Opinion

Who is Ralf Rangnick? - Man Utd's new managerial favourite

Mudeet Arora
Ralf Rangnick has been touted to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's replacement at Manchester United
Ralf Rangnick has been touted to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's replacement at Manchester United / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages
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Ralf Rangnick is all set to take over Manchester United's managerial position in a reported six month deal.

So, who is he?

Rangnick is a German football manager, sports executive and a former player who is currently the Head of Sports and Development at FC Lokomotiv Moscow (till his Manchester United move doesn't become official.)

His move to Moscow came after two managerial stints at RB Leipzig. During these stints, Rangnick was responsible for the rise of 'soon to be' global superstars like Naby Keita, Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg.

Mind you, RB Leipzig as a club came into existence in 2009 and has grown immensely since then, challenging traditional winners of the league, Bayern Munich.

Nicknamed 'The Professor' by the German Media, Rangnick was the first manager to utter the word and explain the importance of "pressing" in football, something which you see his student Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool excel at now. He helped shape "Gegenpressing" whereby the team, after losing possession, immediately attempts to win back possession, rather than falling back to regroup.

As a manager, Rangnick maintained a unique balance between playing safe, proper gambles and calculated risks at RB Leipzig. This comes from a mixture of some of his coaching idols from the world of football. He has cited his main coaching influences as Ernst Happel, Valeriy Lobanovskyi, Arrigo Sacchi, and Zdeněk Zeman.

Following his successful philosophy as a manager, modern day coaches like Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann, Ralph Hasenhuttl and Jurgen Klopp credit Rangnick's influence on their personality as managers.

Rangnick follows three principles in his footballing philosophy, which are money, concept and competence.

“If those three things come together, then you can be successful. If you only have one or two of them, it’s more difficult,” he told Deutsche Welle before taking a justified sideswipe at those who claim the club’s success has been bought by the owner.

“Our club is always reduced to the financial muscle of its owner. There are lots of clubs in the Bundesliga like that. Put it this way, the Bundesliga table doesn’t correlate with clubs’ budgets. If it did, the table would look very different.”

There is no doubt RB Leipzig has spent a lot of money, but it has been on young players with tremendous resale value. They surely have to thank Rangnick for most of these players.

With the world of football heading towards major commercialisation and football clubs becoming more of a business by each passing day, having learned individuals like Rangnick around is extremely important for our generation to understand the essence of what beautiful football is all about.

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