All 20 LALIGA EA SPORTS clubs now know who their coach will be to commence the 2023/24 campaign.
The new LALIGA EA SPORTS season is less than a month away and pre-season preparations have already begun. Leading the summer training sessions are the 20 coaches of the competition, five of whom know how it feels to lift the trophy as a champion of Spain. Athletic Club’s Ernesto Valverde, Atlético de Madrid’s Diego Simeone, FC Barcelona’s Xavi Hernández, RC Celta’s Rafael Benítez and Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti have all won at least one LALIGA EA SPORTS title as a coach, and bring that experience to their respective clubs.
There are many other managers who have won titles during their coaching careers, from Real Betis’ Manuel Pellegrini to Real Sociedad’s Imanol Alguacil to Sevilla FC’s José Luis Mendilibar, so it’s clear that this year’s competition will feature several tactical geniuses.
Athletic Club: Ernesto Valverde
In charge in Bilbao is Ernesto Valverde, currently in his third stint as coach of Athletic Club. The 59-year-old is a legend in the Basque city for all he has achieved at San Mamés, leading Athletic Club to European qualifications and cup finals. His greatest successes came when he won league titles with Olympiacos and with FC Barcelona.
Atlético de Madrid: Diego Simeone
Diego Simeone has already achieved so much at Atlético de Madrid and has led Los Colchoneros to LALIGA EA SPORTS titles in 2013/14 and 2020/21. Since taking over in 2011, the Argentine has already broken many records. For example, last season he reached and surpassed Luis Aragonés’ record of 612 for the most matches managing the team. Still full of energy at 53 years of age, Simeone remains as hungry as ever.
CA Osasuna: Jagoba Arrasate
Having been in charge at CA Osasuna since 2018, Jagoba Arrasate is one of the longest-serving managers in the competition. Since winning promotion with Los Rojillos in 2019, the 45-year-old has embraced youth and led the team to 10th, 11th, 10th and 7th-placed league finishes, as well as a runners-up run in last season’s Copa del Rey.
Cádiz CF: Sergio González
Sergio González just signed a new contract with Cádiz CF, one that’ll run until 2025. Already a hero in the port city after helping Cádiz CF avoid relegation for two seasons in a row, the 46-year-old is looking to build on that in 2023/24.
Deportivo Alavés: Luis García Plaza
Following Deportivo Alavés’ relegation in the summer of 2022, Luis García Plaza took over at the Basque side and steered them to promotion through the playoffs. That was the 50-year-old coach’s third promotion into Spain’s top division, after previously achieving such a feat at Levante UD and RCD Mallorca.
FC Barcelona: Xavi Hernández
2022/23 was Xavi Hernández’s first full season as coach of FC Barcelona, the club he previously captained as a star midfielder. It was a very successful season, as the Catalan club won the Spanish Super Cup, defeating rivals Real Madrid in the final, before sealing the 2022/23 league title with weeks to spare. At 43, Xavi is still young and just beginning his managerial career.
Getafe CF: José Bordalás
José Bordalás has been coaching since 1993, but his main successes have arrived in the last decade and they have mostly come with Getafe CF. During his time at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez between 2016 and 2021, Bordalás and his battling style brought an incredible promotion and also a European run to the 2019/20 Europa League last 16. Following a stint with Valencia CF, the 59-year-old returned to Geta late last season to stave off relegation.
Girona FC: Míchel
Míchel is known as a promotion master after leading Rayo Vallecano, SD Huesca and current club Girona FC to LALIGA EA SPORTS level. The 47-year-old then achieved a 10th-placed finish with the Catalan club last season, playing a thrilling and dynamic brand of attacking football. Míchel’s Girona FC side scored the fifth-most goals in the division, so were a joy to watch.
Granada CF: Paco López
Paco López’s coaching career bloomed late, as he became a steady presence on the Levante UD bench before taking over at Granada CF in the middle of last season, leading the Andalusian club to the title and to promotion. The 55-year-old is known as an adaptable coach and will surely adjust to the demands of LALIGA EA SPORTS accordingly.
