LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: manager Roy Hodgson of Crystal Palace claps after the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park on November 10, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Ranked - Five top Managers who Have Never Played Football Professionally

Most of us fans perceive football as a game of insight and vision. We expect our teams to be coached by men who understand every aspect of the game, and thus, having a manager who was himself a footballer seems ideal.


Surprisingly, there are some really great managers who never played a single professional match in their careers, and still have done impeccably whilst in the dugout. 


Here are five such top managers who never played football professionally. 

5. Roy Hodgson

After failing to break into Crystal Palace's first team, Roy Hodgson completed training to become a fully qualified coach at the age of 23. He learned his trade at Maidstone United, serving as assistant manager to Bob Houghton.


Since Maidstone, he has coached the likes of Fulham, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion, while managing the national teams of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Finland and, most notably, England. His greatest success as manager came with Fulham, when he led them to the Europa League final in 2010.

4. Andre Villas-Boas

Earning his coaching qualifications while working under Bobby Robson at Porto, Andre Villas- Boas always seemed destined for great things, although in an obscure manner. 


After serving as Jose Mourinho's assistant coach, Villas-Boas set out to pursue a career as a manager and found a job in the Primeira Liga with Academica de Coimbra at the start of 2009/10 season. In just a season, he turned the relegation-threatened team into a solid mid-table club before joining Porto.


He won the league and cup double and the Europa League in his one season at Porto before heading to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, respectively. 

3. Gerard Houllier

One of the most iconic managers in Liverpool's decorated history, Gerard Houllier, too, never played a professional football match in his life. Houllier, who served the club between 1998 and 2004, won the treble in 2000/01 season, bagging the FA Cup, League Cup and the UEFA Cup.


Houllier is one of the very few manager to have won the Ligue 1 with two different clubs. He his first with Paris Saint-Germain in 85/86 and added two more to his tally with Olympique Lyonnais (05/06, 06/07). He also coached the French national team between 1992 and 1993. 

2. Carlos Alberto Parreira

Voted the IFFHS World’s Best National Coach in 2005, Carlos Alberto Parreira started his career not as a professional footballer, but a trainer. Parreira drew the world's attention during his time with Fluminense, when he led them to two league titles and saved them from bankruptcy. 


Parreira, who holds the record for attending the most FIFA World Cup final tournaments as manager with six appearances, led Brazil to victory at the 1994 World Cup, the 2004 Copa América, and the 2005 Confederations Cup.

1. Arrigo Sacchi

After failing to break into lowly amateur side Baracca Lugo, Arrigo Sacchi chose to start coaching in his early 20s. His breakthrough came when he moved to Fiorentina as a youth coach. His exemplary work with the club's youth team caught Parma's attention, who were in Serie C at the time.


He pushed the club to Serie B in his first attempt and even beat Serie A juggernauts AC Milan  in the Coppa Italia. Milan, impressed with his abilities, decided to hire him, and in turn, he brought two European Cups back to the San Siro, building one of the best teams in history.