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Will Ronaldo or Messi move into Management?

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the two finest players of their generation. Having won multiple team and individual honours each, when the debate of who is the greatest of all time is discussed, these two names will always pop up. However, it remains to be seen if either of them has the desire or ability to make it as a top class manager.

There have been great players who have become great managers in the past. Ronald Koeman is currently enjoying a successful spell at Southampton. Koeman, who won the European Cup twice as a player, has also been successful at Valencia and Ajax. Michael Laudrup is another who has done well as a manager. The Dane, regarded as one of the finest Barcelona players of all time, won the League Cup with Swansea. Carlo Ancelotti is now one of the most decorated managers in the game, but as a player he won the European Cup twice with AC Milan.

However, there have also been great players who have failed as managers. Roy Keane did well at Sunderland, but the man who many predicted would make a great manager failed to impress at Ipswich and is now an Assistant Coach with the Republic of Ireland. Bobby Charlton, one of Manchester United and England’s finest players of all time, had a brief and unsuccessful spell as Preston manager. Perhaps the most famous player of all time, Diego Maradona, became something of a laughing stock after his Argentina side were humiliated by Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

Some of the finest managers in the modern games were unsuccessful as players. Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho both had underwhelming playing careers and turned their attention to management by their early thirties. It may be that not being naturally gifted players themselves allowed them to focus on the importance of tactics instead of relying on their ability.

At the moment, it would be surprising if Ronaldo tried his hand at management. It is thought that the Portuguese star would be interested in a movie career and has already been working on his CR7 brand by creating a museum dedicated to himself and by bringing out his own aftershave. A failed stint in management would damage his brand and he may feel that once he hangs up his boots he would like to try and forge a career outside of football.

Out of the two, it seems Messi would be much more likely to end up in the dugout. Barcelona have a history of giving former players the chance to manage the club. Pep Guardiola is the prime example, although current boss Luis Enrique is another who turned out for the Catalan club, and it is unlikely he would have got the job if he didn’t have a previous connection with the club. The Barcelona hierarchy and supporters would like nothing more than seeing their greatest player of all time conduct the team from the touchline once his playing days are over.

While it is far too early to tell if Messi and Ronaldo will move into management, it seems Messi is the more likely of the two to do so. And while both have been great players, history suggests that this is no guarantee that they will become great managers.

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