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5 brilliant footballers who were better as managers

Conor Lochrie
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
12.09K   //    Timeless

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola was a brilliant footballer but, he is an even better manager!

It is the general consensus that being a footballer inherently equips a person to be a good manager and while it's not always true, there are plenty of examples throughout the history of the game to prove the statement correct.

Playing professionally gives one a feel for what it's like out on the pitch, gives one a unique understanding of the dressing room and how to control it, both vital skills to have for management.

It's like being given a head start in the race to become a manager, and we've seen countless examples of ex-players being hired by their clubs to take over as the coach, at any level or age group.

Some top footballers have never sought out the challenges of management, like Pele or Sir Bobby Charlton, instead intending to enjoy their lives after their careers; some others who one might not have expected to enter coaching have done so, like Zinedine Zidane and Luis Enrique.

There is a small amount, however, that enjoyed good playing careers but transcend their achievements on the pitch off it, and this slideshow lists the top 5 footballers who somehow became better as managers.


#5 Diego Simeone

Sevilla v Atletico Madrid - La Liga
Simeone's Atletico still have a chance of winning La Liga this season

The Argentine has only enjoyed great success at one club so far in his managerial career but what success it has been. He took over Atletico, whom he played for during his career, in 2011 when the club was in the doldrums, lying mid-table with no future expectations.

The transformation was immediate and intense. They would end the season comfortably higher on the table and even more impressively as Europa League champions.

The Copa del Rey came in 2012/2013 before Atletico's miraculous league title the following season, as Simeone somehow masterminded wrestling La Liga from the firm grip of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

He made most of his resources, utilized what he had, and created the most tactically-disciplined yet devastating sides in Europe.

Unfortunately for Simeone and Atletico fans, they came close to winning their first ever Champions League title twice, in 2013/2014 and 2015/2016, but agonizingly lost out to arch-rivals Real Madrid both times.

He had molded the team after himself for as a player he was just as ferocious, aggressive, tactically-astute and defensive as his Atletico team.

He was already an icon at the club as he was a vital part of the midfield that won their previous La Liga all the way back in 1995/1996; to come back after such a long time and coach them to their next league win is how legends are made.

After arriving in European football with Sevilla in 1992, Simeone enjoyed a solid playing career in the Italian and Spanish top divisions, his combativeness and leadership qualities were always welcome for battling teams. He would win the UEFA Cup during his time with Inter Milan, before securing a Serie A title with Lazio in 1999/2000.

Simeone also lies fifth in the all-time appearance list for his national side Argentina, with 106 caps. It's a career to be proud of, and he was certainly one of football's best box-to-box midfielders of that decade, but Simeone's achievements as manager of Atletico outweigh them and, given he's still only 47 and a wanted man at top clubs around the club, the best may still be yet to come.

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Conor Lochrie
ANALYST
Freelance writer, massive football fan! Currently living in New Zealand.
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