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Great Players who became great managers

Thu 29 April 2021 | 4:30

Talking about the greatest football managers of all time, it is undeniable that many of them are also on the list of the best football players in the world. But who are these people?

There is no doubt that to be a great soccer manager, one has to sacrifice and dedicate a lot since he or she is very young. Sometimes these great coaches start from nothing and sometimes they continue their way through kicking the ball as a player themselves. This fact takes us to the question we are trying to answer today; who are the

great players who became great managers

Well, as we have mentioned before, many football coaches have played football at some level before. But it takes a lot to be both a great player and a great manager. However, there have been some honorable names throughout the history of football to make their names memorable at both jobs. As they say, some are born great and some achieve greatness. Don’t you agree?

Without further ado, let’s find out more about these great players who became great coaches. Stay tuned.

best footballers who turned into great coaches

Ready? Let’s keep on then.

Fabio Capello

  • Full name:

    Fabio Capello

  • Nationality:

    Italian

  • Date of birth:

    18 June 194

  • Teams he played for:

    SPAL, Roma, Juventus, Milan, Italy national team

  • Teams he coached:

    Milan Primavera, Milan (caretaker), Milan, Real Madrid, Milan, Roma, Juventus, England, Russia, Jiangsu Suning

First, on our list of the

great players who were great managers too

, we have Fabio Capello. Capello started his playing career at the age of 16 with SPAL and then joined the senior team 2 years later. During his playing career, he helped SPAL to return to

Italian Serie A

, before joining

Roma

in 1967. There he helped the I Giallorossi to win the Coppa Italia in 1968–69. 

Juventus was Fabio Capello’s next destination where he won three Serie A titles in 1971–72, 1972–73, and 1974–75. For the last four years of his playing career, the great player joined Milan and helped the team to win the 1978–79 Serie A title and the 1976–77 Coppa Italia.

At the International level, Capello kicked the ball for Italy during 1972 and 1976. He made his international debut for the team on 13 May 1972, in their match against Belgium, where they lost 2-1.

Being one of the best coaches in the world, Capello’s managing career was more memorable. He started his coaching career in 1982 by joining Milan Primavera and during the 36 years ahead he proved to be one of the bests. Being titled as Milan’s head coach in 1991, it took him less than a year to win the Serie A title. He managed the team to win the Serie A title in 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, and 1995–96, in addition to 1992, 1993, and 1994 Supercoppa Italiana, the 1993–94

UEFA Champions League

, and the 1994 European Super Cup. 

His next destination was Real Madrid where he helped the team to win 2 La Liga titles in 1996–97 and 2006–07. In 1997 he went back to Milan for one year but then left the club to join Roma in 1999. With the help of the coach and great stars such as Totti and Gabriel Batistuta, Roma could win the Serie A title in 2000–01 and also the Supercoppa Italiana in 2001. Finally but yet importantly, Fabio Capello was the one to help Juventus to achieve the Serie A title two times in 2004–05 and 2005–06. 

Who do you think is the next coach on our article of great players who became great managers? Let’s carry on to find out. 

Kenny Dalglish 

  • Full name:

    Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish

  • Nationality:

    Scottish

  • Date of birth:

    4 March 1951

  • Teams he played for:

    Celtic, Liverpool

  • Teams he coached:

    Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Celtic (caretaker)

As one of the greatest British players of all time, Dalglish started his playing career in 1969 by Celtic and then joined Liverpool 8 years later in 1977. With Celtic, he won 4 Scottish Division One awards, 4 Scottish Cups, the 1974–75 Scottish League Cup, the 1974–75 Drybrough Cup, and the 1974–75 Glasgow Cup.

That was just the beginning of his glory as he was much more successful with

Liverpool

. There he was able to win 6 Football League First Division titles, the 1985–86 FA Cup, 4 Football League Cups, the 1985-86 Football League Super Cup, 5 FA Charity Shield cups, 3 European Cups, and the 1977 European Super Cup. But did you know that after 1985, he was not only the team’s player but also the coach? Yea! That’s right. Playing as a player-manager, Dalglish played a very important role in Liverpool’s glory during those years. 

Dalglish was also very successful personally, as he was the 1983 Ballon d'Or runner-up, the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1982–83, and the winner of some more awards. 

