Top 5 players from the 21st century who became excellent managers
In the world of professional football, the job of the manager is arguably the most difficult. It serves as a source of fame and glamour when results go smoothly, but it could turn into a poisoned chalice when things go south.
The manager is the man tasked with motivating players to perform at their optimum, in addition to devising tactical methods to achieve victory and though the players might be more revered and rewarded, coaches are equally or even more important to the overall success of a team.
Football management is rather dicey and there is no sure-fire blueprint for success, with there being many examples of men who were successful on the bench despite having little to no success on the playing field.
By contrast, there are also some legendary players of the distant past such as Franz Beckenbauer, Berti Vogts, Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti, and Fabio Capello who excelled both on the field and dugout, while others faltered as managers despite having iconic playing careers.
In this piece, with emphasis on players whose playing career extended into the 21st century, we shall be taking a look at the five greatest footballers who have excelled as coaches.
Honourable mentions: Didier Deschamps, Laurent Blanc
#5 Antonio Conte
As a player, Antonio Conte started his professional career with Lecce with whom he spent six years, but it was his transfer to Juventus in 1991 that brought him into the public consciousness.
Conte spent the next 13 years with the Bianconerri, playing as a central midfielder and rose through the ranks to become club captain, while also winning numerous honours including the Serie A, the UEFA Cup, and the Champions League.
The presence of multiple world-beaters in midfield at this time meant that he was not a regular with the Azurri of Italy, but he still managed to make 20 appearances for his national team and represented his country at Euro 2000 as well as the 1994 World Cup.
The Lecce native cut his managerial teeth at several Italian clubs, before landing the biggest one of them all when he was appointed as Juventus coach in May 2011.
The Turin giants were far from the dominant force they are today and were still reeling from the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, but with Conte's revolutionary three-at-the-back system, he led his former side to unprecedented success, winning the next four league titles, with the first of those coming in an unbeaten campaign in just his first season with the club.
Further success was enjoyed on the bench with Chelsea and he is currently the manager of Inter Milan where he is attempting to break the stranglehold of the Serie A which he helped create at Juventus.