Average Footballers Who Became Successful Coaches

Football Players who became coaches

It is normal to assume that ex-footballers with top-level experience would go on to be successful coaches. But this is not usually the case. We do have a list of top footballers that did not have success as managers. However, this article would dwell on average footballers that became successful managers.

If you look around the football world critically, you would find out that most of the successful managers were not really successful as players. They were bang average or close to mediocre.

Let us consider some of these Average Footballers who Became Successful Coaches.

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola was a good defensive midfielder during his days and he is one of the Football Players who became coaches. He spent most of his career at Barcelona as part of the Johan Cruyff’s Dream team. Guardiola was part of the team Barcelona team that won Barca’s first European Cup in 1992.

Overall, Guardiola was not such a top-class player that took the world by storm.

Apart from Barcelona, he played for the likes of Brescia, Roma, and Al-Ahli CF. Of course, you’d agree that these are not top clubs.

Nevertheless, his coaching career has been really successful. He has coached European Giants likes Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

So far, Guardiola has won more than Twenty (20) topflight trophies, 2 Champions League titles in his glittering career.

Jürgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp played his entire career as a right back at Mainz in Germany’s second tier division. He spent about eleven years at the club without wining a single trophy before retiring in 2001.

Long story short, Klopp’s playing career was close to mediocre or at best average. He remains one of the Football Players who became coaches.

Klopp then started his coaching career at Mainz and guided the Club to the German Top Flight division in his third season.

Ever since then, his managerial career has been in the ascendancy.

After Spending 7 Years at Mainz, he moved to Borussia Dortmund, where he really made a name for himself. Breaking Bayern Munich’s dominance, Klopp won Back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.

After another 7 Years at Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool appointed Klopp as their manager in 2015. In his time at Merseyside, Klopp won the Premier League after 30 years and also the Champions League.

Today, it is safe to say Klopp is a world-class Manager and he is one of the numerous Average Footballers who Became Successful Coaches.


Mourinho never made it as a professional footballer. He played as an attacking midfielder but could only make just one senior appearance for Portuguese outfit Rio Ave in the 1981/82 season. Jose played under his father then and he was termed “a bit lazy”.

Actually, you can learn about Jose Mourinho’s tactical evolution and brief managerial history.

But now, the story is different. Jose Mourinho is undoubtedly one of the best Football Coaches in history.

Mourinho won a trophy at every club he’d been to before Tottenham. He won two Champions League Trophies amongst other numerous trophies to his name.

In all, Jose Mourinho has over 30 Trophies won. He is clearly a good example of Average Footballers who Became Successful Coaches.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson had an ok (not world-class) playing career during his time. He started his playing career at Dunfermline Athletic – Scottish second division – at the age of 16.

Ferguson later played for Rangers and then two other clubs before retiring in 1974.

But as it is today, Ferguson is one of the Average Footballers who Became Successful Coaches.

Sir Alex is the most successful British Manager ever.

During his successful spell at Manchester United, he won 38 Trophies including 13 Premier League Titles and two (2) Champions League Titles.

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger’s playing career was nothing close to spectacular or top class as a Center Back. He represented so many amateur teams but eventually retired at RC Strasbourg Alsace before pursuing another career as a manager.

There could be a debate about Arsene Wenger’s World-class status because he did not win the Champions League. However, he still remains a very successful manager in Football.

Wenger won a total of 13 Trophies in his career (all at Arsenal) including 3 Premier League titles and 7 FA Cup Trophies.

Mauricio Pochettino

Poch was a tough-tackling Center Back during his time. He played for the likes of Newell’s Old Boys and PSG before retiring at Espanyol in 2006.

The only Trophy in Pochettino’s cabinet as a player is the Spanish Cup.

Though Pochettino is yet to win so many trophies as a Manger like others in this article, he is still a top-class manager. He is usually given credit for instilling a winning mentality in his Tottenham team and made them Champions League Regular.

Pochettino nearly won the Champions League in 2019, only to be denied by a Mo Sallah- Inspired Liverpool team.

Marcelo Bielsa

Bielsa made more name for himself as a manager than as a player. He played for the likes of Newell’s Old Boys, Instituto and Argentino de Rosario.

Marcelo Bielsa never won a trophy as a player and eventually retired at the age of 25.

Today, Bielsa is regarded as a Football professor and he is even revered by the likes of Guardiola.

After spending 6 years as the Argentine National team manager, he won the Gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.

At Athletic Bilbao, he nearly won the Europa League and Copa Del Rey Cup but he lost both finals. However, the Argentine Tactician led Leeds United to the Premier League after waiting for 16 years.

Hans-Dieter Flick

Hans-Dieter Flick is one of the 3 Champions League Winning Managers who got hired Mid Season. He is regarded as a top Manager in the modern era following his achievements at Bayern Munich.

However, such cannot be said about his playing career.

Flick played most of his career at Bayern where he won the German Bundesliga 4 times (which is normal anyway). But he did not win the European Cup (now called Champions League).

Relatively, it is safe to say that Flick is one of the Average Football Players who became coaches.

Read Also: The Tactical Insight into Sarriball Vs. Tiki-taka

Joachim Low

Low played most of his career in the German Bundesliga as a Striker. It is safe to say he was far from being prolific neither was he a World-Class striker.

In 1997, he won the German Cup Trophy with Stuttgart but he is still considered as one of the Average Footballers who Became Successful Coaches. Why? Because he never played for top-flight clubs.

However, his coaching career is quite different. One key highlight of Low’s Career as a manager is that he is a World Cup Winner.

In addition, he Longevity as the German National team Manager is very rare and admirable. He’s been the Coach for over 14 years.


Conversely to what many football fans think, having a very successful career as a player counts for less when hiring a Football Coach.

In this piece, we see that there are many average Football Players who became coaches.

Of course, this is not the complete list. So, which Coach falls into this category from your own perspective? Share your thought in the comment box.

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