Football

5 infamous feuds between managers and star players in football

Rumours of an ongoing feud betwwen Mourinho and Pogba continue to make the rounds
Rumours of an ongoing feud between Mourinho and Pogba continue to make the rounds

In October 2017, several players complained that Stephen Constantine wasn’t tactically equipped to coach the Indian national team. One of those players was the all-time top goalscorer for India, Sunil Chhetri.

Chhetri had been the permanent captain of the Indian football team for the last five years, but was stripped of the captaincy by Constantine just before the historic friendly against China on 13 October.

Many, including football analysts and experts believe that there was an ongoing tiff between the coach and the captain of the Indian national football team, due to which Sandesh Jhingan captained the Indian side against China.

This was not the first time a star player and a manager have been involved in a feud. Lets look at five such feuds between a star player and a manager.


#1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pep Guardiola

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pep Guardiola
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pep Guardiola

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a man of class on and off the field, this is reflected in his quotes and stats respectively. After having successful spells with Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, and Inter Milan, Ibrahimovic was brought to Barcelona by Guardiola.

That is where the good relationship ended between them, as Lionel Messi had the best season of his life playing at centre forward, forcing the Swede to play out wide. Zlatan was still successful, scoring 22 goals in his first 46 matches at the Catalan club.

The relationship between the two men was close to nothing as Guardiola reportedly only talked to the Swede two times in six months. After a defeat in the Champions League semi-final to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, it was rumoured that Zlatan threw gear at the Catalan, and also exchanged a few words with him.

Ibrahimovic also called the Catalan, a ‘spineless coward’ in his autobiography, and since then has admitted that he is a great manager, but not a good man.

Since then, Ibrahimovic has had successful spells at AC Milan, PSG, and Manchester United.

#2 Nicolas Anelka and Raymond Domenech

Nicolas Anelka and Raymond Domenech
Nicolas Anelka and Raymond Domenech

Raymond Domenech led the French side to the World Cup final in 2006, which the team should have, and would have won, but the Zidane headbutt incident came in the way. After that, France had a very disappointing European Championship in 2008, as they finished fourth in their group and bowed out of the tournament.

French fans were expecting a good comeback from their team in the 2010 World Cup, but their star forward Nicolas Anelka had a fallout with the manager. He slated the manager publicly after a defeat to Mexico, and apparently insulted the manager in the dressing room at half time as well. He was immediately sent home after the Mexico defeat.

France ended up finishing fourth in a group which had the likes of Mexico and hosts South Africa.

#3 Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy

Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy
Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy

Roy Keane is known for his short temper and brash attitude. He fell out with Sir Alex Ferguson as well when he was at Manchester United. But he had the biggest fall out of his career with his national team manager Mick McCarthy just before the 2002 World Cup.

Keane wasn’t happy with Ireland’s preparations and training methods ahead of the 2002 World Cup, and had his feelings known to the manager. Both had an exchange of words, in which both men involved verbally abused each other. Subsequently Roy Keane was stripped of the captaincy, and sent home immediately from their camp in Asia.

#4 Iker Casillas and Jose Mourinho

Iker Casillas and Jose Mourinho
Iker Casillas and Jose Mourinho

One of the biggest feuds for power in the history of football, Iker Casillas and Jose Mourinho’s fight divided the fans into two major groups, one supporting Casillas and one supporting Mourinho.

One was a hero who had won two Champions League titles at the club in the past 15 years, and the other had just won the league with a record points total, and was the best manager in the world at the moment.

Things came to a boil when Pepe was shown a red card in an El Clasico, which led to a brawl in which Mourinho poked the then Barcelona assistant manager, Tito Vilanova, in the eye. After the match, Casillas called his Spanish teammates, Xavi and Iniesta to ease tension in the national team, but that did not go down well with Mourinho who saw this as betrayal.

Mourinho dropped Casillas for Diego Lopez for the rest of the season before leaving for Chelsea at the end of the season. The following season, Casillas won his third Champions League trophy with Real Madrid before moving on to Porto.

#5 David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson

David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson
David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson

David Beckham’s attitude was a big hindrance to his career, according to former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

There was big tension at the end of the 2002-03 season between the star man and the manager. Beckham’s fame didn’t help him in solving this feud.

Once the manager called Beckham from London to Manchester ahead of a Club World Cup tie in Tokyo. Then the whole team traveled together from Manchester to London, and then flew to Japan from there. This did not go down well with the England superstar.

Post defeat to Arsenal in a match, the then Manchester United manager kicked a boot at the superstar, it hit him on the face. This acted as a catalyst for his move to Real Madrid in 2003.

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