There are great players, and then there are great managers – but every once in a while, we get a rare talent who is good at both. Who wouldn’t be impressed by those who played astoundingly well when they were on the pitch, and then made the game bigger off the pitch once they hung up their boots? Here’s our tribute to three such coaches who ruled football since they first stepped into the field.
The younger generation knows Sir Alex Ferguson as an extremely successful coach, but he was a successful player long before that. In his first season as a player, he scored 20 goals in 31 games at Queens Park Rangers. He moved between teams, but his prolific scoring was never affected – he was the top-goal scorer in 1965-66 season. While his achievements as a player are good, they can’t hold a candle to what he accomplished as a coach: From Aberdeen to Manchester United, he has only been hoarding trophies. The man signed off with a Premier League victory, making Manchester United a global favourite.
Antonio was Juventus’ ticket to fame. No wonder he has been the most influential and decorated player in the history of Juventus, considering the club’s UEFA Champions League victory under his captaincy. There lay signs of a path-breaking coach in making. And he only proved it right by taking Chelsea to the title in his first season as a manager and bringing home the FA cup in the next season. Let’s hope Chelsea’s new coach Sarri can match the expectations of his predecessor.
Apart from the start, there’s nothing accidental about Pep Guardiola’s career: He made his debut because an established player was suspended, and then went on to win the ’92 European cup with Barcelona. This was just the beginning, as Pep rallied to win 4 successive La Liga titles in the coming seasons. He carried this magic touch into his coaching career, making Barcelona the first Spanish club to win the domestic cup, the league, and the European club titles in his first season. As expected, his golden touch is still effective – as his 2017-18 EPL title win with Manchester City suggests.