the best year in my career," he said. "I would give myself an 11 out of 10. I won every championship I played in last season and we currently have lost none of our chances to win titles at Real Madrid. The league is very open still.

"We've qualified for the last 16 both in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. We also were the best side in the Champions League group stage.''

• Honourable mentions:

Vicente del Bosque - Spain

A World Cup win will always guarantee your place on such a list, and Del Bosque's management of the best team in the world follows suit. With such a talented collection of players, some may suggest his was not the hardest job, but in taking over from Euro 2008 winner Luis Aragones, Del Bosque proved that he is a remarkable coach, even in the harshest of spotlights.

Oscar Tabarez - Uruguay

While some will point to the dastardly tactics of Luis Suarez for Uruguay's progress past Ghana at the World Cup, few can play down the impact of Tabarez in leading his side to the semi-finals. Dropping Diego Forlan into a midfield position was a masterstroke, while the side's defensive solidity played a large part in massively exceeding expectations.

Josep Guardiola -Barcelona

With the Spanish La Liga title under his belt, Guardiola's side established themselves as the most attractive side on the planet as three of their players picked up nominations for the FIFA Ballon d'Or. Incredible, one-touch football has long been the foundation of their game, but Guardiola reached the very top with the 5-0 hammering of Real Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti - Chelsea

In picking up the Double - FA Cup and Premier League - Ancelotti's first season at the helm was incredibly successful. However, as the year wore on, Ancelotti's impact waned with the sacking of assistant manager Ray Wilkins. Poor results at the end of the year saw his job in danger, but he remains one of the top bosses in the business.

Ertugrul Saglam - Bursaspor

At 41, Saglam is a youngster in managerial terms, but may struggle to match his achievements this year. He only retired from playing at 2003, but his impact upon joining the Green Crocodiles was immediate. As Bursaspor became only the second club outside Istanbul's 'Big Three' to have won the league (Trabzonspor were the other team, who last won in 1984), he also sealed a Champions League spot.

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