Coaching is perhaps the most difficult task in football and not because of the tactics used by the managers or the pressure they go through.
Few managers have in one way or the other graced the football pitch, before becoming a coach. Having said that the career of a footballer is finite, and one day the boots have to be laid to rest for the next career in line as either a football agent, administrator, or manager as the case may be.
However, all their coaching badges and dressing room experience doesn’t automatically equate to instant success as a manager. But then it’s a known fact that they’re usually saddled with the responsibility of tinkering a football team to success whether being a greenhorn coach or an experienced one, all is expected of them from millions of fans across the globe and their employer is nothing but success.
Having said that, Cheapgoals will in this piece take a look at a few managers who started their managerial career early even when many felt they’re not mature enough.
When a greenhorn manager is being employed, there is always narratives concerning such manager, about if he’s prepared enough for the task at hand, smart for the job, and how well in tune the manager with the kind of pressure managerial post possess or comes with.
- Andrea Pirlo – (Juventus Manager)
In terms of footballers with a great understanding of the game, there are few better than the former AC Milan midfielder and World Cup winner.
The holding midfielder is a true tactician on the pitch prior to the time he hung his boots, he dictates the creative flow of his teams playing with amazing ease on the pitch with the ball on his feet.
The appointment of Pirlo at Juventus came as a big surprise to everyone in the world of football, he has only been appointed as the club’s U23 manager, before he was surprisingly appointed as the head coach of the Old Lady following the dismissal of Mauricio Sarri.
He hasn’t even completely finished his coaching badges according to reports and hasn’t taken a training session as a manager with the U23 team before he was handed the biggest job of his life as a manager.
Following Pirlo’s appointment, his former teammate and one of the club legend Gianluigi Buffon had to tease the new manager in town that “From now on, do I have to call you a coach”?.
Ironically, that’s certainly the situation of things at Juventus now, and Andrea Pirlo wouldn’t be the first and the last player to go straight into managing his former teammates as a coach.
The former midfielder is one of the finest Italian players ever to play the round leather game. The question now is, can he carry over his talent as a footballer to his new profession and be one of the finest managers, as he heads to his managerial call at age 41?
- Vincent Kompany – (Anderlecht’s Manager)
It takes one heck of a strong personality like the former Hamburger defender cum-midfielder to unite a dressing as talented as that of Manchester City own, full to the brim with amazing players with diverse egos.
The former Belgian defender hasn’t only been a fantastic captain for his country, he has also been an amazing leader during his stint with the Cityzens, leading the team with his experience both on and off the pitch.
In 2019, it was announced that he would be leaving City to become player-manager of Anderlecht.
However, following some couples of poor results Kompany decided to step down from his managerial post to focus primarily on being a player for the Brussels-based club, for Simon Davies to take over the tactical changes and substitutions of the team.
As results on the pitch started coming good for Anderlecht, Kompany began his managerial career fully in August 2020, when it was announced that he would be the head coach for the Brussels based club for the next four seasons, after retiring from professional football on the same day at age 34.
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- Xavi Hernandez – (Al Sadd’s Manager)
Like Pirlo, like Xavi, the former Barcelona captain his arguably one of the greatest players in the history of the round leather game.
His reading of the game is second to none when he’s on the pitch, and his well revered for his defense splitting passes for the Spanish national team and Barcelona respectively.
The current Al Sadd manager is in some ways compared to Pep Guardiola, in terms of personality but when talking about their playing pattern Xavi edges the City manager. Xavi began his managerial career following his retirement from professional football at the end of the Qatari league season.
Xavi stated that “He would like to remain in Qatar after his retirement, and he would look to begin a coaching career”, he went further by saying “The idea is to start as a coach in Qatar, to test myself and get some experience“, and since then the former World Cup winner has been the manager of the Qatari side up till this moment.
- Xabi Alonso – (Real Socieded B Manager)
The former Real Madrid, Liverpool, Bayern Munich deep line playing midfielder is no doubt one player you would love to have in your midfield, not because of anything but because of his amazing skill set, eyes for defense splitting passes, and great calmness on the ball.
Since his burgeoning days at Real Sociedad, the midfielder has always being a vital player to his teams. Alonso may be a very quiet and calm player off the pitch, but when it comes to dragging his team to the edge of success you would always count on the former Real Madrid man.
In 2018, having completed his UEFA Elite coaching course alongside former teammates Joan Capdevilla, Raul Gonzalez, Xavi, and Valdes, he returned to Madrid where he took up the position of Real Madrid’s U14 team.
Following his departure from Real Madrid, he was appointed by Real Sociedad to take over the B team playing in the Segunda Division B in 2019.
Being a loyal, a dedicated player in his day, should Alonso get a bigger managerial job compare to his current job, he would be expected to bring his years of experience, tactical proficient into managing his team.
- Steven Gerrard – (Glasgow Rangers Manager)
Being a brilliant and fantastic player doesn’t necessarily mean such a player would end up being an amazing manager dishing out instructions from the dugout.
Surprisingly, Gerrard has been able to some extent quench that assertion with the impressive work he’s been doing with Rangers since he was appointed.
The former Liverpool captain is one of the greatest midfielders of the last two decades. At age 37, he got his first managerial job as an academy coach at Liverpool after ending his playing career in 2006 and he’s made no secret of his desire to move into management prior before he took up the academy post.
