Five legendary players who flopped in the managerial arena

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 06 January 2016, 10:22

Following Zinedine Zidane's appointment at Real Madrid, TheSackRace takes a look at a handful of legendary players who failed to transfer their immense quality on the pitch into the chaotic world of football management.

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time. Everyone knows about his stunning performances during his playing days, however the less said about his voyage into the managerial arena, the better.

Maradona had brief back-to-back spells in charge of Argentinian outfit's Mandiyu and Racing Club in the mid 1990s, before somehow - well, based on his status - landing the Argentina national job 13 years later in 2008.

What followed was an unconvincing 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign (4th), during which La Albiceleste were inexplicably hammered 6-1 by minnows Bolivia. Over in South Africa Maradona's men breezed through a straight forward Group A, before beating Mexico in the second round. However, they went on to suffer a savage 4-0 defeat to Germany in the quarter-finals - a match which exposed the clueless tactics of the his regime.

Maradona, who had constantly been in the headlines in his homeland for his baffling antics, vulgar language, fine and bans, was then dropped from his position after the tournament. He was last seen at UAE side Al Wasl, a position that came to an end in the summer of 2015, after 14 months.

Hristo Stoichkov

Hristo Stoichkov

Hristo Stoichkov can lay claim to being one of the greatest Bulgarian footballers of all time, playing a key role in his country's run to the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup - winning the Golden Shoe award. The 1994 Ballon'dOr winner also won a plethora of honours at club level with both Barcelona and CSKA Moscow.

However, it was a completely different story in the dugout. Stoichkov took charge of the Bulgarian national team between 2004 and 2007, and it's safe to say that he never came anyway near replicating the heights he reached as a player. The hot-headed Stoichkov failed to lead his troops through to the 2006 World Cup, clashing with numerous players, including skipper Stiliyan Petrov.

Stoichkov infamously said "I don't believe in tactics" when in charge of Celta Vigo, where he lasted just 17 matches. Underwhelming stints at Mamelodi Sundowns, Litex Lovech, and CSKA Sofia followed, and he's wisely never returned to the managerial arena since.

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne will always be fondly remembered as one of England's most natural gifted and uniquely talented players. The maverick midfielder may often be remembered for his life off the pitch, but on the field he'll be regarded as one of the greatest Englishmen to ever pull on The Three Lions jersey.

In stark contrast Gascoigne flopped as a manager, enduring sorry player-coach spells at the likes of Boston United and Algarve United, before landing his first full-time job with Conference side Kettering Town...a tenure which lasted just 39 days. Gazza nearly took charge of Garforth Town back in October 2010 but nothing ever materialised.

Graeme Souness

Graeme-Souness

Midfield machine Graeme Souness enjoyed a terrific trophy-laden playing career, hoisting a whole host of cups in the air, including five top-flight English titles, a hat-trick of European cups, four League cups and a trio of Charity Sheilds with Liverpool. Meanwhile, the Scot, who was capped over 50 times for his country, also won the Coppa Italia with Sampdoria and Division Two with Middlesbrough.

Souness did enjoy a decent start to life in the managerial arena, as player-manager Rangers (and even that was criticised for the amount of money he splashed out), however from then on it was disastrous. The Liverpool legend returned to Anfield as manager, but could only win one trophy in three disappointing seasons - the last of which was the club's worst in 30 years - upsetting many along the way with his abrasive management style.

Souness then had single seasons in charge of Galatasaray and Southampton, while he lasted just six matches at Italian side Torino. Next up, two underwhelming campaigns in charge of Benfica, while after an initial success at Blackburn, Souness was undone by his tough, disciplinarian style, while a number of poor signings didn't help his cause during the end of his tenure.

Souness' final managerial outing was a 16-month spell at Newcastle, during which he was embroiled in a handful of spats with players, lost the support of the Toon faithful, while he was lambasted for splashing out over lb50m on players who largely underperformed.

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Tony Adams' career was soaked in success, with the Arsenal legend racking up a gargantuan 669 appearances for his beloved Gunners, spanning a whopping 22 years. During his time at Highbury the England skipper hoisted 10 trophies, including three top-flight titles in three different decades.

Adams then made the foray into the managerial arena...In his first position Adams took Wycombe down in his one and only season, before having a second stab at Portsmouth four years later...lasting just 16 matches. The former defender then stormed off to Azerbaijan in order to bolster his battered reputation in the managerial arena, however he left 17 months into his three-year contract at Gabala.

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