Great player, great manager?

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Enjoying success on a football pitch doesn’t necessarily mean success standing just to the side of it, bellowing instructions at a team of players who can’t quite live up their former players-turned manager’s expectations.

This week Michael Laudrup has been linked with becoming the next Swansea manager after the departure of Brendan Rodgers, while Dennis Bergkamp was also briefly mentioned in the same breath as the vacancy at the Liberty Stadium.

There are plenty of virtuoso players that have struggled to make the transition from player to manager – the likes of Glen Hoddle and Kevin Keegan were visionaries on the field but couldn’t quite live up to their reputations when positioned in the dugout – but GMF is here to celebrate those at the very top in both aspects of the game.

Pep Guardiola

Barcelona’s most successful manager of all time, Guardiola not only ensured silverware for the Catalan club (14 trophies to be precise) but also ensured they implemented one of the most coveted footballing philosophies around.

As a player Guardiola was a defensive midfielder with a fine range of passing, and his managerial style was reflected in his team which featured the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

Guardiola recently stepped down as the club’s manager, citing exhaustion.

Roberto di Matteo

At the start of 2012, Roberto di Matteo was perhaps most famous for his lighting quick strike in the FA Cup against Middlesbrough in 1997, seen by some as the catalyst which eventually led to Roman Abramovich taking over the club and sparking the current era of success.

Now though the former Blues midfielder is more than a cult hero having picked Chelsea up from their lowest period since the Russian took over before guiding them to glory in both the FA Cup and the Champions League.

Having taking over temporarily from Andre Villas-Boas, Di Matteo is expected to be handed the job full time, and with Abramovich spending big this summer, the Italian will have a stellar squad to make a regular charge for further European glory.

Johan Cruyff

If Pep Guardiola was a glorious success at Barcelona, then many of his achievements were down to the man he replaced as Barcelona’s most successful coach, Johan Cruyff.

Along with Rinus Michels, Cruyff helped implement the concept of total football in the 1970’s and was hailed as one of the finest players of his generation, winning three European Cups with Ajax.

As a manager he helped Barcelona lift their first European Cup in 1992 and, with Guardiola at the heart of his team, secured four La Liga titles.

Brian Clough

There were few who doubted Brian Clough’s ability to be the very best as both a player and a manager, least of all himself.

In his day Clough was a feared striker, scoring a remarkable 251 goals in 274 club appearances for Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

When injury ended his playing career early he turned his hand to management, and from there his story become legend.

First Derby were the benefactors of his genius as he guided the Rams to the First Division title in 1972. That proved to be only an appetiser for what was to come with Nottingham Forest.

Two consecutive European Cups, a first division title, a European super Cup and two League Cups came between 1971 and 1990, before he eventually left the club in 1993.

Franz Beckenbauer

‘Der Kaiser’ needs little introduction as either a player or manager after a career in which he won pretty much everything on offer.

Twice European footballer of year, Beckenbauer enjoyed the highlight of his playing career when he won the European Championships and World Cup between 1972 and 1974 with West Germany – and he proved himself to be equally spectacular in the dugout.

Beckenbauer guided West Germany to success at the 1990 World Cup, beating England in their historic semi-final showdown to ensure his place in world football history.

The midfield general also won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich along with the Uefa Cup, and the Ligue 1 title with Marseille.

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