After joining

Blackburn

in 1991 he helped the team to be promoted to the

Premier League

in 1992. You ask that’s all? Well, interestingly no! After the promotion, Dalglish managed to win a surprising Premier League title in the 1994-95 season with the help of stars like Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer. As his next destination, he joined Newcastle and Celtic but didn’t achieve that much success. Eventually, he joined Liverpool in 2011 and led the team to win the 2011-12 Football League Cup. 

Clearly, he is one of the

greatest footballers who became successful coaches

. Don’t you agree?

Jupp Heynckes

  • Full name:

    Josef "Jupp" Heynckes

  • Nationality:

    German

  • Date of birth:

    9 May 1945

  • Teams he played for:

    Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hannover 96, Borussia Mönchengladbach, West Germany national team

  • Teams he coached:

    Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich, Athletic Bilbao, Eintracht Frankfurt, Tenerife, Real Madrid, Benfica, Schalke 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich (caretaker), Bayer Leverkusen

Next on our list of the great footballers who turned great managers, is Jupp Heynckes. He started his youth career in 1956 and continued to be one of the best players and also coaches in soccer history. 

The great coach started his senior playing career in 1963 by

Borussia Mönchengladbach

, later kicking the ball for Hannover 96 and the West Germany national team. During his playing time, he took so many awards home, including the 1974–75UEFA Cup, 4 Bundesliga titles, and the DFB-Pokal Cup in 1972–73. He also won the 1974 FIFA World Cup and the 1972 UEFA European Championship on an international scale. 

Just one year after retiring from playing on the pitch, he started his managing career and proved to be one of the best not only on the pitch but also as the heart of the team. During the 39 years of his coaching career, he helped his teams to win cups and titles over and over again. His greatest achievement as a manager was guiding Bayern Munchen to treble in the 2012-13 season. In total, he has 4 Bundesliga titles, the 2012–13 DFB-Pokal, three DFL-Supercup, and the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League with

Bayern Munich

, the 1997–98 UEFA Champions League and the 1997 Supercopa de España with Real Madrid, and two UEFA Intertoto Cup with Schalke 04 on his resume. 

The great coach managed 668 Bundesliga matches with five clubs, winning 343, losing 164, and drawing 161 matches. 

He really is one of the

greatest footballers who became successful managers

. Don’t you agree? Oh, let’s not forget that Heynckes was also the winner of the European Coach of the Season award in 2012–13, the German Football Manager of the Year in 2013 and 2018, and the winner of the “World Soccer Awards Manager of the Year” in 2013.

Giovanni Trapattoni

  • Full name:

    Giovanni Trapattoni

  • Nationality:

    Italian

  • Date of birth:

    17 March 1939

  • Teams he played for:

    A.C. Milan, Varese, Italy national team 

  • Teams he coached:

    A.C. Milan (youth), A.C. Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Cagliari, Fiorentina, Italy national team, Benfica, VfB Stuttgart, Red Bull Salzburg, Republic of Ireland, Vatican City

Next on our list of the

great players who became great managers

, we have Giovanni Trapattoni. He started his senior playing career by joining

AC Milan

in 1959, also kicking the ball for Varese and Italy international team. Winning the 1961–62, 1967–68 Serie A title, the 1966–67 Coppa Italia, the 1962–63, 1968–69 European Cup, and the 1967–68 European Cup Winners' Cup, he started his coaching career in 1972 with AC Milan youth club. 

The great coach kept helping different teams achieving titles and honors for the next 38 years.  

Known for his great success with

Juventus

, Inter Milan, and Bayern Munich, he gained many titles and achievements during his managing era. 

Among these some were much more important, including 6 Serie A titles, 2 Coppa Italia titles, the 1984–85 European Cup, the 1976–77 and 1992–93 UEFA Cup with Juve, the 1988–89 Serie A, and the 1990–91 UEFA Cup with Inter, the 1996–97 Bundesliga, the 1997–98 DFB-Pokal, and the 1997 DFB-Ligapokal with Bayern, the 2011 Nations Cup with Republic of Ireland national team and many many more titles and honors. 

Luis Enrique

  • Full name:

    Luis Enrique Martínez García

  • Nationality:

    Spanish

  • Date of birth:

    8 May 1970

  • Teams he played for:

    Sporting Gijón B, Sporting Gijón, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Spain national team, Asturias

  • Teams he coached:

    Barcelona B, Roma, Celta, Barcelona, Spain national team

Regarding as one of the best players and also coaches of his time, Luis Enrique is next in our article about great players who became great managers. Luis had the rare experience of playing at both Barcelona and

Real Madrid

during his playing career, while his coaching period is also significantly remembered by his time at Barcelona. 

