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5 great players who failed as managers

Gary Neville is one of many big-name players who failed as a manager.
Gary Neville is one of many big-name players who failed as a manager.
Sanstab Das
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As has been seen with Frank Lampard at Chelsea, the old adage isn't always true that a successful player has a fruitful managerial career.

Five great players who failed to make it as managers

Some of the best managers in the modern game did not have the best careers as players. Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger are a few names in this regard.

On that note, let's have a look at five great players who struggled as managers:


#5 Gianfranco Zola

(West Ham, Watford, Cagliari, Birmingham City)

Gianfranco Zola
Gianfranco Zola

Chelsea and Parma legend Gianfranco Zola is regarded as one of the best playmakers of his generation.

Zola was involved in 232 goals (200 goals, 32 assists) in 665 appearances in his stellar career, but he never managed to replicate the same exploits as a manager.

The Italian had a solid debut season as the manager of the Hammers, ensuring a ninth-place finish, but things unravelled in the next season. West Ham narrowly escaped relegation, and Zola was relieved of his duties.

He enjoyed another strong start with Watford, but witnessed a dip yet again. One win in 11 games led to Zola's resignation, and he ventured back home to take over the reins at Cagliari Calcio. Zola faced the boot after just three months at the club, though, after winning just two of his ten games in charge.

The Italian's next managerial stint was at English Championship team, Birmingham City. The Blues were a strong contender to make the playoffs, but Birmingham found themselves just three points off relegation, and Zola resigned.


#4 Gary Neville

(Valencia CF)

Gary Neville
Gary Neville

12-time Premier League and 2-time Champions League winner Gary Neville was one of the best full-backs in the modern game and was a mainstay in Sir Alex Ferguson's all-conquering Manchester United.

The Class of '92 graduate won 30 titles in 19 successful seasons at the club, making 602 appearances for England's most successful team. While Neville won some of Europe's biggest titles in his illustrious career on the pitch, there was a lot to be desired in his time off it.

It was somewhat of a shock when Neville took over the reins of Valencia mid-season in 2015. Fans and pundits were apprehensive of his appointment, as Neville had no prior managerial experience. The concerns turned out to be true, as the Englishman faced the sack after less than four months at the Mestalla.

In his brief managerial career, Gary Neville oversaw Valencia to just three wins in 16 league matches, which produced no clean sheet.

The lowest moment was a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey semis. After slipping to 14th in the table and getting dragged into a relegation fight, Valencia decided to part ways with the current Sky Sports pundit.

#3 Alan Shearer

(Newcastle United)

Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer is regarded as one of the greats in the history of English football and is the Premier League's all-time highest goalscorer. Shearer was arguably the biggest Newcastle icon in his playing days as the club enjoyed one of their most successful spells during Shearer's stint at Tyneside.

While Shearer did the impossible time and time again for the Bagpipers on the football pitch, he failed to achieve the same success on the sidelines. Shearer was brought in as Newcastle's manager and was given the seemingly improbable task of saving the team from relegation, with just eight games to go.

With no managerial experience beforehand, Shearer struggled at the job and needed time to pick up the tricks of the trade. However, time wasn't on his side; Newcastle were relegated that season, and Shearer was released from his temporary managerial position.

Nevertheless, the Englishman will always be remembered for his 260-goal tally in the Premier League, miles ahead of second-placed Wayne Rooney (208).


#2 Sir Bobby Charlton

(Preston North End)

Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby Charlton

England and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton is another great who will be revered for his time on the football pitch and forgotten for his time off it.

The Englishman enjoyed a brief managerial career in 1973, taking charge of second-tier team, Preston North End.

Charlton enjoyed a good start to his managerial career, propelling the team to second place briefly. However, things swiftly went downhill; Preston North End endured relegation and were demoted to the third tier. Charlton returned as a player-coach in the next season but called it quits after a dispute with the board.

Sir Bobby Charlton was one of the most lethal goalscorers back in the day, scoring 113 times in 396 appearances for the Red Devils.


#1 Diego Maradona

(Argentina, Al Wasl)

Diego Maradona on the Argentina sidelines at the 2010 FIFA World Cup
Diego Maradona on the Argentina sidelines at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Late Argentine legend and one of football's all-time greats, Diego Armando Maradona had a forgettable managerial stint. The FIFA World Cup winner is regarded by many as the greatest Argentine to grace the game and is revered worldwide.

Maradona, who was renowned for his eccentricity both on and off the pitch, represented the likes of Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys. The South American achieved a god-like status, especially in the city of Naples, where he enjoyed some of his best days in club football.

Diego Maradona held the record of being Napoli's highest goalscorer, with 115 goals, before he was overtaken by Marek Hamsik in 2017. Despite his exploits as a player, his time as a manager was rather unremarkable.

There were huge expectations from Maradona when he was appointed Argentina's manager ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

La Albiceleste survived a scare in the World Cup qualifiers but managed to scrape through to the main event. But Maradona faced the boot after Argentina crashed out in the quarter-finals before he made a managerial return with Dubai's Al Wasl. But he was sacked after a year at the top job, though.

Edited by Bhargav
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