Being a good player does not guarantee becoming an equally good manager (Diego Maradona as an example). Still, we’ve also seen some great players transfer their geniuses into their managerial career.
Examples are the likes of Johan Cruyff, Didier Deschamps, Kenny Dalglish, Carlo Ancelloti, Franz Beckenbauer, and Zinedine Zidane.
We also have players that were considered average during their playing career but turned out to be great coaches.
In this last category, we have the likes of Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone, and Antonio Conté. Some of them have become some of the greatest soccer coaches ever.
The current trend in football is for clubs to appoint former players as coaches as we have the likes of: Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Rangers), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United), Mikel Arteta (Arsenal), and Andrea Pirlo (Juventus).
In this article, we look at 15 current footballers who could become great football managers in the future.
1. Thiago Silva
Regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, Silva’s 24-year career has seen him turned out for the likes of Dynamo Moscow, Fluminense, AC Milan, PSG, and now Chelsea.
The 38-year-old boasts of top-level experience and excellent leadership skills. He was one of the best defenders in the Ligue 1 during his time there.
Silva also possesses phenomenal tactical intelligence and knowledge of the game — attributes that will enable him to become a great manager.
2. Jordan Henderson
It is not an easy task to become captain a Liverpool FC, and it is even more difficult to succeed the club’s greatest captain, Steven Gerrard.
And that was exactly the role that Henderson found himself, but amidst criticism, the 33-year-old has performed incredibly well in that role.
His relentlessness and determination has made him a living legend at Anfield. Henderson was arguably one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. Although he joined the bandwagon of players in the Saudi Pro League.
These abilities, coupled with his leadership, would serve him well should he venture into management.
3. Gianluigi Buffon
45-year-old Buffon started his career 30-years ago, and he’s still enjoying himself at the highest level. The Italian shot-stopper captained Juventus and the Italian national team for many years successfully.
His character and charisma commands respect from both teammates and opponents alike and will be useful skills together with his leadership and vocal abilities should he become a coach after hanging his gloves.
4. Gerrard Pique
Pique was a prominent member of the Barcelona and Spanish teams that conquered football for many years.
His physique and commanding presence made him one of the best defenders in the world during that period.
He would make a good manager should he become one, but it remains to be seen whether he would do so as he’s into businesses and also owns two clubs.
He once stated that he dreams of becoming the president of Barcelona.
5. Manuel Neuer
Widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, Neuer is currently the captain of Bayern Munich and the German national team. He has won a lot of trophies at both club and international level so far.
His composure, high concentration, game reading, and mentality would make him a good manager.
6. Virgil Van Dijk
Arguably one of the best defenders in the world presently, Van Dijk has developed his game rapidly since moving to Liverpool and has been integral in making the club the best in the world.
His game understanding, anticipation, and leadership will make him a great manager in the future.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo
Undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have ever played the round leather game, Ronaldo’s work ethic, dedication, determination, winning mentality, and fighting spirit makes him a natural leader and a potentially successful coach.
It is not easy to forget his stint at the touchline after getting injured at the 2016 Euro final against France
8. Giorgio Chiellini
One of the major catalysts in Juventus’ domination of the Serie A and rise to the top level of European Football.
Chiellini’s tenacity, no-nonsense style, determination, consistency, and vocal leadership makes him an almost guaranteed candidate to be a great manager after hanging his boots.
The former Juventus defensive stalwart has all the makings of a great manager.
9. İlkay Gündoğan
İlkay Gündoğan might not usually get the praises because of the calibre of players he has played with, but he’s a silent leader on and off the pitch.
He is adored by fans at his previous clubs (Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City) for his commitment, determination, and dedication.
Now at FC Barcelona, İlkay Gündoğan has been known to demand more from his teammates and increase their winning mentality, all the makings of a phenomenal football manager.
His aura and charisma look like that of a potential good manager, especially in terms of man-management.
10. Sergio Busquets
A similarly silent leader like no other, Sergio Busquets is definitely one football player who will become a great manager.
It takes a lot to play in defensive midfield for a club like Barcelona, but Busquets has made it look like a simple task in the last decade.
Never one to attract attention when he is on the field but surely noticeable when he is not there! Busquets has won a lot of trophies for both Barcelona and Spain.
The Spaniard is one of the best defensive midfielders in football history and could go on to imitate his mentor Pep Guardiola.
His abilities and skills are that of a potential top-level manager. He has also spoken of his coaching ambitions.
11. Cesar Azpilicueta
Another silent leader on this list, but Azpilicueta is much more vocal than both Herrera and Busquets due to the fact that he was Chelsea’s official captain.
His leadership, determination, dedication, hard work, and motivational skills will make him a great manager after his playing days.
12. Sergio Ramos
Arguably the most hated player in football for his notorious, aggressive, and no-nonsense attitude and playing style.
But take it or leave it, Ramos is a wonderful asset to have in your team… ask Real Madrid fans!
His vocal and motivation skills, willingness, dedication, determination, and never-say-die mentality are attributes needed to succeed consistently at the highest level in football.
These attributes will make him a successful and controversial manager like Jose Mourinho.
13. Bruno Fernandes
Like it or not Bruno Fernandes is one of the best midfielders in the world. He has completely transformed Manchester United when he came in with his dynamism, and leadership.
The Portuguese midfielder would make a great coach someday. In many if United’s matches, he is seen giving guidance and instructions to his teammates.
He was appointed the captain by Erik Ten Hag and has done a decent job in exercising his leadership.
The Italian midfielder is one of the most technically gifted players at Chelsea. His passing ability, penalty-taking, and match awareness makes his one of the best players in his position.
He is likely to become a remarkable coach someday. Jorginho possess a call demeanour and could be a great coach like Carlo Ancelotti someday.
The former midfielder who often plays as a central defender will owe much of his improvement as a footballer to his coach Pep Guardiola.
Pep Guardiola lauded Fernandinho’s intelligence, versatility, ability in the air, and wide range of skills, staying that “Fernandinho can do everything.” The 35-year-old Brazilian is likely to follow the footsteps of his coach and become a coach someday.