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Sacked in the Morning: The Greatest Players can Make the Most Incompetent Managers

August 21, 2015

- Grant Whittington

It is one of the strange anomalies of football that even the most skilled, decorated and revered players can make the most inadequate coaches. This even applies to disciplined players who displayed immense leadership qualities on the field, and this simply goes to show that there is a huge transition between being respected by your peers and managing them in an authoritative manner.

Many have tried and failed to manage after a successful playing career, and this trend will probably continue indefinitely through the ages. But who exactly are the stellar and talented players who failed to continue their excellence into management?

Roy Keane

As a player, Roy Keane served as the heartbeat of one of the most successful sides in the history of football. He captained Manchester United to seven Premier League crowns, three FA Cups, and even a Champions League title in his time, providing inspirational leadership and a determination that is not commonly associated with the modern game.

This did not translate into management, however, and despite an impressive start when he led Sunderland into the Premiership his difficult and uncompromising personality undermined his relationships with leading players.

Diego Maradona

Despite arguably being the greatest player of all-time, Maradona’s fiery temperament and individual flair triggered numerous doubts about his ability to manage at the highest level.

These fears were realised, especially when the diminutive Maradona took charge of the Argentinian national side during the 2010 World Cup. Despite impressing early on, Maradona displayed astonishing tactical nativity during a 4-0 quarter-final drubbing against Germany, as his love of attacking players and unwillingness to compromise cost him dear.

Marco Van Basten

One of the most stylish and accomplished strikers of his generation, Marco Van Basten is also renowned for scoring one of the greatest goals in history (an angled volley for the Netherlands against the USSR in the 1988 European Championship final). His composed temperament and ability to perform on the big stage seemed to earmark Van Basten for a stellar management career, although his stint at the helm of the national side culminated in disappointment and clashes with a number of established players.

He took charge of Ajax soon after, but lasted for just a single season as his side finished 12 points behind eventual champions AZ.

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