Kicking the ball for different clubs such as

Sporting Gijón

, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Spain and Asturias national team during his playing career, the brilliant coach started kicking the ball for Sporting Gijón B-team in 1988, later joining the club’s first team. In 1991 Enrique joined Real Madrid and spent the next 5 years with the Los Blancos.

As we have mentioned before, the most interesting fact about Luis Enrique's playing career is that he spent most of his career, kicking the ball for La Liga’s two main rivals. In 1996 Enrique joined the Catalans. In the beginning, the club’s fans were not so sure about their new member, but soon the brilliant player won their hearts and became one of the club’s key players. Eventually, Enrique was retired from Barcelona in 2004, but that was not the end for him at Camp Nou as he soon rejoined the club’s B-team, this time as the coach in 2008. 

His next coaching destinations were Roma, Celta, Barcelona, and Spain national team where he added many titles and achievements to his resume. 

As we have mentioned before, Luis Enrique's time in Barcelona was glorious. He was appointed as Barcelona manager in 2014 and till 2017, he helped Barca to win a total of 9 titles including 2 La Liga, 3 Copa del Rey, and one Champions League. He also was titled as La Liga Coach of the Year, FIFA World Coach of the Year, and World Soccer Manager of the Year in 2015.

Who do you think is the next coach on our list of

great players who became great managers

? Let’s figure it out!

Carlo Ancelotti

  • Full name:

    Carlo Ancelotti

  • Nationality:

    Italian

  • Date of birth:

    10 June 1959

  • Teams he played for:

    Parma, Roma, Milan, Italy national team

  • Teams he coached:

    Reggiana, Parma, Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Napoli, Everton

Known as one of the best managers in the world, Carlo Ancelotti is the next on our list of

great players who became great coaches

.

Currently serving as

Everton

manager, Ancelotti first began his coaching career back in 1976, kicking the ball for

Parma

, at the age of 18. Roma and Milan in addition to Italy national team were the other teams Carlo Ancelotti kicked the ball for. 

Till 1992 Ancelotti kept collecting awards and titles as a player. Here are some of the titles he achieved during his playing era:

The 1982–83 Serie A, and four Coppa Italia titles with Roma, two Serie A titles, the 1988 Supercoppa Italiana, two European Cups, the 1990 European Super Cup, and the 1989 Intercontinental Cup with Milan, and the 1990 FIFA World Cup third-place with Italy national team.

Just three years later Ancelotti started his managing career with Italy Serie B side, Reggiana, in 1995. One year later he joined Parma and then continued his journey through Juventus, Milan,

Chelsea

,<a href="https://sportmob.com/en/team/5c40515b46b6a228f4006930/Paris-Saint-Germain/Information">

PSG

, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Napoli. His final destination so far has been Everton, where he has been in charge of, since 2019.

Among his many titles and achievement, some are more significant. Here’s a list of them:

With Milan:

 Serie A: 2003–04, Coppa Italia: 2002–03, Supercoppa Italiana: 2004, & UEFA Champions League: 2002–03, 2006–07. 

With Chelsea:

Premier League: 2009–10, FA Cup: 2009–10, & FA Community Shield: 2009.

With Paris Saint-Germain:

Ligue 1: 2012–13

With Real Madrid:

UEFA Champions League: 2013–14, & FIFA Club World Cup: 2014

With Bayern Munich:

Bundesliga: 2016–17,and DFL-Supercup: 2016, 2017

He also has many individual awards including the Serie A Coach of the Year title in 2001 and 2004, the Ligue 1 Manager of the Year in 2012–13, and the Premier League Manager of the Month for 5 months. 

Pep Guardiola

  • Full name:

    Pep Guardiola

  • Nationality:

    Spanish

  • Date of birth:

    January 18, 1971

  • Teams he played for:

    Barcelona C, Barcelona B, Barcelona, Brescia, Roma, Al-Ahli, Dorados    

Teams he coached:

Barcelona B, Barcelona, Bayern Munich,

Manchester City

Next on our list of the

best players who became great coaches

, we have one of the best coaches in the world, Pep Guardiola.

