Five great players who became coaches

Plenty of all-time football greats on the field have tried their luck in the dugout, with varying degrees of success. Here is a look at some of them:


The greatest player of his generation, and to many the greatest of them all, Maradona led Argentina to glory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico to cap a glorious playing career in which he also turned out for Barcelona, Napoli and Boca Juniors.

But his time in charge of his country was rather less successful as, after being drubbed 1-6 by Bolivia in qualifying, Argentina were knocked out of the 2010 World Cup in the quarter-finals, suffering a humiliating 0-4 defeat by Germany.

After that, he had a stint in charge of Al Wasl in the United Arab Emirates.


Nobody enjoyed success as both a player and a coach as Cruyff, the man who defined the Dutch Total Football era of the 1970s.

Cruyff captained the Dutch team that reached the World Cup final in 1974 and won three European Cups with Ajax, as well as a league title with Barcelona. He also won the Ballon d'Or three times.

As a coach, he had moderate success with Ajax before taking an underachieving Barca into the modern era - his "Dream Team" won four straight Spanish titles and the club's first European Cup.

He retains a huge influence over those who run Ajax and Barcelona and Pep Guardiola is one of Cruyff's disciples, starring for him as a player before becoming a great coach in his own right.


Beckenbauer is one of just two men - Brazil's Mario Zagallo is the other - to win the World Cup as player and coach. He captained West Germany to victory against Cruyff's Netherlands in 1974 and then coached his country to glory in Italy in 1990.

He also helped Bayern Munich win three successive European Cups in the 1970s but his record as a club coach left rather more to be desired. He did win a Bundesliga title with Bayern in 1994 and the Uefa Cup in 1996, but he is better remembered for his boardroom role at the Bavarian giants.


Platini was one of the greats of his generation but is not so well remembered for his time as a coach.

He led France to glory at the 1984 European Championship and won the European Cup with Juventus along with three Ballon d'Or awards.

But as a coach he failed to take France to the 1990 World Cup and he quit after a disappointing showing at Euro 92 in Sweden.


Another three-time Ballon d'Or winner, van Basten's playing career was glorious until it was cut short due to injury at the age of just 28.

The striker was part of the AC Milan team that dominated Italy and Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the defining moment of his career was the stunning volleyed goal against the Soviet Union in the Netherlands' Euro 1988 final victory.

As coach of the Netherlands, his side were knocked out of the 2006 World Cup in the last 16 and Euro 2008 at the quarter-final stage.

Underwhelming spells with Ajax, Heerenveen and AZ Alkmaar followed, before he stepped aside citing stress.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2016, with the headline 'Five great players who became coaches'. Print Edition | Subscribe