Who is Ralf Rangnick? Everything you need to know about Manchester United interim manager


Manchester United have reached an agreement to appoint Ralf Rangnick as their interim manager, but just who is the new man in temporary charge at Old Trafford?

The 63-year-old German will take up the managerial role on a six-month deal until the end of May, before moving into in a consultancy role at the club for an initial two-year period.

Rangnick was identified as United’s preferred choice for the interim vacancy after an interview process earlier this week which saw a five-man shortlist of managers considered for the role.

Here is everything you need to know about the current head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow ahead of his Old Trafford appointment.

Name: Ralf Rangnick

Date of Birth: 29 June 1958

Rangnick had a rather uneventful playing career before he moved into a player-coaching role at VfB Stuttgart. He spent a year at English side Southwick while he studied at the University of Sussex before returning to his homeland.

Upon his return to Germany he continued to play for the best part of a decade at a range of lower league clubs as he continued to learn about coaching.

Coaching career

Rangnick got his break coaching at his hometown club Viktoria Backnang and finished his playing career as a player-coach for Stuttgart II and TSV Lippoldsweiler.

He continued coaching in the lower divisions of German football for a number of years before he was given the chance to manage former side Stuttgart in the Bundesliga but was sacked after a difficult second season at the club.

He moved onto Hannover and earned promotion to the German top-flight. He applied to be the assistant manager of the German national side but missed out on the role to Joachim Low.

Rangnick enjoyed future success at Hoffenheim and across two spell at Schalke. In his second spell the side won the German Cup, German Super Cup and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League where they were beaten by United.

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Ralf Rangnick oversaw the transformation of RB Leipzig

The German stepped out of coaching for a while to become director of football for both Red Bull Leipzig and Salzburg, with the German side rising from the fourth division all the way to the Bundesliga under his guidance.

He is also credited with overseeing their expansion into European football, particularly within their recruitment of unproven players and an exciting brand of attacking football on the pitch.

Rangnick managed Leipzig on two spells where they achieved promotion to the top-flight, finished runners up in the German Cup and established themselves as regulars in the Bundesliga.

He left Leipzig last year after a protracted move to AC Milan collapsed and joined Lokomotiv in the summer.

Coaching legacy

Rangnick is known as a ‘professor of football’ and has been credited for influencing modern German coaches Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Ralph Hasenhuttl and Julian Nagelsmann.

The experienced coach played a key role in establishing the gegenpress tactic where a team immediately fights to win the ball back after losing possession rather than dropping deep.

He is also known as one of the pioneers for zonal marking from set-pieces with his sides well known for a high-pressing game as well as a tendency to play on the front foot.

“If you want to increase the speed of your game, you have to develop quicker minds rather than quicker feet,” he said. “At RB Leipzig, we work on increasing the memory space and the processing pace. We put players into the Soccerbot, for example – a machine that simulates previous games and allows players to relive key moments of matches.

“It’s PlayStation football, but with your feet. The players enjoy it so much we have a hard time getting some of them to stop.

“Tactics, fitness and rules are all hugely important, but they’re only a means to an end. My job – the job – is to improve players. Players follow you as a manager if they feel that you make them better. That’s the greatest, most sincere motivation there is.”