Top 5 Legends who played and managed at the Euros
The UEFA European Championships, or Euros for short, has seen some of the greatest players in the game return as managers having already run the length of the pitch as players before. There are several players who have played at (and won) the Euros only to return to the tournaments, this time as Head Coaches of their National Team.
Here, we take a look at the five legends of the game who have not only played and but also managed at the Euros over the years.
#1 Marco Van Basten
As a player
There are few players who’ve ever reached the dizzying heights of success in their careers as footballers as Marco Van Basten did, considering he had to end it all before his ‘peak years’. Van Basten was a complete striker who featured and scored for the Netherlands with aplomb. Part of a trinity that ruled European football at Milan in Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and Van Basten himself, the Netherlands’ striker went into Euro 1988 at the peak of his powers.
He ran away, that year, with the tag of the top scorer in the Euros, with three of his total five goals coming against England in a group stage crunch game where he turned English defender Tony Adams for fun, scoring past Peter Shilton for the opening goal. The Dutch forward turned Adams again in the game to give Netherlands the lead for a second time before clinching the game with a third from close range.
The Dutchman scored again in the Semi-Finals to hand the Dutch their first victory against a German side as they knocked West Germany out of the tournament to reach the final for the first time. In the final, Van Basten scored what is described often as the greatest goal ever in the European Championships to power his team to a 2-0 victory to seal a remarkable tournament for the Dutch.
Van Basten also featured for the Netherlands in the 1992 European Championships as a player but failed to score at all in the group stages before missing a crucial penalty in the shootout against Denmark which eventually cost the Dutch the chance of appearing for a second successive final.
Van Basten also managed the Dutch side into the 2008 UEFA European Championship but after a strong performance in the group stage, where they beat World Champions Italy and World Cup Runners-Up France comprehensively and a Romanian side using a second string Dutch line-up, the Oranje lost to the Russians, who were coached by Dutchman Guus Hiddink 3-1 after Extra Time. Marco Van Basten left his position as National Team coach shortly afterwards.