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News: European big guns lead the way

in the football star stakes

01.04.2022 - When it comes to professional football, Europe is undoubtedly the place to be for anyone who wants to make a name for themselves in the world’s greatest game.
While other geographical regions develop plenty of top talent, Europe is the central hub around which the rest of the football universe orbits.

A recent study by Betway highlighted just how influential Europe is in modern football, particularly in major nations such as Italy, Germany, England, France and Spain.

Their researchers assessed 100 of the best stars in 10 categories – including football managers and footballers - to uncover which places make the most successful people.

The survey revealed that Italy is top of the pile in the football star stakes, with 14 Italian-born football managers appearing in an official all-time top 100 list.

With 13 players featuring in the top 100 football players of all-time, Italy clearly knows a thing or two about creating the best football talent.

Some of the managerial greats on the list include Fabio Capello, Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte, each of whom have won a plethora of silverware during their careers.

Capello won league titles with AC Milan, Real Madrid and Roma, and famously guided the Rossoneri to success in the 1993/94 Champions League.

He subsequently led the England national team at the 2010 World Cup, but saw his team dismantled 4-1 by Germany in the round of 16.

Ancelotti and Conte are also widely regarded as the greatest managers to grace the game having won trophies with various clubs during their respective careers.

Each of these legendary managers won a Premier League title with Chelsea and a Serie A title with a Milan club - Ancelotti with AC Milan and Conte with rivals Inter Milan.

The city of Milan has also birthed some truly magnificent footballers, with Paolo Maldini and Giuseppe Meazza the standout names amongst the all-time top 100.

Germany has had plenty to crow about in sports today the football world having won four World Cups and been crowned European Champions on three occasions.

The country unsurprisingly gives Italy a run for its money in each of the top 100 categories, with 13 managers and nine players featuring in the respective lists.

These legendary football stars hail from 20 different towns and cities in Germany, highlighting the widespread impact the sport has had across the country.

Stuttgart-born Jurgen Klopp is arguably the standout name on the managerial list having guided Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool to success during his career.

His efforts in turning Liverpool’s fortunes around in recent years are particularly noteworthy, with Klopp helping the Reds end a 30-year wait to win a league title.

While mainland Europe has proved to be a hotbed for football talent, the United Kingdom has also weighed in with plenty of entrants in the all-time greatest lists.

England’s tally of 13 managerial greats puts them level with Germany and just one behind Italy, while six players in the top hundred is also an excellent achievement.

Middlesbrough-born Brian Clough and Don Revie are amongst the managers on the list, and their shared birthplace perhaps goes some way to explaining the bitterness between the two.

Clough was an outspoken critic of Revie’s Leeds United team, and did not last long in the role when he replaced Revie in the hot-seat at Elland Road.

Revie could not hide his smugness over his rival’s demise, but Clough had the last laugh by twice winning the European Cup with Nottingham Forest.

Clough is now heralded as a football genius, while most fans outside of Leeds care little for Revie given the way he walked out on the England national team.

Northern England has contributed plenty of talent to the top 100 greatest players of all-time list, with Stanley Matthews, Gordon Banks and Dixie Dean amongst those who feature.

Bobby Charlton is also on the list after playing an integral role in England’s 1966 World Cup success and Manchester United’s triumph in the 1967/68 European Cup final.

Elsewhere in the UK, football has helped Scotland put itself on the map with eight managers and two players appearing in the respective top 100 categories.

The top names from Scotland’s football management scene include Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson for their efforts with Manchester United.

Busby famously rebuilt United after the Munich air disaster in 1958, while Ferguson transformed the landscape in English football during his trophy-laden spell in charge of the club.

Bill Shankly and Sir Kenny Dalglish are other notable Scottish managers on the list after leading Liverpool to plenty of success at home and abroad.

Wales has made its own contribution to the world’s collection of stars, with Swansea-born John Charles the most noteworthy name on the list of top players.

Charles first established himself with Leeds, before becoming one of the few UK-born players to succeed with a club on the European mainland.

He joined Italian club Juventus for a then-British record £65,000 transfer fee in 1957, almost doubling the previous record.

Charles was Serie A's top scorer with 28 goals in his first year in Italy, and was voted player of the season as Juventus won the Scudetto.

He won the league title on three occasions with Juventus and finished third in the Ballon d'Or in 1959, the highest position for a Welsh footballer.

The respect Charles earned from Juventus fans was shown when they voted him the club's best-ever foreign player in 1997.

Northern Ireland has also contributed to football’s list of greats, with wing wizard George Best deservedly making the top 100 greatest players of all-time.

The former Manchester United star was born in Belfast and is so celebrated in the city that he even has an airport named after him.

Alongside side United teammates Charlton and Denis Law, the mercurial Best formed one of the most devastating attacking trios professional football has ever seen.