Regarded as one of the most influential managers, Pep Guardiola started his senior playing career back in 1988 with Barcelona C-Team. During the next 18 years, Pep kicked the ball for many clubs including Barcelona, Roma, and

Al-Ahli

. His time with Barcelona is one to remember with no doubt as he achieved a lot during that time. 6 La Liga titles and the 1996–97 Copa del Rey are just some of his achievements with the Blaugranas. 

Just one year apart from his playing retirement, Pep started his journey as a coach and proved to be one of the bests in the world. The current Man City coach first took control of the Barcelona B-team as the manager.

One year later he joined the Blaugrana’s first team where he added three La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, and two UEFA Champions League titles to his honors. 

His record of 14 trophies in four seasons is the reason for Guardiola to be known as one of the most successful coaches in Barcelona's history. 

Any way Pep eventually left

Barcelona

and joined Bayern Munich as the head coach in 2013. Just during his first season with the Bavarians, he won one Bundesliga title, one DFB-Pokal, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. He later added two more Bundesliga titles and the 2015–16 DFB-Pokal to the package of his achievements. 

Guardiola’s final destination so far has been Manchester City. He joined the Citizens back in 2016. Known as one of the

most successful Premier League managers

, Guardiola joined Manchester City in 2016 and has been one of the most successful managers the club has ever had so far. 

In addition to two Premier League titles, one FA Cup title, three EFL Cups, and two FA Community Shields, he has won several individual titles, including 

Zinedine Zidane

  • Full name:

    Zinedine Yazid Zidane

  • Nationality:

    French

  • Date of birth:

    June 23, 1972

  • Teams he played for:

    Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid, France national team 

  • Teams he coached:

    Real Madrid Castilla, Real Madrid

Who do you think is third on our list of

best footballers who turned into great coaches

? Yes! That’s right… It’s one of the greatest players and coaches of all time,

Zinedine Zidane

with no doubt. 

So far we have had many great names on our list, but now that we are in the top three, everything is different and we have no doubt that you feel also the same. 

Zidane is the name for many of us to remember with lots of joy and honor. Do you remember his famous volley in Madrid's 2–1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 UCL Final?

Yes, that’s just one of the few moments we can remember Zinedine Zidane with! The legend started his playing career at the age of 9 and then joined Cannes as his first senior team back in 1989.

Also known as Zizou, the current Real Madrid coach later joined Bordeaux in 1992 and spent the next 4 years with the team. After a series of notable performances at both Bordeaux and France national team, Zidane moved signed his contract with Juventus back in 1996. There he started collecting titles and honors including 2 Serie A titles, the 1997 Supercoppa Italiana, the 1996 UEFA Super Cup, and also 2 UEFA Champions League runner-up titles. 

In 2001 Zidane signed a contract with Real Madrid on a record fee of 150 billion Italian lire and that’s the beginning of his long story at Real Madrid. 

During the next five years, Zidane added much more to his resume including the 2002–03 La Liga title, the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League, the 2002 UEFA Super Cup, and some more glorious achievements. 

At the international level also he was a very successful player as he helped France national team to win the 1998 FIFA World Cup and also accompanied the team in achieving second place in the tournament’s 2006 final. They also won the UEFA European Championship back in 2000. 

The beginning of Zidane’s coaching career goes back to 2014 when he started coaching Real Madrid Castilla. He later joined Real Madrid in 2016 and guided the team to win the 2-016-17

La Liga

title. 

As we all know, Real Madrid has had some of its best days with the help of the legendary coach. Together they have also won the Supercopa de España, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. In May 2018, Zidane announced his resignation as Real Madrid manager and left the club. But were the good days over? Of course not! Let’s see what happened then?!

In fact, by the departure of Zidane, Real lost a lot, but eventually, Zidane returned for their rescue on 11 March 2019. 

With the return of beloved Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid went up the latter of glory again and has so far won the 2019-20 La Liga title, in addition to the 2019-20 Supercopa de España.

Zidane has also set several records to his name. The legendary Real Madrid coach has the longest unbeaten run in Real Madrid history (40 games). He is also the only manager in Real history to have won UEFA Super Cup twice, and the only manager in Real Madrid history to have won five trophies in a calendar year.