The Anfield legend won the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Competitions both the UEFA Cup and Champions League with the Anfield side.
As a champion who has seen it all as a player, the former Three Lion captain is gradually becoming an elite manager with the fantastic job he’s doing at Rangers, if you are in doubt check out his team in the Scottish league and in Europe.
- Pep Guardiola – (Manchester City’s Manager)
Pep is another brilliant manager that has rubbished the assertion of not every great player, end up being a great manager, perhaps because he wasn’t well recognized or flamboyant in terms of his playing style in his days as much as the likes of Gerrard, or Zidane.
Pep was a very decent midfielder and he didn’t do too badly as a player. He left the Camp Nou in 2000-01 as a player, having played with the likes of Xavi, Puyol, and Valdes, albeit none of those players was a starter in the Barcelona team then.
Pep returned to the Camp Nou in 2008, tutored the La Masia team for a period of time during the reign of Frank Rijkaard, following the exit of the Dutchman he was called on to take over the team, and he did go on to rule Spanish and European football during his reign as the Catalan gaffer.
He also took his managerial brilliance to Germany with Bayern Munich, and Manchester City, where he continues to prove to the world that being a former player doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t succeed as a manager.
- Diego Simeone – (Atletico Madrid’s Manager)
El Cholo excelled as a player both in the Spanish league and Seria A respectively, before defying the odds to turn out as the current most successful manager of Los Rojiblancos.
Simeone hung up his boots in 2006, after his last hooray with Racing Club of Argentina, thereafter he was offered a direct position to be a path to the managerial crew of the team.
His managerial path began with Estudiantes, where he claimed the Apertura title and the Clausura with River Plate, one of the biggest clubs in Argentina.
Cholo’s successes earned him a swift return to Atletico Madrid, where he won the Europa League, Spanish Cup, and La Liga title, breaking the Real Madrid and Barcelona dominance.
The former Lazio’s combative midfielder continues to show the world of football that starting early immediately you’re being trusted and called up to be in charge doesn’t mean such a manager won’t succeed and more so just like the popular saying goes thus, it isn’t about how far, but how well.
- Zinedine Zidane – (Real Madrid’s Manager)
Zizuo is no doubt one of the greatest players of his generation, and he didn’t just get all of these accolades for nothing, but because he was truly a magician on the pitch, with his second to none control of the ball and his mesmerizing skill with the ball on his foot.
Zidane didn’t just entertain his fans with his magnificent display, he did that with a lot of success stories in winning the World Cup in 1998, and the European Championship.
He was also a winner for his clubs both in Italy and Spain, where he won the Champions League and also scored one of the greatest volleys in the history of the competition in 2003 against Bayer Leverkusen.
Zidane as a manager also achieved the unimaginable by winning the Champions League in his first season, even when many thought it was a fluke or luck.
But winning it the second and third time can’t be a sheer stroke of luck just as some critics feel, it’s not true that anyone could achieve what he’s being able to achieved with Los Blancos since he took over the post that comes with a lot of pressure.
- Frank Lampard
The Chelsea Legend is a creative and technically gifted box-to-box midfielder. In his thirteen years stint with the West-London club, Lampard established himself as a prolific scorer from midfield, becoming The Blue’s all-time leading goalscorer, with 211 strikes in all competitions, 147 of them coming in the Premier League.
Lampard wins three Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League title, four FA Cups, a UEFA Europa League title, and two Football League Cups. He finished his playing career in Major League Soccer with New York City, announcing his retirement in February 2017 at the age of 38.
He began studying for his UEFA A Licence with help from Chelsea, who allowed him to assist with academy coaching sessions.
He was given his first managerial position in May 2018, taking the reins at Championship side Derby County, whom he led to the playoff final in his only season with the club.
Just over a month after that showdown with Aston Villa at Wembley, he was appointed Chelsea’s head coach on 4 July 2019, returning to the club where he had a hugely successful 13-year playing career.
In his first season in charge, Lampard guided the Blues to a fourth-place finish, ensuring another UEFA Champions League campaign and his own nomination for the 2019/20 Barclays Manager of the Season award.
- Mikel Arteta – (Arsenal’s Manager)
Arteta is no doubt one of the finest midfielders that did grace the English Premier League with his talent, he may not be revered as much as Lampard, Gerrard, Fabregas but he’s definitely a fantastic midfielder on his own.
The Spaniard hung his boots as an Arsenal player in 2015-16 and went on to join Pep Guardiola’s managerial staff at Manchester City, where he began to understudy and also learn his managerial skill, in preparation for a future coaching role.
His first job came following the departure of Unai Emery and club legend Freddie Ljungberg, as both failed to produced good matchday results for the Gunners.
Arteta returned to London and was handed Gunner’s head coach role, and he has since being in charge of the team he once donned the jersey before retiring.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Having listed some of the managers that got their managerial calling quite early. The question now is how prepared are these managers in terms of learning from the greats before them, and how well could some of them impact their team with their years of experience garnered so far during their playing days, in other to provoke a successful career as a manager?
Some of these gaffers have proved to be a success, while some just started building their resume, even when the assertion that not all great footballers end up being great managers. Yet we’ve been able to see some of them dumped that assertion to the bin and went on to achieve unimaginable feats.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)