Rayo Vallecano: Francisco
Rayo Vallecano is one of the clubs that hired a new coach this off-season, turning to 45-year-old Francisco. He first coached in Spain’s top tier aged 35 at UD Almería and has also been the boss of SD Huesca and Elche CF in the top competition of Spanish football.
RC Celta: Rafael Benítez
Former Valencia CF and Real Madrid coach Rafael Benítez is back in LALIGA EA SPORTS, having been hired by RC Celta this summer. The Spaniard has won trophies in England, Italy and Spain, including two Spanish league titles in 2001/02 and 2003/04 with Valencia CF. At the age of 63, Benítez has seen it all and will bring his vast experience to the Galician club.
RCD Mallorca: Javier Aguirre
Mexican Javier Aguirre is one of the most beloved coaches in Spanish football, known for his charisma and ability to get the best out of his players. Currently in charge of RCD Mallorca, the 64-year-old’s 5-4-1 system was very effective for the islander’s last term.
Real Betis: Manuel Pellegrini
Aged 69, Manuel Pellegrini is the oldest of the 2023/24 LALIGA EA SPORTS coaches. The Chilean has inked his name in the Real Betis history books by winning the 2021/22 Copa del Rey and by achieving three consecutive European qualifications for the first time in club history. Previously, he won a Premier League title with Manchester City and led Villarreal CF and Málaga CF deep into the continental competition, as well as collecting 96 points when in charge of Real Madrid in 2009/10, even though that was only enough to finish runners-up.
Real Madrid: Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti is one of the greatest managers in history, as the 64-year-old Italian is the only coach to win the league title in each of Europe’s top five leagues and the only one to boast four Champions League medals. Currently, in his second stint with Real Madrid, he has won multiple trophies in each of his previous four campaigns at the Bernabéu.
Real Sociedad: Imanol Alguacil
Imanol Alguacil is Real Sociedad through and through. The 52-year-old has spent his entire managerial career at the Basque club, as an assistant, youth coach and now as the first-team manager. Known for giving the talented youngsters of the Zubieta academy a chance, Imanol is a hero in San Sebastián and has won a Copa del Rey and taken the team back to the Champions League after a 10-year absence.
Sevilla FC: José Luis Mendilibar
The biggest achievement of José Luis Mendilibar’s long managerial career came at the end of the 2022/23 season. After being appointed in March of 2023 with the mission of helping Sevilla FC avoid relegation, the former Real Valladolid, CA Osasuna and SD Eibar tactician coached Los Nervionenses all the way to Europa League glory. It was the crowning achievement of the 62-year-old’s career, earning him a contract renewal.
UD Almería: Vicente Moreno
Former RCD Mallorca and RCD Espanyol boss Vicente Moreno is back in LALIGA EA SPORTS, having been appointed by UD Almería. Known for improving the defensive statistics of clubs, the 48-year-old will look to consolidate UD Almería’s place in Spain’s top flight.
UD Las Palmas: García Pimienta
For most of his professional life, García Pimienta has been associated with FC Barcelona. The 48-year-old Catalan came through La Masia and played for the first team before he was a coach in the academy and managed Barça B for three years. After departing FC Barcelona, García Pimienta was hired by UD Las Palmas and has had a remarkable run in the Canary Islands, winning promotion in 2022/23. Now, he’ll coach his first LALIGA EA SPORTS game in August.
Valencia CF: Rubén Baraja
Rubén Baraja is a Valencia CF legend, as he was a brilliant midfielder at Mestalla between 2000 and 2010. He then moved into coaching and his greatest success came in 2022/23 when Valencia CF turned to their former player in their tense relegation battle. The 48-year-old embraced the talents of the academy to help the club survive and now he’ll have a full pre-season ahead of the new campaign.
Villarreal CF: Quique Setién
One of the most tactically interesting coaches of the competition is Quique Setién, the 64-year-old who is known for his love of possession football. At UD Las Palmas, Real Betis and FC Barcelona, his teams dominated the possession statistics and that’s also true with his current club Villarreal CF.