8 players from Copa America 2007 we can’t believe are now managers: Gago, Tevez…

Father time waits for nobody and with that, your favourite, most notable stars from international tournaments gone by are suddenly in new chapters of their lives.

Yeah, that’s right. Those players you were sat around the table reminiscing about with a smile on your face? They’re now old, tired and sore in the morning.

There’s something quite settling about watching former players seamlessly transition into management, though, especially when it’s the players you had no idea about.

With the Copa America on the horizon, we’ve looked back at the 2007 tournament and highlighted eight ballers from that tournament who are now managers. Nostalgia is one hell of a drug.

Carlos Tevez

It’s absolutely mental to us that a player as notorious as Tevez can be trusted with managing a team, but who are we to judge?

The man was bloody brilliant at football and plied his trade across the world, so he’s probably got more knowledge of the game in his little toe than we all have at Planet Football combined.

Reaching the final with Argentina in 2007, Tevez called time on his playing career in 2021 and has since been learning the art of management in his home country.

He spent five months in charge of Rosario Central in 2022, before resigning due to upcoming club elections.

He then returned to the touchline in the summer of 2023 with Independiente and extended his contract through to 2026 later in the year, but has just left the club after a run of eight league games without a win.

It appears as though the young coach has got some learning to do.

Manchester City's David Silva (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal of their Europa League game with team-mate Carlos Tevez. Bullen-Arena, September 2010.

READ: A brilliant XI of players left out of Carlos Tevez’s best XI he played with

Hernan Crespo

Crespo’s final appearances for Argentina came at the 2007 Copa America, bowing out almost perfectly, but missing out on the trophy at the final hurdle.

He retired in 2012 and took on his first job as a manager two years later, working as a youth team coach for Parma in 2014 until their disbandment.

His best work has since come in South America, winning the 2020 Copa Sudamericana while in charge of Defensa y Justicia and the Campeonato Paulista state championship with Sao Paulo in 2021.

The 48-year-old probably has enough credit in the bank to land himself a job somewhere in European football, but is currently on the touchline in Abu Dhabi for Al Ain.

We’re sure he’s on a completely normal and definitely not eye-watering wage.

Alvaro Recoba

Best remembered for his nine-year association with Inter, the Uruguayan midfielder won two Scudetti and two Coppa Italia with the Nerazzurri, but will be hoping he can carve out a new legacy as a manager.

Recoba retired in 2015, but has only recently taken his first official steps into management, being appointed the manager of Uruguayan side Nacional after working his way up from assistant coach and B team roles since 2020.

Best of luck to him.

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A near-lethal dosage of Barclays nostalgia, former Manchester City forward Elano played four times at the 2007 Copa America and registered an assist in the final as Brazil went on to win the tournament, but was also substituted through injury.

Elano stuck around at Santos immediately after his 2015 retirement and went straight into coaching, serving as assistant and interim manager through to the end of 2017.

In the time since, he’s been gaining experience around Brazil away from the top flight, jumping between various states and divisions, but he’s been out of a job since leaving Ferroviaria in 2023 after a run of six games without a win in the fourth tier.

Rafael Marquez

Mexican footballing royalty and defensive behemoth Marquez spent eight seasons plying his trade for Barcelona and was capped for his country an astonishing 147 times.

Those are some serious credentials if you’re a player in the changing room listening to his orders.

Marquez hung up his boots in 2018 and began his coaching career two years later in Spain’s regional tiers, but was appointed as the Barcelona B manager in 2022.

There is a strong chance that he could end up in charge of the first team given the uncertainty surrounding Xavi’s future, the club’s financial situation and their desire in the past to recruit internally.

Fernando Gago

Capped 61 times for Argentina, the 2007 Copa America was Gago’s first tournament with the senior squad after breaking through earlier that year.

The iconic defensive midfielder has enjoyed a strong start to his career in management since retiring in 2020.

At just 38, Gago has already won a few pieces of silverware in Argentina with Racing Club and was appointed the manager of Liga MX side Guadalajara in late 2023, where he remains today.

Crucially, he takes to the touchline in smart outfits and gets his devilishly handsome full-sleeve tattoos out. It’ll be criminal if he doesn’t go to the top.

London-England, March 23, 2024 - player Endrick (Brazil) celebrates his first goal, during a football match between the England and Brazil teams in matches at the London stadium

READ: Copa America 2024: Endrick and four other young ballers to watch out for in the USA

Julio Baptista

Nicknamed ‘The Beast’, we would hate to be on the receiving end of Baptista’s hairdryer treatment now that he’s a manager.

The Brazilian enjoyed an international renaissance through the 2007 Copa America after being snubbed the year before for the World Cup, but is currently out of work as a manager after leaving Valladolid B in 2023 following a two-year stint in charge.

Diego Forlan

His finest hour on the international stage was undoubtedly the 2010 World Cup, but Forlan was with Uruguay for the 2007 Copa America and – despite scoring in the semi-final – missed a decisive spot-kick after the game went to penalties.

The forward took his first steps into management in 2019 with former club Penarol, but was sacked in September 2020 and hasn’t taken a new job since his spell with Uruguayan second-tier side Atenas came to an end in 2021.