The player-manager role is a dying breed within soccer. While it became very popular during the 1990s, it is virtually unheard of now. Even at the height of its popularity, the role was often considered something more suitable for smaller clubs, who may be able to secure the services of a more talented player than they would otherwise be able to bring in by giving the player a seamless transition into management and coaching.
This trend was broken though by a series of successful player-manager's at top clubs, such as Kenny Dalglish who won the double as Liverpool's player-manager, Graeme Souness who won three league titles at Rangers in that role and Chelsea's trio of player-manager's in Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli. The role became less common as the rigours of modern management became more demanding, as well as the implementation of required coaching badges, making it more difficult for players to switch immediately from playing to managing.
Whilst we have just named some player-manager success stories, for every success, there have been a few - if not more - failures. This is a list of some of the worst player-manager's to have tried their hand at the now virtually extinct dual role. It is notable just how many top class players are included here, further testament to the fact that being a great player by no means lends to being a great manager. Here are the top 12 worst player-managers in soccer history:
12 12. Nicolas Anelka
Journeyman forward Nicolas Anelka has taken to the field for PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Man City, Fenerbahce, Bolton, Chelsea, Shanghai, Juventus and West Brom over an illustrious career, which has also see him win 50 caps for France and win the Premier League Golden Boot. Anelka's most recent club, however, was a little more obscure, Indian Super League side Mumbai City.
11 11. Kevin Nolan
10 10. Stuart Pearce
9 9. Steve Claridge
8 8. Gary McAllister
7 7. Mario Kempes
6 6. Mark Hateley
5 5. Sir Bobby Charlton
4 4. Edgar Davids
3 3. Attilio Lombardo
2 2. Paul Gascoigne
1 1. Romario
It would take something rather extraordinary to beat Gazza's catastrophic 39 day reign as Kettering manager, but Romario manages to do just that. Another world class player, Romario is one of the finest goal scorers the game has ever seen, with more than 700 official goals to his name, and over 1,000 if one includes youth football and friendly games. Highly successful with PSV, Barcelona and an array of Brazilian clubs, Romario won a total of 33 trophies with his club and country, most notably the World Cup in 1994, where he was named the tournaments best player.
Following a brief spell in the U.S. and Australia, Romario returned to Brazil in October 2007, at the age of 41, where he became player-manager at Vasco da Gama. Things started okay for the club, and Romario himself scored three goals in six games despite his advancing years. However, in February 2008, he left his post, citing the club president's interventions as his reasoning. It later emerged that Romario had in fact failed a drug test in December 2007. The World Cup winner claimed the drug was to prevent baldness, but some were unconvinced, as the drug is a masking agent for anabolic steroids.
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