Van Nistelrooy ripped the nets, Xavi Alonso was the engine, and Tudor won many titles with Juventus. Are today’s players tomorrow’s coaches?
In football, anything can happen. This is the definition of that sports branch that attracts crowds from all corners of the world.
Even in the profession of a football player, this cliché takes on a role, and one should even say the central role. A considerable majority of former players retired from football.
After their retirement, all they were interested in was to undergo professional training as coaches, try to atone for unsuccessful playing careers, and achieve achievements even by shouting on the lines.
Some were up to the task and even managed to qualify the coaching career over the playing one and vice versa. In the meantime, the coaches presented in the article are among the greatest players who have upgraded the image of European football, but it is not certain that on the lines, it will be the same.
Ruud van Nistelrooy
One of the finest attacking players of the late 90s, burst into consciousness in PSV Eindhoven uniform, with whom he starred in the Champions League.
The one who recognized the talent was Manchester United, who added the striker to their ranks and made an incredible profit. 150 appearances and of which 95 goals – a huge and fantastic amount, one that made Real Madrid get their hands on the Dutchman after five seasons spent in the British Kingdom.
Van Nistelrooy also netted for four seasons at the Blancos, then ended his outstanding career with a short foray into the Bundesliga in Hamburg and last term in Spain with Malaga.
The Dutchman’s love for lines began already in 2014 when he served as an assistant coach in the Netherlands national team after he coached PSV ‘s youth team. In 2018, Eindhoven was appointed the coach of the U19 team, and at the same time, he served as the assistant coach of the Euro 2020 team.
After German coach Roger Schmidt left PSV in favour of Benfica Lisbon, Van Nistelrooy was appointed to the position.
Although the opening was excellent with winning the Johan Cruyff Shield title in a convincing victory over Ajax, after that, he was eliminated in the Champions League playoffs to Glasgow Rangers, with another Dutchman, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, standing on its lines.
So is Van Nistelrooy able to succeed with PSV? It seems so. His team is in third place on a balance of 30 points, with the leading Feyenoord and Ajax coming in second, while the fourth Alkmaar is also one point less than the three.
A stubborn fight is expected in the Dutch league, and it will undoubtedly be interesting to see if Van Nistelrooy will bring his skills as a coach to a fantastic championship with PSV.
One of the greatest players in the history of football, one could say, one who assimilated his style as unforgettable and is still used as a role model for many.
Xavi won 8 Spanish championships and three more trophies in the Barcelona uniform. He won the Champions League four times and is one of the most memorable players who shared the trophy with the big ears back in Paris in 2006. He also succeeded with the Spanish team, winning the World Cup in 2010 in one of the most incredible campaigns in the history of the tournament. To that you can also add the 2008 and 2012 Euros.
After his retirement with Al Sadd from the league in Qatar, he began to serve as the team’s coach until he was called to the aid of the capital of Catalonia when his former teammate, Ronald Koman, was fired.
So far, Xavi had a colossal failure with Barca when he was eliminated from the group stage in the Champions League this season (last year, he stood on the lines only twice in the Champions League).
What will undoubtedly fix everything will be bringing back the Spanish championship title to Barcelona after losing it in 2019 and leading the Blaugrana to win the Europa League. With the current squad, there is no doubt that Xavi can progress and do great things at his boyhood club.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst
So we talked earlier about his former teammate Van Nistelrooy, who was also knocked out by him in the battle for a place in the Champions League.
What van Bronckhorst and Xavi have in common is that they both played together in Barcelona and won the Champions League on that magical evening in Paris in 2006.
Truth be told, beyond his beautiful abilities as a left-back, the Dutchman did not know many good days as a coach. After training Guangzhou R & F in the Chinese super league, during which he was fired due to poor ability, to say the least, Van Bronckhorst arrived in the capital of Scotland and signed with Rangers as a replacement for Steven Gerrard.
Van Bronckhorst was close to winning the cup with Rangers in the Europa League but lost in a penalty shootout to Eintracht Frankfurt. The sadness of losing in the European final was replaced by joy and jubilation after winning the club’s 34th Scottish Cup.
Later, he qualified with Rangers for the Champions League group stage but was mainly used as cannon fodder for Napoli, Liverpool and Ajax FC. Finally, Van Bronckhorst said goodbye to the Champions League with six losses out of six games and a shocking goal difference of 22-2.
It was recently announced that Rangers are expressing interest in Sean Dyche as someone who may replace Van Bronckhorst in the summer. Until the summer and after the World Cup break, there is enough time for the Dutchman to work hard and keep his place to avoid losing another job as a coach.
Perhaps the coach with the most experience on the lines. The Croatian, who is mainly associated with Juventus of the late 1990s, has so far coached five teams in total (and also served as an assistant at Juve).
As a player, he won two Scudettos with Juventus, one Coppa Italia and two more Super Cups, with the Intertoto Cup above all In the 98/99 season.
As a coach, he almost didn’t survive anywhere he went. That being said, he started the season in Marseille, where it was expected of him to to fight for a place at the top of the French league. And so far, Todor is proving to be up to the task. Marseille is placed fourth with 27 points, along with Lorraine and Monaco, while Stade Rennes is only 4 points away in the third.
This season Tudor has achieved significant victories, and his team shows good ability, especially in the home games at the Stade Velodrome. Although he was eliminated from the Champions League, if he manages to return the Blues to the group stage next season, it will be an impressive achievement for the Croatian.
The ‘engine’ of the teams he played in, he was a part of that unbelievable Liverpool win in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan and another win with Real Madrid in 2014.
One of the most talented midfielders to emerge from Spain is currently serving as Bayer Leverkusen’s coach. He started his coaching career at Real Sociedad B, and then the offer came.
Back in his days as a player, Xavi Alonso demonstrated the skills of a coach on the pitch. After retiring from the Bayern Munich uniform, he decided to return home to San Sebastian and nurture the future generation of Real Sociedad. After 3 years at Bayern Munich, there is no doubt that Alonso knows the Bundesliga very well and is also fluent in the German language.
The opportunity he received from Leverkusen can undoubtedly be used as a springboard for the Spaniard. The group from the pharmaceutical city has a great and high-quality squad, one that will allow Alonso to try to implement his ideas.
Leverkusen itself got into a difficult start to the season. Therefore the Swiss coach Gerardo Siouana was fired while, at the same time, the team fell below the relegation line.
Currently, Leverkusen is placed 11th, and it will take some time for Xavi Alonso to put together a good team that will compete at the top.
Still, if we can compare his coaching to the abilities he has shown as a player, there is no doubt that we will soon see the Spaniard, who will celebrate 41 at the end of the month, leading the team to be one of the best in the German Bundesliga soon.