Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri won the Best FIFA Men’s Coach of the Year award on Monday after beating Portugal’s Fernando Santos and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane on the shortlist.
Ranieri defied odds of 5,000-1 to lead Leicester to the Premier League title last season — the first-ever top-flight title in their 132-year history — and has overseen a strong start to the club’s first ever Champions League campaign this season, despite his side struggling in the league.
Leicester conceded the fewest Premier League goals (36) during the voting period from Nov. 20, 2015, to Nov. 22, 2016 (excluding promoted teams), and the Italian also set a record for the shortest time between his appointment and winning the title win (294 days), beating Jose Mourinho’s 332 days with Chelsea.
FIFA recently announced that the award will be based on the votes of captains and head coaches of national teams around the globe and an online public ballot with football fans and submissions from a selected group of over 200 media representatives.
Whereas it used to be divided into 33.3 percent captains, coaches and journalists, that has now changed to 25 percent captains, coaches and journalists and an additional 25 percent from the fan vote.
Ranieri beat strong competition from Zidane, who led his Real Madrid side to their 11th UEFA Champions League title in his first season as a manager and also won the 2016 UEFA Super Cup and 2016 FIFA Club World Cup.
The Frenchman also broke Real Madrid’s all-time record for longest unbeaten streak in all competitions on Dec. 10 after avoiding defeat in 35 straight games (overtaking Leo Beenhakker’s 1989 Madrid side in the process) and is currently on a 39-game winning streak dating back to April 2016.
Portugal coach Santos was also a strong contender after his side won the European Championship for the first time in their history — with the country losing just one competitive match under Santos (13-4-1) since October 2014.
Silvia Neid won the Best Women’s Coach award after Germany won the Olympics gold medal. It’s the third time she has been honoured by FIFA after winning the World Women’s Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2013.
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