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Great players who failed as coaches

Just like any other sport, in football too, great players don’t necessarily make good coaches. There is a preconception among fans that good footballers should make decent coaches because of the knowledge and a certain killer instinct that they have acquired during their playing days but it doesn’t always happen so.

1. Diego Maradona:

Maradona has always seemed to have issues away from the pitch, yet no one would dare question the Argentinian’s playing ability, with the World Cup winner still considered one of the greatest of all time.

As a manager though it’s been a far different story. He lasted a total of 23 combined games with his first two roles, before seeing Argentina thrashed 4-0 by Germany at the 2006 World Cup. He failed again at UAE side Fujairah and not much is expected of him in his current position at Mexican second division side Dorados whom he joined last week.

2. Sir Bobby Charlton:

Regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, Sir Bobby Charlton was an essential member of the England squad which had won the FIFA World Cup back in 1966. However, the Manchester United legend failed to stamp his authority as a successful coach.

The 80-year-old, who played almost his entire professional career for the Red Devils scoring 199 goals in 606 matches, took charge of Preston North End in 1973 and it was a disaster as his side got relegated to the third tier of English football.

3. Marco van Basten:

The legendary Dutch striker was a key figure in the Netherlands’ Euro Cup triumph back in 1988 with his unbelievable volley against the Soviet Union in the grand finale.

However, the former AC Milan man was unable to make his mark as a coach. In 2004, van Basten was appointed Netherlands coach and under his guidance, the ‘Oranjes’ qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and 2008 UEFA Euro Cup but failed to make it past the second round in both the competitions.

Van Basten was also appointed by Ajax twice and his second stint, he called it a day after they failed to qualify for the Champions League.

4. Alan Shearer:

With Newcastle United embroiled in a relegation battle as manager Joe Kinnear fell ill in 2009, they turned to former striker and all-time Premier League top goalscorer Alan Shearer to guide them to safety.

However, the former England number nine could muster just five points out of a possible 27 and after 16 long years slumped to the second division of English football. Needless to say, that was Shearer’s sole stint into management.

5. Tony Adams:

A multiple title-winning captain with Arsenal, Tony Adams seemed the perfect footballer to enter management once his career ended due to his brilliance as a leader and exceptional centre-back.

Adams first tried his luck in League One with Wycombe, but that soon became League Two with Wycombe. He lasted just 16 games with Portsmouth and his latest foray was a farcical job in Spain, where he guided Granada to a bottom-placed finish in La Liga in 2017. 

6. Paul Gascoigne:

A gem of a player, Paul Gascoigne’s off-field problems have been suggested to have harmed his attempts at management, which lasted just over a month with non-league side Kettering Town.

The former England international initially gained some coaching experience with Chinese side Gansu Tianma and Boston United, but his senior role with the Poppies did not go to plan, with the club’s chairman sacking him for reportedly being drunk each day

7. Gary Neville:

One of the best right-backs in Premier League history, Gary Neville was a Manchester United mainstay under Sir Alex Ferguson and it came as no surprise that he entered the world of football coaching like many of his former team-mates.

Neville left his role in the England national team backroom staff to take the reigns at Valencia in 2016, where brother Phil was already a coach. He lasted just four months though, winning only three games as Los Che dangled above the drop zone. 

8. Edgar Davids: 

Former Dutch international midfielder Edgar Davids won league titles with Ajax and Juventus, while also featuring for Barcelona, AC Milan and Tottenham Hotspur during a 20-year career in football.

However, he almost destroyed his reputation with an ill-fated spell as player-manager of Barnet. The spectacle-wearing pitbull led the Bees to relegation from the Football League, was sent off three times in eight games and refused to attend certain away games. 

9. Hristo Stoichkov:

The 1994 Ballon d’Or winner is the greatest Bulgarian footballer of all time, but he is most certainly not the greatest Bulgarian manager of all time after consistently failing, despite multiple attempts.

Stoichkov’s role as manager of the Bulgarian national team was a disaster from start to finish as they failed to qualify for two successive tournaments, while he also directed Celta Vigo to drop out of La Liga. 

10. Lothar Matthaus:

Lothar Matthaus won eight Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich, one Scudetto with Inter and a total of two Uefa Cups with the German and Italian giants.

The midfield maestro also captained Germany to a World Cup triumph in 1990 and accumulated 150 caps, a record for die Mannschaft. He has been married four times and his personal life has often put him at odds with his bosses during his various coaching stops.

Matthaus has never received the Bundesliga coaching job he craves and after leaving the likes of Atletico Paranaense, Partizan and the Hungarian and Bulgarian national teams in acrimonious circumstances, it could be one dream that never comes true.

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