Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has been around the block; The reigning Portuguese coach of the year lifted his club to a league title last season, and he thinks that qualifies him for FIFA Coach of the Year more than some of nominees on FIFA’s shortlist.
To recap, FIFA has 10 names on its shortlist for Coach of the Year. Some, like the Netherlands’ Louis van Gaal and USMNT’s Jurgen Klinsmann, did not win a single title last year.
[ MORE: MLS awards Los Angeles a 2nd club ]
Jesus did. In fact he won three, nearly four. And he’s not happy. Come to think of it, we can think of a few nominees ourselves, but first Jesus’ thoughts.
Benfica boss Jorge Jesus believes he should have been on Fifa’s Coach of the Year shortlist for masterminding the Portuguese club’s domestic treble.
Jesus, 60, also steered Benfica to the Europa League final in 2013-14 before losing 4-2 to Sevilla on penalties.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who is on the 10-strong list, did not win anything last season.
“Some weren’t in the European finals, some weren’t even domestic champions,” said Jesus.
He makes a fairly compelling case. We can think of several compelling names who didn’t make FIFA’s cut.
So, here are 10 names not on FIFA’s shortlist that probably deserve a high-five or two:
Jorge Luis Pinto, Costa Rica — Are you kidding us? Pinto’s Costa Rican squad backed up its 2013 Copa Centroamericano title by defeating Uruguay, Italy and Greece at the World Cup and drawing England before bowing out to the Netherlands on penalties. How he’s not on the list is a head-scratcher.
Jose Pekerman, Colombia — Probably should’ve been the manager who knocked Brazil out of the World Cup, but that’s a story for another time. Without Radamel Falcao, Pekerman led Los Cafeteros to a World Cup quarterfinal on wins over Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan and Uruguay before bowing out to the hosts.
Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool — The Reds boss led Liverpool back into Europe via an exciting brand of football. No, he didn’t have the added responsibility of European football nor did he win a domestic Cup, but there’s no doubt that he’s the best club boss left off this list from UEFA’s top-rated league.
Rafa Benitez, Napoli — The ex-Liverpool boss led to third place in Italy and the Round of 16 in the Europa League after nearly navigating a Group of Death in the UEFA Champions League, finishing third to Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund only on goal differential.
Luis Fernando Tena, Cruz Azul — The CONCACAF Champions League winning manager didn’t fare as well in Liga MX play, but surely it’s worth a nod to Mexico’s continental-winning club.