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Top 5 managers who were better as footballers

Some managers, no matter how much success they enjoy, were better as footballers and here are the top 5 examples.

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10 01 Mar 2018, 13:32 IST
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Diego M<p>

Diego Maradona was an exceptional player but couldn't gain as much success as a manager

It's an old argument that the media folk frequently trumpet, that to be a great manager, one has to have previously been a great footballer, and have experience on the pitch. The argument immediately withers when people like Jose Mourinho and Arrigo Sacchi are considered: neither played professionally to any good level and both have changed football, in their own way, after becoming coaches.

It's not necessary to have played the game to a high standard to become a manager, but it also doesn't exclude world-class players from making it in coaching; there are examples to all sides.

Indeed, it can be hard for a truly elite player to top the achievements of his playing career off the pitch, even if they enjoy success as a manager. This slideshow, therefore, looks at the top 5 examples of managers who - whether because they were supreme in their playing days or also notably poor in management - were much better as football players:


#5 Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona Hand of God Goal Argentina v England 1986
Maradona and the infamous 'Hand of God' goal in the 1986 World Cup

The life and career of the best Argentinian footballer before Lionel Messi's arrival is well-documented and he's certainly among the top 5 players of all time. Maradona was an era-defining talent, the best to follow Pele (and his eternal rival), and his charisma and swagger made him a sporting icon.

Maradona's highlight reels are immense: everyone remembers his 'Goal of the Century' against England in the 1986 World Cup, as he slalomed his way past five English defenders before slotting past Peter Shilton; he completely inspired Napoli to their first ever Serie A title in 1987.

Some players seem destined for a transfer into management but Maradona, with his volatile temperament and off-field problems, wasn't one of them. It was highly surprising, then, when it was announced that Maradona would take over as the Argentina national team in 2008.

He had precious little experience in management up until then, with just two short spells in his homeland with Mandiyu de Corrientes and Racing Club 13 years previously, and the results were uninspiring.

He was in charge of a 6-1 loss to Bolivia, equaling the team's worst ever margin of defeat. He unleashed an abusive tirade at the media after the country's qualification for the 2010 World Cup, resulting in a 2-month ban.

After a promising start in that tournament, Germany routed them 4-0 in the quarter-finals, bringing an end to his time in charge of his beloved nation. Maradona was the main reason Argentina triumphed in the 1986 World Cup and he took them to another final in 1990, but it was always too romantic a notion to conceive of him guiding them to similar success as a manager.

He's only forayed into management again two times, both in the UAE with Al Wasl and Fujairah (his current side) but it's very unlikely that management will ever suit the great Maradona.

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