In 1977, Ristić started his career as manager at Eintracht Braunschweig, where he worked as a youth coach. In 1980, he joined the staff of Hamburger SV. There he started as assistant of Manager Branko Zebec, in 1981 he was caretaker for half a year, until Ernst Happel became manager, and he was again only his assistant. Between 1983 and 1985 he worked almost two years in Braunschweig, where he started his career in Germany. In 1987 he started in Düsseldorf for three and a half years, in January 1991 he went to Schalke 04, but in summer 1992 he re-changed to Fortuna Düsseldorf for another four years. There he was called "King Aleks" for his long-term workplace. His third manager job at Düsseldorf ran from summer 2000 till the end of the year when he again was dismissed for lack of success.
Between 1998 and 2003, Ristić managed Rot-Weiß Oberhausen (except the late summer 2000 in Düsseldorf). In 2004, he got a manager position at Union Berlin, but he stayed there just a few months, because his team was relegated to the third league. After a pause, he returned to work in 2007 for just one year at KFC Uerdingen 05 in the German Oberliga Nordrhein. He cancelled his contract in March 2008.