Some big names from Euro 2008 are now managers

13 stars from Euro 2008 who have gone into management: Alonso, Xavi, Pirlo…

Euro 2008 only seems like yesterday, but given the competition was actually 16 years ago, plenty of stars from that tournament have now become managers themselves.

Being a good player is certainly no guarantee of becoming a good manager, but the majority of this list have done fairly well for themselves in the dugout.

We’ve gone back to Euro 2008 and have found 13 players from that tournament who have since become managers.

Xabi Alonso

The dream of doing an unbeaten treble is now over, following Bayer Leverkusen’s loss in the Europa League final, but what a job Alonso has done.

He took over the Bundesliga club when they were languishing in the relegation zone and in just 18 months, he took them to the league title – going unbeaten in 51 games in the process.

“Our team has written itself into Bundesliga history,” Alonso said after lifting the Bundesliga. “In 20 years we will look back and all be able to say: ‘Wow, we were there’.

“We will never forget this day. It is totally deserved.”

Daniele De Rossi

Part of the Italy squad from 2008, De Rossi has made a name for himself in management this year. Taking the reins from Jose Mourinho was never going to be easy, but the legendary midfielder has had a brilliant impact since returning to Roma.

He inherited the squad when they were languishing ninth in the league and has since taken them up to sixth and into a European place for next season. That’s not too shabby.


The Spanish midfielder cut his teeth as a manager in Qatar for a couple of years before landing the Barcelona job in 2021.

Since that point, it’s been a wild ride for the 44-year-old. He guided Barcelona to the La Liga title last year, but following some drama behind the scenes, it seems like his time at Camp Nou is now up.

Barcelona have reportedly been meeting with new managerial candidates in recent weeks which likely spells the end for Xavi at his boyhood club.

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every Barcelona manager since 2000?

Dirk Kuyt

Since hanging up his boots in 2018, Kuyt has had a number of coaching roles and now finds himself as the manager of Belgian outfit Beerschot.

He’s done a fine job since taking over in December too, winning the Challenger Pro League which is the second tier of Belgian football.

Nuno Espirito Santo

It seems a bit mental that Nuno was still kicking it in 2008, but here we are. He was part of the Portugal squad that made it to the quarter-finals, but he didn’t play a single minute of the competition.

Fast forward to 2024 and he’s now on his seventh managerial job. Following stints with the likes of Porto, Wolves, Spurs and Al-Ittihad, you’ll now find him at Nottingham Forest.

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Ruud van Nistelrooy

The former Dutch international has managed over 100 games in his managerial career so far, but currently finds himself without a job.

He spent one year as PSV boss and arguably laid the foundations for Peter Bosz’s side to win the Eredivisie this season. Fingers crossed we see Van Nistelrooy back in the dugout soon.

Andrea Pirlo

The Juventus job arguably came too soon in Pirlo’s managerial career, but he’s since built his reputation back up with Fatih Karagumruk and now Sampdoria.

Pirlo guided Sampdoria to the Serie B playoffs this season, but his side ultimately lost to Palermo in the preliminary round.

Niko Kovac

Kovac announced his retirement not long after Euro 2008 and the former Croatian midfielder has had plenty of managerial jobs since then.

He’s perhaps most known for his stint with Bayern Munich, but also managed the likes of Monaco, Eintracht Frankfurt and Wolfsburg in recent years.

To be fair to Kovac, he did sign a few gems during his time at the Allianz Arena.

Niko Kovac and Philippe Coutinho.

READ: Where are they now? Niko Kovac’s 8 signings as Bayern Munich manager

Patrick Vieira

The French midfielder landed his first managerial job in 2016 when he took over MLS side New York City FC. He’s since had spells with Nice and Crystal Palace and now works as the Strasbourg manager.

“I didn’t want to be a manager based on career I had,” Vieira said last year when discussing his route into management.

“I wanted for people to make a judgment on me as a manager, so it was important to build myself to have this kind of credibility and experience to be where I am today, and for people to judge me on what I’ve been doing in the last couple of years and not my playing career.”

Giovanni van Bronckhorst

The former Dutch star has been out of work since being sacked by Rangers in 2022, but by all accounts, he’s looking to get back into management soon.

“I’m quite relaxed and I’m having a great time. I’m very happy with the way my life is now, but I’m also excited to start again,” Van Bronckhorst told reporters in April.

“Hopefully that will be next season. I’m starting to get that itch to be involved in football management again.

“I love the dynamics of being a trainer. But I admit I am picky and my feeling at a club must be good.”

Alberto Aquilani

An underrated player from his playing days, the former Italian midfielder is now in charge of Pisa SC. In his debut season at the club, he’s managed to guide them to mid-table in Serie B.

Thierry Henry

Perhaps more known for his punditry these days, Henry is still active in the managerial game. Following stints with Monaco and Montreal Impact, he currently works as the France U23 manager.

Gennaro Gattuso

There’s rarely a dull moment when Gattuso is around. Even in his post-playing days, his passion for the game is still as rife as ever.

He did a fairly good job with Napoli to be fair, but the less said about his time with Valencia and Marseille, the better.