How 10 former high-profile players are faring as managers around Europe

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Former Arsenal and Chelsea heroes are among the former high-profile players trying their hand at management around Europe – but how are they faring?

The likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are cutting their teeth in Britain, with their former contemporaries such as Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira learning the ropes on the continent.

We’ve looked at 10 names you might recognise from their playing days to see how they are getting on as managers.

Patrick Vieira

Vieira cut his managerial teeth with New York City, where he guided the side to two second-place finishes in MLS’ Eastern Conference and phased out Andrea Pirlo in order to blood younger, more dynamic players.

The Arsenal icon was linked with the vacant position at the Emirates in the summer, but the Gunners opted for Unai Emery and so Vieira returned to his homeland to take over at Nice.

A poor start to the season saw Nice score just once and collect one point in fixtures with Reims, Caen and Dijon, with midfielder Wylan Cyprien saying after a 4-0 defeat to the latter: “The coach hasn’t yet found the formula to get the best performance possible. It hurts, especially at home, but I’m staying positive.”

That chastening defeat, however, was followed by a 1-0 victory at Lyon, and results have since picked up, with the club now seventh in Ligue 1, five points off a Champions League qualification place.

Thierry Henry

Oh, Thierry. What have you done?

Six games. No wins. Two draws. Four defeats. Two 4-0 losses at home. Monaco in the Ligue 1 relegation zone. Already certain to finish bottom of their Champions League group. Owner Dmitry Rybolovlev under investigation in connection with a major fraud case.

Santiago Solari

Four games. Four wins. Fifteen goals scored. Two goals conceded.

He’s going to win three Champions League titles in two and a bit seasons, isn’t here?

Simone Inzaghi

Having spent 11 years at Lazio as a player before moving onto their coaching staff, former Italy striker Inzaghi was given the top job in 2016 following Marcelo Bielsa’s two-day spell in charge of the club.

Inzaghi was rewarded with a contract extension after leading the side to fifth in Serie A and the Coppa Italia final in his first season, and they only missed out on Champions League qualification in his second campaign due to a controversial 3-2 defeat to Inter on the last day – although they did claim the Supercoppa Italiana courtesy of a dramatic 3-2 victory over Juventus.

Lazio are currently one better in fourth this term, despite losing the likes of Stefan de Vrij and Felipe Anderson in the summer.

Inzaghi also deserves a lot of love for doing this last season.

Filippo Inzaghi

The older brother of Simone, Filippo is yet to settle at a club after spells in charge of both Milan’s youth and senior sides, plus Venezia, who he guided from the third tier to the play-offs of Serie B.

This summer, he moved to Bologna, replacing Roberto Donadoni. Bologna finished 15th last term and are similarly struggling in 16th under Inzaghi.

Filippo may have been the more successful brother on the pitch, but that doesn’t seem to have translated to the dugout.

Gennaro Gattuso

Clarence Seedorf, Pippo Inzaghi, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Cristian Brocchi, Vincenzo Montella and now Gattuso – Milan have developed a habit of hiring extremely successful footballers as managers, but this tactic has so far failed to pay off.

Montella is the only boss to secure silverware, in the form of the 2016 Supercoppa Italiana, and Gattuso’s prospects don’t appear promising.

Milan currently sit sixth in Serie A, having won exactly half of their 12 games, though in Gattuso’s defence they are afflicted by a host of injury problems.

However, reports are now beginning to surface that Gattuso faces the sack, with the World Cup winner himself has voiced his concern.

“It’s only right that my position is under discussion,” he said after a 2-1 home defeat to Real Betis, which he branded a “terrible, embarrassing performance”.

Niko Kovac

Arsene Wenger was one candidate tipped to replace Gattuso at Milan, and the former Arsenal boss has also been linked with the Bayern Munich job, with Kovac under pressure after a poor start to the season.

Kovac had led Eintracht Frankfurt to a shock German Cup win over Bayern last season and began this term by leading the Bavarians to a 5-0 thrashing of his former club in the German Super Cup.

But Bayern have since struggled badly and currently sit fifth in Bundesliga, seven points behind Borussia Dortmund, and their former midfielder has hit out at dressing room leaks which have emerged throughout the campaign.

“If the family sticks together, things are easy. If not, it will fall apart. There are several examples in history. Take Troy or take Caesar,” Kovac said earlier this month.

“We must stick together, that’s the point. Everyone is under the duty to do all we can so we can be successful with the club. I don’t believe it helps when internal affairs are made public. It should not happen. It’s much easier when you stick together.”

His plight has only been made more painful by Eintracht Frankfurt’s impressive form.

READ: Seven surprise packages in Europe this season: Frankfurt, Lille, Alaves


The man who scored the goal which prompted Jose Mourinho’s famous touchline celebration as Porto knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League at Old Trafford, Costinha has taken charge of four clubs since retiring as a player in 2010.

Since May 2017, the former Portugal midfielder has been at the helm of Nacional, who helped return to the Portuguese top tier as champions in his first season.

Back in Liga NOS, Nacional are currently second bottom in 17th but are only three points off 10th place.

Sergio Conceicao

Another former Porto player, Conceicao also spent six successful years in Serie A, most notably as a part of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Lazio side.

The former Portugal international has now returned to Porto as manager, replacing Nuno Espirito Santo in the summer of 2017, and guided the club to their first title in five years.

As things stand Porto are set to replicate that success as they sit top of the pile.

Claude Makelele

Lauded for his brains and tactical awareness as a player, Makelele is yet to see his success as a player replicated as a manager.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder has had spells as assistant at PSG and Swansea, as well as technical director at Monaco, but his time in charge of Bastia lasted just a few months before he was sacked.

After three years without a top job, he was hired by Belgian outfit KAS Eupen in November 2017, with the Aspire-linked side avoiding relegation on goal difference.

Eupen are faring better this term, sitting 11th and six points above the relegation zone.

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