Maradona, Matthaus & 10 great players who failed as coaches takes a look at the world-class talents who excelled on the pitch but failed miserably when it came time to showcase their managerial abilities
By Max De Luca

Al Wasl mercifully pulled the plug on the Diego Maradona experiment earlier this week after the Argentine legend failed to yield any meaningful results as the club's coach.

Many felt that the 51-year-old's appointment was merely a marketing stunt in the first place and they can now sport smug smiles after the former Napoli star was unceremoniously shown the exit door.

The Dubai outfit endured a difficult campaign, finishing eighth in the 12-team Pro League and the club's new board members decided that enough was enough.

This is not the first time the ex-Barcelona man has been shown the door as the Argentine Football Association (AFA) decided not to extend Maradona's contract following the humiliating 4-0 loss to Germany in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Maradona is hardly the only superstar to fail as a manager though, and takes a look at some other men who were sensational on the pitch but were unable to translate that success onto the coaching front.


Tony Adams enjoyed a stellar career with Arsenal that saw him captain the Gunners to four league titles and three FA Cups.

The no-nonsense defender anchored a nearly impenetrable back line under manager George Graham and made close to 675 appearances in all competitions for the north London side. Adams was also a mainstay for England racking up 66 caps for the Three Lions.

His time on the bench was not as fruitful, though, as Wycombe were relegated in his first and only season at the helm before he was sacked by Portsmouth after just four months for more poor results.

The 45-year-old then went off the beaten path by accepting a job in Azerbaijan but lasted just 17 months at Gabala before returning to England.


Bobby Charlton enjoyed a magnificent career with Manchester United and is universally recognised as the best English player of all time.

The prolific goalscorer won three league titles, one European Cup and England's first and only World Cup in 1966 among a plethora of club and personal honours.

Charlton has scored more goals for Manchester United and the Three Lions than any other player and is still revered by many fans to this day.

However, his incursion into management was a complete bust as Preston North End were relegated under his watch and he left the club early the next season.


Paul Gascoigne was never far from controversy as he battled personal demons during and after his playing career, but the 45-year-old was a fantastic footballer in his day.

He hoisted the FA Cup with Tottenham, but it was his performances at Italia 90 which won the hearts and minds of the English people, after his robust displays led the Three Lions to the semi-finals before they bowed out to Germany in a penalty shoot-out.

The tabloid magnet's coaching career was just as tumultuous as his personal life and he was sacked less than 40 days into his tenure with Kettering Town for reportedly going into work drunk almost every day. He hasn't held another coaching job since.


Ruud Gullit was never one to shy away from the limelight in his heyday with AC Milan and Netherlands.

He formed a part of the Dutch nucleus that helped the Rossoneri conquer Italy and Europe. When the dust cleared the 49-year-old captured three Scudetti and two European Cups with Milan while captaining his country to the 1988 European Championship title.

His foray into management was not nearly as successful, although he did lead Chelsea to the FA Cup before butting heads with the club's top brass and was fired. He moved on to to Newcastle where he clashed with local hero Alan Shearer and fans alike before resigning.

Gullit then crossed the Atlantic to coach the LA Galaxy but once again did not see eye to eye with his charges and resigned. A bizarre stint at Terek Grozny followed but he was sacked just five months into the role after he was criticised by the club's directors for caring more about the city's nightlife than the squad itself.


Roy Keane was an uncompromising midfielder who was just as comfortable ruffling his team-mates' feathers as he was his opponents.

The Irishman won seven Premier League titles and a Champions League crown during his successful 12-year spell at Old Trafford.

The 40-year-old was touted as Alex Ferguson's heir apparent when he hung up his boots and an apprenticeship at Sunderland got off to a promising start before he resigned in his second season on the job.

He then took the reins at Ipswich Town but the squad were not able to challenge for the promotion places and he was sacked in the middle of his second term.


Diego Maradona is arguably the best player to ever grace a football field following a glittering career for both club and country.

The controversial attacker led Napoli to two Scudetti and a Uefa Cup during his time in Italy and is still considered a hero by the Partenopei faithful. He is equally adored in Argentina after leading the Albiceleste to World Cup glory in 1986.

However, the diminutive dynamo has not been able to celebrate any kind of success as a manager after his amateur tactics were exposed in the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Germany when he was in charge of Argentina in the 2010 World Cup.

After his departure from the national team, Maradona tried his luck in the United Arab Emirates with Al Wasl but once again the 51-year-old was unable to produce enough satisfying results and was sacked earlier this week.


Lothar Matthaus won eight Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich, one Scudetto with Inter and a total of two Uefa Cups with the German and Italian giants.

The midfield maestro also captained Germany to a World Cup triumph in 1990 and accumulated 150 caps, a record for die Mannschaft.

The 51-year-old was also known for his exploits off the field, though he has been married four times and his personal life has often put him at odds with his bosses during his various coaching stops.

Matthaus has never received the Bundesliga coaching job his heart desires and after leaving the likes of Atletico Paranaense, Partizan and the Hungarian and Bulgarian national teams in acrimonious circumstances it could be one dream that never comes true.


Alan Shearer stands alone at the top of the Premier League's all-time scoring charts with a whopping 260 goals for Blackburn and Newcastle.

The Englishman also found the back of the net 30 times in 63 appearances for the Three Lions and was named in Fifa's list of top 100 living footballers.

The 41-year-old's coaching career consists of only eight games but he oversaw the relegation of boyhood club Newcastle on the last day of the 2008-09 season after the Magpies could only muster up only one win during his short tenure.

Shearer is currently employed as a football pundit for the BBC.


Hristo Stoichkov was known for his bad temper but his sweet left foot made his tirades on the field of play seem trivial.

The 46-year-old starred for Bulgaria and was the joint top scorer at the 1994 World Cup during their captivating run to the semi-finals. Stoichkov was no slouch on the club scene either winning five Liga crowns and a European Cup with Barcelona.

However, he has not come closing to matching his achievements as a player when he entered the managerial fray, infamously declaring: "I don't believe in tactics", and clashing with many of his players.

He first failed to guide Bulgaria to the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 and followed that up with a disastrous short stint at Celta Vigo that saw the club relegated. He is currently the coach at Bulgarian outfit Litex Lovech.


Marco van Basten had a penchant for scoring magnificent goals in a distinguished career with Ajax, Milan and Netherlands.

The Dutch legend won three Eredivisie titles with the Amsterdam side before cementing his legacy at San Siro where he lifted four Scudetti and three European Cups.

However, the 47-year-old never really came close to winning any major honours as coach of the Netherlands and clashed with a number of the old guard, including Ruud van Nistelrooy.

were ousted in the second round of the 2006 World Cup before exiting Euro 2008 at the quarter-final stage. Van Basten then took over at the Amsterdam ArenA but lasted only one season as Ajax finished 12 points behind champions AZ.

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