Chelsea’s Diego Costa reminded us of how intense a player and coach’s relationship could get in last weekend’s draw against Tottenham even though we really didn’t need one. The modern game is filled with a number of high profile spats between managers and their players because as with every other human relationships, things turn sour.
The real surprise, however, is that these rows are never hidden from the public even those that occurs in the innermost circles of the club. There are number of reasons for this, Firstly because of the close attention given to the game by the media and then also, the stakes has never been higher with such colossal amount of money flying around football these days.
Here is a list of our top five most absurd and high profile spats between players and managers.
Anelka v Raymond Domenech
If you know anything about France’s World Cup in 2010, you would know it was nothing but a complete disaster as they were knocked out in the group stages. Karma they say is a female dog and it had one on France given that they never had any business being in that World Cup after a Thierry Henry’s hand ball gifted them qualification against Ireland in the playoffs.
Only a few things can better such terrible outing by a traditional World Cup team and one of those few things was their conduct off the pitch. It was a public embarrassment for France as Nicolas Anelka and Raymond Domenech led the act with words fired at each other, you would be forgiven if you thought this was a rap battle between 2pac and Notorious BIG.
Raymond Domenech was critical of France’s first half performance against Mexico by criticizing Nicolas Anelka for his performance in the dressing room and Anelka’s response as reported by French newspaper was “go screw yourself, dirty son of a whore”.
Nicolas Anelka was substituted after half-time and was sent out of the French camp afterwards, then the other French players refused to train in support of Anelka and Domenech was powerless in sending them out as well though he probably would have imagined it a few times.
Years later, Anelka had this to say about the incident in a French tabloid “I insulted a coach who the whole of France had already insulted, a coach who had never won anything apart from Ligue 2 and the Toulon tournament!, He didn’t know victory. I respect the man because I think he’s a good person but I have no respect for the coach because he is not up to scratch. When you have been coached by Ancelotti and other greats, it’s hard to be coached by Domenech!
A coach who demands respect but is incapable of respecting the best scorer in the history of France [Thierry Henry] doesn’t deserve any respect.”
Rappers should consider themselves lucky Anelka isn’t one of them, he sure knows how to throw jibes. Hurtful jibes.
Louis Van Gaal v Luca Toni
Louis Van Gaal is the god-father of not being liked by his players. We could count with fingers the number of players that have had good words to say about him after he left a club or after they left a club he managed.
Recently is the trio of Van Persie, Rafael and Javier Hernandez, who left Manchester United without a mute of nice words for their manager last season. Louis Van Gaal’s reputation for struggling to deal with big stars in his squad stretches back to his Barcelona’s days that saw clash with Stoichkov and Rivaldo in his first and second stints respectively.
Many know about his feuds in Barcelona but few know about his clash with Luca Toni when he was coach of Bayern Munich. Luca Toni was one of the hot shots at Bayern, scoring 38 goals in 56 Bundesliga games under Ottmar Hitzfeld. Van Gaal and Luca Toni never just hit a good patch between them, so much that LVG lewd the manner in which the player ate his food.
Louis van Gaal once pulled Luca Toni in the ear to sit straight as the Italian slouched on the chair during dinner while watching TV at the same time. Luca Toni said years later that “The way Van Gaal treated the key players was unworthy on a human basis”
From watching “The godfather” you should probably know a thing or two about Italians and their pride but LVG apparently didn’t see that movie. In establishing his position LVG can go beyond the circle of normal like he drew his pants down in front of the Bayern players in the dressing room.
Wayne Rooney will be hoping LVG keeps his pants up.
Ibrahimovic v Guardiola
On the other end of not being liked is a manager that is mostly adored by his players – Pep Guardiola. Barcelona players once gave him a standing ovation after his press conference prior to their Champions League semi-final clash against Real Madrid.
Pep Guardiola has shown an uncanny ability to deal with different situations ranging from player’s ego, injuries and not least, conquering Mourinho both on and off the pitch. But for every Superman, there is a Kryptonite and Zlatan Ibrahimovic happens to be Guardiola’s Kryptonite.
Guardiola has the ability to get players to conform to his playing philosophy but Ibrahimovic proved a nut too tough to crack. Guardiola was often left conspicuously frustrated on the touchline by Ibrahimovic’s decisions on the pitch and that eventually led to bad blood between them as both parties didn’t speak to each other for six months during their Barcelona days.
Their marriage only lasted a season despite Ibrahimovic signing a five year contract for Barcelona and it would later be revealed by Barcelona’s president Josep Bartomeu that Ibrahimovic told his agent “he could punch Guardiola”.
We are glad Zlatan left without making good his intentions. For someone his size, it is unsure if Guardiola would have survived.
Mourinho v Pepe
Mourinho never really controlled the dressing room during his time at Real Madrid and although only a few have in the history of the club, the case of Mourinho is a lot more interesting given that he boasted a certain charisma as the manager players can break their limb for.
He never really cut at it Real Madrid especially in the dressing room with clashes with high players like Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe. His feud with then club captain and legend, Iker Casillas was evident for all to see though Casillas never really said much in the press. It was too obvious there wasn’t love lost between them especially after relegating Casillas to the bench and deep inside Mourinho’s feud with Casillas was a bigger feud with Real Madrid’s center back Pepe which is a surprise given that both of them are from Portugal and Mourinho always showed support towards Pepe during turbulent times especially after being red carded in the Champions League semi-final.
Pepe was one of the closest people to Casillas at Real Madrid, so he felt the captain deserved more respect from Mourinho by saying “The boss’s quotes were not the most suitable, Iker is an institution for both Real Madrid and Spain”.
Mourinho who viewed any show of support towards Casillas as a show of contempt towards him, gave Pepe some stinging words in his next press conference – “Pepe has a problem And his name is Raphael Varane. That’s the whole story. It isn’t easy for a man aged 31 with a lot of experience behind him to be blown out of the water by a kid of 19. It’s very simple. The problem is very simple. Pepe’s life has changed.”
Those words pack a punch but if Pepe is 32 years now, how come he was 31 in 2011? Someone ask Mourinho!
Ferguson v Beckham
There used to be one golden rule in Manchester United – You can never be bigger than Sir Alex. One player came close to being bigger than him but he was thrown a boot before he could step on toes.
David Beckham was a big success on the pitch but a bigger one off it and that was something that didn’t down well with Fergie who always wanted his players away from the media frenzy. After crashing out of the FA Cup against Arsenal in 2003, Sir Alex kicked a discarded boot at David Beckham which hit the Manchester United legend in the face causing a bad cut but he had to be refrained by his teammates from giving the manager a beating.
Their relationship afterwards went south and before any fan could say David, Beckham was already in Real Madrid.
Think we missed out on anyone? Let us know!