Champions League coaches when they were players
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
UEFA.com deploys a 3-5-1-1 formation for its best XI of current UEFA Champions League coaches when they were players – this team would take some beating!
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Goalkeeper: Şenol Güneş (Beşiktaş)
Kept goal in the Trabzonspor side that won the Turkish league title six times – and the Turkish Cup three times – during his 15-year spell from 1972-87. Also won 31 caps for Turkey, captaining the team on five occasions.
Right wing back: Sérgio Conceição (Porto)
A right winger, Sérgio Conceição racked up two league titles with Porto before moving to Lazio, where he won a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, a Coppa Italia and a Serie A title. Scored 12 goals in 56 Portugal games, including a hat-trick against Germany at UEFA EURO 2000.
Centre-back: Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)
A tough-tackling central defender, Pochettino played with the legendary Diego Maradona during his five years with Newell's Old Boys in Argentina. Had spells in Europe with Espanyol – where he won a Copa del Rey – Paris and Bordeaux. Capped 20 times by Argentina.
Centre-back: Massimo Carrera (Spartak Moskva)
Joined Juventus in 1991 and impressed at right-back, lifting the UEFA Cup in 1993. Later became a libero, helping Juve to win the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League despite not playing in the final. Won one cap for Italy and played until the age of 44, ending at Pro Vercelli in Serie C2.
Centre-back: Darko Milanič (Maribor)
Joined Partizan aged 17, winning the Yugoslavian First League in 1987 and the domestic cup in both 1989 and 1992. Went on to make almost 200 appearances – and win two league titles and three Austrian Cups – with Sturm Graz. Won 42 caps for Slovenia and five for Yugoslavia.
Left wing back: Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord)
Started with home-town club Feyenoord before joining Rangers where he won a Scottish treble in his debut season. Then won an English double at Arsenal, whom he went on to help Barcelona beat in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. Ended up back at Feyenoord, though the final game of his career was the Netherlands' 2010 FIFA World Cup final defeat. Won 106 caps for the Oranje.
Midfielder: Josep Guardiola (Manchester City)
A classy operator, Guardiola came through Barcelona's youth ranks to win six Spanish titles, one European Cup, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and two Copa del Rey trophies. Also had spells with Brescia, Roma, al-Ahly in Doha and Mexico's Dorados de Sinola. Won 40 caps and Olympic gold with Spain.
Midfielder: Antonio Conte (Chelsea)
A tenacious performer, Conte started with hometown club Lecce but made his name during 13 seasons with Juventus, where he won five league titles, the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League and 1992/93 UEFA Cup, among other honours. Was captain from 1996. Capped 20 times by Italy, he was part of the squads that finished runners-up at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000.
Midfielder: Diego Simeone (Atlético)
At one stage Argentina's most-capped player, Simeone was a fierce competitor whose most notable spells came at Lazio, Inter, Atlético and Sevilla. Honours included a UEFA Cup with Inter, a UEFA Super Cup with Lazio and a Spanish Liga title with the Rojiblancos.
Attacking midfielder: Zinédine Zidane (Real Madrid)
A majestic No10, Zidane's career really began to blossom when he moved from Bordeaux to Juventus, where he was a Serie A winner and UEFA Champions League runner-up in each of his first two seasons. In 2001, he made a world-record move to Madrid, with whom he won a UEFA Champions League and Spanish Liga title. Won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000 with France, but was sent off in his last game, the 2006 FIFA World Cup final defeat against Italy.
Striker: Ernesto Valverde (Barcelona)
Known as 'Txingurri' (worker ant) as a player, Valverde scored 44 goals in 170 appearances over a six-year stay with Athletic Club. Had previously helped Espanyol to the 1988 UEFA Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Bayer Leverkusen. Also had brief stints at Barcelona and Mallorca.