Franz Beckenbauer

  • Full name:

    Franz Anton Beckenbauer

  • Nationality:

    German

  • Date of birth:

    11 September 1945

  • Teams he played for:

    Bayern Munich, New York Cosmos, Hamburger SV, West Germany national team

  • Teams he coached:

    West Germany, Marseille, Bayern Munich

Thinking about the best football managers in the world, Beckenbauer is one of the names to come to our mind with no doubt. The legendary soccer manager started playing football at a very young age and started playing football professionally at the age of 19 by joining Bayern Munich in 1964. He went on playing football till 1983. During the first few years, he proved to be one of the best football players of his generation. 

Beckenbauer has also kicked the ball for the West Germany national team. 

He was the first player to win three European Cups as captain of his club. Do you wonder about der Kaiser’s other achievements? Well, you must note that as a player he won 5 Bundesliga titles(four with Bayern and one with Hamburg SV), 4 DFB-Pokal titles, 3 European Cups, one European Cup Winners' Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, 3 North American Soccer League, and in international lever he was able to achieve the 1974 FIFA World Cup and the 1972 UEFA European Championship. Wait! He was also the winner of many individual awards including the 1972 & 1976 Ballon d'Or award. 

No wonder why he is regarded as one of the best players in the world! Huh?!

Ok, time to dig deep into the great coach’s coaching career! Ready?

As we have mentioned before, Beckenvauer announced his retirement from playing football by leaving New York Cosmos in 1983 and one year later started his coaching career by West Germany where he stayed for the next six years. 

 He later joined Marseille where he won the Ligue 1 title is in 1990–91. Bayern Munich was his next destination. He reunified with his old-time club in 1993, left them in 1994, and joined them again in 1996, and that was the end of his coaching chapter.

Beckenbauer’s coaching time is one to remember with his team’s victory in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He also helped Bayern to win the 1993-94 Bundesliga and the 1995-9 UEFA Cup. 

Time to find out who is the next person on our list of the Great players who were great managers too. Are you ready?

Johan Cruyff

  • Full name:

    Hendrik Johannes Cruijff

  • Nationality:

    Dutch

  • Date of birth:

    25 April 1947

  • Teams he played for:

    Ajax, Barcelona, Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Ajax, Feyenoord, Netherlands national team 

  • Teams he coached:

    Ajax, Barcelona, Catalonia

Yes! That’s right. Johan Cruyff is definitely number one on our article about great players who became great managers.

Known as one of the best football players in the world, El Salvador started playing football professionally in 1964.

Ajax

was the first club he joined and his next destination was Barcelona. Known as one of the bests at both clubs, Cruyff played for many teams including Netherlands national team since he announced his retirement from playing football in 1984. Here is a list of just a few of his achievements during his playing career.

Ajax

  • 8 Eredivisie titles

  • 5 KNVB Cups

  • 3 European Cups

Barcelona

  • 1 La Liga title 

  • 1 Copa del Rey title

Feyenoord

  • 1 Eredivisie title

International

  • FIFA World Cup Runner-up in 1974

Individual

  • 3 Ballon d'Or titles in 1971, 1973, 1974

  • Eredivisie top scorer in 1966–67, 1971–72

  • FIFA World Cup Golden Ball in 1974

Like all the other great players who became great managers on our list, the playing era was not the end of Cruyff's glory as he soon started coaching teams by joining Ajax in 1985. 

During his time with Ajax, Cryuff implemented his favorite team formation; a system that included three defenders plus one more covering space, a defensive midfielder, two "controlling" midfielders, one-second striker, two wingers, and one center forward.

With the help of the new system, Ajax won the Champions League in 1995, in addition to the 1985–86 & 1986–87 KNVB Cup and the 1986–87 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

Mostly known for his services at Ajax and Barcelona, the legendary coach left Ajax to join Barcelona, the club he dazzled during the 70s as a player, in 1988.  

He is regarded as Barcelona’s best coach of all time along with Pep Guardiola, who we also have talked about previously. 

The team experienced a time of glory and brilliant achievements with the help of its legendary coach. 

During his 8 years stay at Camp Nou, Cryuff helped Barca to win 11 trophies. This record made him the most accomplished manager in Barcelona's history until almost twenty years later Pep Guardiola broke the record with 14 titles in 4 seasons. 

Cruyff’s achievements with Barcelona include 4 La Liga titles, the 1989-90 Copa del Rey, 3 Supercopa de España cups, the 1991–92 European Cup/UEFA Champions League, the 1988–89 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and the 1992 UEFA Super Cup.

And that’s all in our article about the great players who became great managers. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Have any other

great footballers who turned great managers

? Let us know in the comment section. 

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