Mustafa Denizli (born 10 November 1949 in Alaçatı) is a former Turkish football player and now a coach who currently manages Persepolis in IPL. He has managed many Turkish notable football clubs, including 'Istanbul Big Three' (Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş) and has won the Turkish League title five times. He is currently the only manager in history to win the Turkish league with three different clubs. He also has worked in outside of Turkey, Alemannia Aachen in Germany, Pas and Persepolis in Iran. He managed the Turkish national team for four years and reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2000. On 23 December 2011, he was returned to his former club, Persepolis..
He spent 17 years with his hometown club Altay SK in İzmir, gaining a reputation as one of the best left-sided forwards in the league. In 1980, he became topscorer with 12 goals. Denizli transferred then in 1983 to Galatasaray after Altay's relegation in 1982–83 season, but retired at the end of the season 1983–1984 from active sport. During his playing time, he was capped 33 times for the nationa team.
He started his next career as the assistant coach to German Jupp Derwall and served three years in this position at Galatasaray. In 1987, he took over his master’s position as head coach of the club and won the Turkish league in the same year. For the same season, Denizli was appointed caretaker head coach of the Turkish national football team. In the season 1988–1989, he reached the semi-finals of the European Cup with Galatasaray, but the road to the final was blocked by Steaua Bucuresti. He was resigned in 1989.
For the season 1989–1990, Denizli signed a contract with the German second league side Alemannia Aachen. Denizli had installed a new type of attacking football for the German club but he left from this club due to Alemannia Aachen was faced with relegation to third league.
Turkish national football team
From 1992 to 1995, he coached Kocaelispor and then he was appointed the second time head coach for the national team, he served until 2000. At the 2000 European Football Championship, Turkey played quarter finals with him, first time ever in the country’s history.
In 2000, Fenerbahçe offered him a position, and at the end of the season 2000–2001, Fenerbahçe won the league championship title after 5 years again. Denizli is the first Turkish coach of Fenerbahçe ever to win the league championship, but he enjoyed a rather poor Champions League run with defeats against FC Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen. In 2002 the Nigerian national football team wanted to sign Denizli for their 2002 World Cup campaign but due to several problems it was cancelled. He then transferred to Vestel Manisaspor.
In 2004, Denizli received several offers from Japan and South-Korea, but he chose to use his knowledge for Iran to coach the premier league champion Pas Tehran. Denizli made a run for the league title but became only second in the league. There were rumours that Denizli would be the coach of the Iran national football team to lead it to a successful 2006 World Cup. He also reached the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League with Pas, where he was knocked out 4–4 on aggregate by Al Ain. Denizli said he was going to leave Pas and headback for Turkey, although he had an option to sign a contract in Dubai.
In August 2006, Denizli was hired as the manager of the Iranian giants, Persepolis, after Arie Haan was fired. He resigned on 3 June 2007 after an unsuccessful season with Persepolis in which he failed in the Hazfi Cup with an embarrassing 4–1 defeat to Sepahan and more importantly the IPL in which his immensely talented team only managed a third place finish.
Denizli announced he was interested in becoming Iran national football team manager, provided he can reach agreements with the IRIFF. . It was said that Denizli would take over the Iranian national team after Branko Ivankovic failed to make an impression on the world stage, but the Iranian Amir Ghalenoei was chosen over him.
On 9 October 2008 he signed a 1 year contract with Besiktas. On 30 May the club claimed its 13th Turkish Super League title under his guidance. Denizli is the only one in Turkey who have managed to win the national league with the "three biggest" football clubs (Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray) as a manager. With 2008/09 league title, Denizli also clings to the achievement of being "the one and only Turkish coach Beşiktaş J.K. earned the league title with". 2 June 2010 According to a number of reports from Turkey, experienced gaffer Denizli has resigned as head coach of Turkcell Super Lig titans Besiktas due to medical reasons.]
Return to Persepolis
On 23 December 2011, Denizli signed a one and a half year contract with Iran Pro League side Persepolis, Return to his former club after 4 years.] His first competitive game as coach was against Malavan, in which Persepolis comfortably lost 2–0.
- IFFHS's 11th best national team coach in the world 2000.
He married Firdevs Denizli in 1970 and he has two daughters from this marriage. His first daughter was born in 1975 and his second daughter was born in 1988. He got divorced from his wife in 2009. He later married his second wife, Evien Ölzi in 2011. Evien is also an athlete. The couple are currently residing in Tehran