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5 greatest player-manager relationships of all time

Northampton Town v Manchester United - EFL Cup Third Round
Northampton Town v Manchester United - EFL Cup Third Round
Abhinav Anand
ANALYST

Football, for many, has predominantly been about winning. But the beautiful game is much more than that.

Football is a team game, and the relationships formed almost always last a lifetime. Managers these days don't last long at any job, but some managers are able to build an excellent rapport with their players.

Certain player-manager relationships have gone on to define the sport and transform the game of football.

5 greatest player-manager relationships of all time

#5 Johan Cruyff-Rinus Michels

Red Carpet - 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards
Red Carpet - 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards

Johan Cruyff was a revolutionary figure whose impact on the beautiful game will last forever.

Cruyff was one of the greatest players and one of the greatest managers football has ever seen. The Dutchman, alongside Rinus Michels, has been credited with developing and implementing "Total Football", a style of play that focuses on the versatility of the players.

Cruyff and Michels enjoyed an excellent partnership. Cruyff played under the management of Michels at Ajax, Barcelona and the Netherlands national team, and the duo were hugely successful as well. Football owes a lot to Cruyff and Michels.


#4 Thierry Henry- Arsene Wenger

Leaders Sport Awards 2018
Leaders Sport Awards 2018

Thierry Henry is regarded by many as the greatest Premier League player of all time. But one is left to wonder whether the forward would have achieved the success that he did without Arsene Wenger's guidance.

Henry's talent was unquestionable during his AS Monaco days, where he was coached by Wenger. The attacker moved to Juventus in 1999 but struggled in Italy. He subsequently joined Arsenal the same year and flourished under Wenger's management.

Wenger started utilizing Henry as a striker rather than on the wings, and the France international soon established himself as a world-class no.9. Henry was highly creative and a prolific goalscorer, and he has credited Wenger for his achievements in the game.


Also Read: 5 managers who could replace Mikel Arteta at Arsenal

#3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic-Jose Mourinho

Leicester City v Manchester United - The FA Community Shield
Leicester City v Manchester United - The FA Community Shield

These days, it is hard to imagine Jose Mourinho endearing himself to a player or a fanbase for an extended period of time.

In his prime, though, the Portuguese was adored. Mourinho's charisma and mercurial nature, which often comes to the fore even today, influenced both fans and the players. Zlatan Ibrahimovic himself is an enigmatic figure, and the Swede played some of the best football of his career under the management of Mourinho.

Ibrahimovic is one of the best strikers of the modern generation. The former Ajax man played for two teams coached by Mourinho - Inter Milan and Manchester United. The 39-year old attacker has often expressed his admiration for the current Roma boss.


#2 Lionel Messi-Pep Guardiola

Paris Saint Germain v RC Strasbourg - Ligue 1 Uber Eats
Paris Saint Germain v RC Strasbourg - Ligue 1 Uber Eats

Pep Guardiola is one of the greatest managers of all time and Lionel Messi is one of the greatest players to have played the game.

When Guardiola was appointed Barcelona manager in 2008, he was an unknown quantity. The Spaniard soon proved his worth though. He played an important role in Messi's development, often utilizing the Argentine superstar as a false nine and helping the forward become arguably the best player in world football.

Guardiola's Barcelona is seen as one of the greatest sides in football. Spearheaded by Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Barcelona swept aside their opponents and consistently won trophies during Guardiola's tenure.

Last summer, Messi openly announced his wish to leave Barcelona, and the Argentina international was keen on a move to Guardiola's Manchester City. But the move failed to materialize.


#1 Cristiano Ronaldo-Sir Alex Ferguson

Arsenal v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Semi Final
Arsenal v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Semi Final

Cristiano Ronaldo's relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson has been well-covered, with the Portuguese superstar often reiterating his respect for the legendary manager.

Ronaldo developed as one of the best players in the world during his first spell with Manchester United under the management of Ferguson. The Portugal international has called the Scot his "footballing father", and recently admitted that they still stay in touch.

Ferguson played an extremely important role in ensuring Ronaldo returns to Manchester United this summer. The 36-year old was reportedly close to joining Manchester City from Juventus, but Ferguson intervened and Manchester United were able to get their man.


Also Read: 5 best international goalscorers in world football right now

Edited by Samya Majumdar

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