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5 great players who made bad managers

Scott Newman
Top 5 / Top 10

Greece v Argentina: Group B - 2010 FIFA World Cup
Diego Maradona's run as Argentina boss was disastrous

What exactly makes a great manager? It’s hard to say really – you need tons of attributes to succeed at the top level, and the rise and fall of the likes of Claudio Ranieri shows that it’s hard to stay at the top.

Right now some of the world’s most highly rated managers – from Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola to Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pochettino – were once great players, too, representing their countries and playing at the highest level with their clubs.

It’s not a given though that great players will make great managers. In fact, sometimes former greats make some of the worst managers out there. Here are five examples.

#1 Diego Maradona

Recently voted the greatest player of all time by 442 magazine, it’s pretty clear to say that Argentine legend Diego Maradona won’t be appearing on any lists of great managers any time soon. El Diego retired from football in the mid 1990s and had a couple of failed stints with smaller clubs in his native Argentina, but it was his run as manager of the national side that lives in infamy.

Maradona was appointed boss of La Albiceleste in late 2008 to much fanfare, but after a decent start, he oversaw a shocking 6-1 defeat to Bolivia and only managed to secure qualification to the 2010 World Cup by ensuring Argentina won their final two qualifiers. After qualifying, Maradona infamously told the press to “suck it”.

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Hopes were high going into the World Cup and when Argentina won all of their group games – including a 4-1 rout of South Korea – it was looking good. But then they stumbled past Mexico in the second round before Maradona’s amateurish, gung-ho tactics were cruelly exposed by Germany in the Quarter-Finals. Argentina were destroyed 4-0 and shortly after, El Diego found himself out of a job.

Essentially, Maradona’s tactics amounted to “you score one, we’ll score two”, which never tends to work at the top level. Not when you’re using an attacking midfielder like Jonas Gutierrez at right-back at least! After Argentina, Maradona went on to manage Arab club Al-Wasi, which also ended in disaster, confirming his spot as a genuinely awful manager.

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