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Top 5 Legendary Players who became Legendary Coaches

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The recent news that Liverpool and England legend Steven Gerrard has taken the reigns at sleeping giant Rangers next season. The giant, which has lain dormant for many years since their last Scottish title back in the 2010-11 season has been seen by many as a gamble. Gerrard is taking over from a side who have had a very turbulent few years since their last Scottish title. It would be polite to say that since then the Scottish outfit has had somewhat of a mixed few years. Gerrard will want to follow in other legends of the game who equally became legendary coaches.

Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Anc

As a player ‘Carletto’ didn’t possess a notable physique or athletic characteristics, he was known for his calm, composed and defensive midfield play coupled with accurate long-range passes, a great vision, and excellent technical abilities like a modern-day Andrea Pirlo. He is a four-time Italian Cup titleholder from his playing days with Roma and won successive European Cups with AC. Milan. He was also part of the Italian national team that finished third in the 1990 World Cup. As a manager, he won the Italian Cup in 2003, added to the two he won as a player he successfully led Milan to two Champions Leagues. There’s more: he won the FA Cup and Premier League with Chelsea in 2010, the Spanish Cup with Madrid and finally achieved the most illustrious La Decima to the Madridista. Additionally, he won a French title with PSG, he most recently coached Bayer Munich, where he led them to a Bundesliga. Phew! Let’s hope he has a place to keep all those medals.

Franz Beckenbauer

BBeckenbauer happy

The “Der Kaiser” of the football world. Franz Beckenbauer has been around the game for five decades. During his playing days, Beckenbauer won several club titles as well as the 1974 World Cup with West Germany. He was awarded the Ballon d’Or twice, in 1972 and 1976. As a coach, Beckenbauer led his team to the World Cup Final in 1986, losing to Diego Maradona and Argentina. Four years later the two met again in the Final, this time West Germany emerged has victoriously. He also led Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title in 1994, before moving on to become club president.

Johan Cruyff 

Johan Cruyff is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. As a player, he helped Ajax win a hat-trick of European Cups in the 1970s and helped Barcelona win their first Spanish title in 14 years. But Cruyff was more than just a great footballer. Unlike Pele and Maradona, he was also a great thinker about football. It’s as if he were the lightbulb and Edison all at once. It’s impossible to identify one man who ‘invented’ British, or Brazilian, football. They just accreted over time. Yet Cruyff – with Rinus Michels, his coach at Ajax – invented Dutch football. He took over as Ajax’s manager, helping the team win its first European title since he was a player. Just like his playing days, he would eventually make his way to Barcelona helping build it into the club it is today. His Barcelona side dubbed ‘the Dream Team’ would go on to win their first European Cup in 1992.

Pep Guardiola


A student of the man above. Pep Guardiola is considered one of the greatest managers in the sport at this present time. But before he earned that title, he had a great run as a player as well. Guardiola first made Barcelona’s first team during the 1991-92 season, a season that ended with a league title. Pep was a key member of Cruyff’s “Dream Team,” that won La Liga in 1993 and ‘94, the Spanish Cup in 1997 and ‘98. Pep’s coaching took him back to Barcelona, where he won an unprecedented sextuple in 2009 as well as trophies with Bayern Munich and recently with Manchester City.

Zinedine Zidane

The man who settled two World Cup finals with his head. Zinedine Zidane’s coaching career is just getting started. The French footballer was named FIFA World Player of the Year three times and led France to a World Cup win in 1998. His league play includes stints in France, Spain and Italy. Zidane joined Real Madrid as an adviser in 2011 and would take over as the coach of the youth academy. He became the head coach of Real in January 2016 after the club fired Rafael Benitez. He led the team to a Champions League championship that season and repeated in 2017. He could potentially win a hat-trick of Champions League’s with his Madrid side in the final again in Kiev on May 26th. There are still plenty of years of coaching ahead of him, but this is an impressive start.

Know any more legendary players who later went on to have success as coaches? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook at @Playfinder