From Maradona to Alan Shearer, world-class players don’t always make successful managers. Here’s our list of some of the best players who made duds as coaches.
One of the greatest players of all-time, Maradona never exactly panned out as a coach. After failed stints as coach of Argentina sides Racing Club and Mandiyú de Corrientes, Argentina still selected him to coach the national team. While he won his first three international matches, he suffered Argentina’s largest defeat to Bolivia with a scoreline of 6-1. After bowing out to Germany in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup and with pressure from the AFA board, Maradona called it quits. His latest forays as a coach include a one-year position at UAE club Fujairah in which he failed to get them promoted. However, Maradona has had yet another chance at redemption as he’s currently coaching Mexican second division side Dorados.
The Premier League’s highest-scoring goalscorer with 260 goals, Alan Shearer’s class on the field didn’t match up to his managerial capabilities behind the touchline. As a substitute coach for the remainder of Newcastle’s 2008/09 season, he only earned five points from eight games. With a one-nil loss to Aston Villa in the team’s final match, Newcastle fell to relegation.
The former Liverpool and England star, John Barnes, took his shot at coaching with a position at Celtic just a year after he retired as a player in 1999. Barnes failed miserably over 29 games, even losing to second-tier side Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-1 in the Scottish Cup. While Barnes coached Jamaica to a 2008 Caribbean Cup, he returned to club-level football and bombed again; this time with League 1 side Tranmere Rovers where he earned 9 points in fourteen games.
Gary Neville played his entire 20-year career as a defender at Manchester United, turning out more than 600 matches. He captained the club for five years while helping the Red Devils win 8 Premiership titles, 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, and 2 Champions League titles. But his work as coach of Valencia was shambolic. The team fell 7-0 to Barcelona in a 2016 Copa del Rey match and continued to dip in La Liga where Neville posted the lowest win percentage for any Valencia manager to-date.
The decorated Arsenal defender remains the only player in Premiership history captain to win three titles in three different decades. But his coaching record is abysmal. A year after retiring, he took over the reins of Wycombe Wanderers in League One only to see the team get relegated to League Two. His next job as coach of Portsmouth shared a similar result, gaining just 10 points in the 16 games as boss before getting let go. His most recent managerial position in La Liga with Granada CF saw the team lose all seven games he was in charge leading to his sacking.
Romario enjoyed a prolific scoring career at Barcelona, PSV, various Brazilian clubs, and the Brazilian national team where he scored more than 700 goals. One of the most decorated players of all-time, he also won the World Cup in 1994. But his role as player-coach of Brazilian club Vasco da Game proved to be an embarrassment. He left the job after four months due a to failed drug test for steroids.
Once recognized as “the most naturally gifted English midfielder of his generation” the former Tottenham, Lazio, Rangers, and Three Lions player took over as player-manager of Kettering Town in 2005. But after just 39 days on the job, he was let go for drinking on the job. Unfortunately, Paul Gascoigne continued to suffer from bouts of alcoholism and mental illness when he left the game for good.
Edgar Davids is yet another fantastic player to make an incompetent coach. While he excelled at club level for Ajax and Juventus, his role as player-coach for English team Barnet in League 2 led to relegation. He also received three red cars in the first eight games before firing himself in 2014.
The former world-class striker for Arsenal, Liverpool, Juventus, and a gamut of other top clubs gave his managerial skills a try while a player-manager at Mumbai City in the Indian Super League. He finished his role with 16 points in 14 games before the team finished second to last in the table.
Winner of the FA Cup, League Cup, and UEFA Cup with club side Liverpool, former midfielder Gary McAllister took over the reins as player-manager at Coventry City from 2002 – 2003. With a winning percentage of just 27%, his managerial performance is the fifth worst in the team’s history. He later failed to revive the side at Leeds United in 2008, leading to his sacking. He’s currently an assistant manager at Rangers.
The Italian winger Attilio Lombardo played for club sides Sampdoria and Juventus where he earned three Serie A titles and earned a runner-up in Champions League. But as player-manager for Premier League side Crystal Palace in 1997, he hit a snag. Not only did he face injuries, but he also guided the team backward from 10th place to relegation.