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Rafa Benitez ranked 12th best coach in World in latest ELO ratings

4 years ago

Rafa Benitez is flying high when it comes to his position amongst the world’s top coaches.

The ELO system is used to try and rank all kinds of sports, both teams and individuals.

Back in March 2016, Chris Holt introduced readers of The Mag to the ELO way to rank managers/coaches in football.

Named after Arpad Elo, the system was first used in Chess to assess rankings based on results, and now it is widely accepted as means of measuring success in other sporting arenas.

The website maintains an exhaustive record of these statistics for every football club and every coach in Europe going back decades, up to date rankings automatically updated with each result.

When it comes to coaches/managers around the world, Rafa Benitez is flying high, thanks in part to his record so far at Newcastle United.

The latest top 20 ELO ranked football coaches in the world is reproduced below and the United boss is in 17th spot.

However, five of those above Rafa Benitez are not currently working, meaning of active coaches in the world at this moment in time, Rafa is ranked 12th.

Of those above him, there are four from the Premier League, and this is testament now to how the English top tier is attracting some of the best managers operating in world football.

The four highest positions (of those currently working), sees Premier League managers in first (Guardiola), second (Mourinho), and fourth (Conte) spots.

If Rafa Benitez rises further up this list whilst still working at Newcastle United, we are set for good times ahead.

The latest rankings:

Chris Holt writing in The Mag – 27 March 2016:

‘Arpad Elo was born in Hungary in 1903.  Aged 10 he moved to the United States with his parents and later became a professor of physics at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He was also a prodigious Chess talent, the strongest in Milwaukee, he won the Wisconsin State Championship eight times.

Elo, is famous for combining his two loves. As a brilliant physicist, in 1960 he applied his mathematical skills to create the Elo rating system. It allowed Chess players to be rated more effectively than any previous system. By 1970 the World Chess Federation had adopted his method as their official ranking system.

Simplistically, how it works is that each competitor is assigned a rating based on their previous games. Points are added and removed from the Elo rating of a player depending on the outcome of games.  If a player with a low rating beats a player with a high rating, they gain a high number of points but if a player with a high rating beats a player with a low rating they get a lower number of points, because that’s the expected result.  Thrashings earn more points than close wins too.  And draws enhance the rating of the lower ranked player more.

Of course this elegant system didn’t apply only in chess, it could be used in any 2 player game.  Or any 2 team game. The formulas can be adjusted to suit games with different scoring systems and there are now elo rankings available online for most major sports.

FIFA’s thinking on Elo seems mixed up.  In the women’s game it is used as the official ranking system, however in the men’s game it is not.  That’s despite a 2009 study of 8 ranking methods showing that elo had the highest predictive capability for football matches, while the men’s FIFA ranking method performed poorly.  We’ve all seen minnows in the top 10 FIFA rankings and wondered what that was all about.

The Elo measure can be applied to managers as well as teams.  They can be graded on how they performed at single clubs or throughout their careers, and it provides an excellent insight into just how well a coach performed.  It accounts for the level the club/country found themselves when a manager arrived and where he left them when he departed.  It’s a far more detailed portrayal of a manager’s success than the basic count of games won, drawn or lost we’re used to seeing whenever a manager is sacked.’


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