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Béla Guttmann

Personal information
Place of birthBudapest, Austria-Hungary
Place of deathVienna, Austria
Playing positionCentre-half

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Béla Guttmann (-huˈbeːlɒ ˈɡutmɒnː; 13 March 1900 28 August 1981) was a Jewish Hungarian footballer and coach. He played as a midfielder for MTK Hungária FC, SC Hakoah Wien, Hungary and several clubs in the United States. However he is perhaps best remembered as a coach and manager of some the world’s leading football teams, including AC Milan, São Paulo FC, FC Porto, SL Benfica and C.A. Peñarol. His greatest success came with SL Benfica when he guided them to two successive European Cup wins in 1961 and in 1962.

Together with Márton Bukovi and Gusztáv Sebes, Guttmann formed a triumvirate of radical Hungarian coaches who pioneered the 4 2 4 formation and he is also credited with mentoring Eusébio. However throughout his career he was never far from controversy. Widely travelled, as both a player and coach, he rarely stayed at a club longer than two seasons, and was quoted as saying the third season is fatal. He was sacked at AC Milan while they were top of Serie A and he walked out on SL Benfica after they refused to pay him more money, leaving the club with a curse as he left. He also earned a reputation for his self confidence and his brash style, leading to comparisons with José Mourinho.


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