New World from Old Beginnings

Unless you have been hiding somewhere on a yacht, you will probably have heard about the coaching changes this summer.

Five days after winning the Champions League, Zinedine Zidane quit Real Madrid. He probably had a look at Arsene Wenger’s record at Arsenal, at how he won in his early years before presiding over a prolonged period of decline, and decided that enough was enough – he’d best get out while he remained the only Real Madrid manager to win three consecutive Champions League trophies, and all within two and a half years.

Arsene Wenger? Twenty-two years, zero.

Julen Lopetegui was sensationally sacked as Spain manager after agreeing to fill the void at Real Madrid and in his place stepped up Fernando Hierro. Meanwhile, Wenger’s place at the Emirates will be filled by former Paris Saint Germain manager Unai Emery, who despite spending a fortune on Neymar (did his salary top the GDP of Tonga?) couldn’t win the Champions League.

Lopetegui has never won anything major in his career. Neither has Emery.

And what about the younger class of managers? Steven Gerrard is off to manage Rangers, a great step up for him, while Frank Lampard takes the helm at Derby. Their former international team-mate, Wayne Rooney, is still deciding on his future, whether to head off to DC or not. I tell you what would be fun, though – Rooney off to China.

The hiring of managers who have been successful as players, and managers who have been successful elsewhere, in the hope that they can recreate the success seems to mirror the hope of winning through osmosis. In a way, it is like hoping to create a new world from old beginnings. Assemble winning players as managers, hope for winning teams.

But if you think previous success as a player rubs off, looking no further than Mourinho and Guardiola. Neither were successful players, but realise they could be winners tactically and became managers – the two most successful ones in Spanish history.

Enjoy the World Cup! Who do you think would be topping the charts of football after this is all over?