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10 craziest football managers following Bielsa’s shock resignation from Lazio

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | July 8, 2016

Top 10 craziest football managers

Reports in Italy suggest that Marcelo Bielsa, who was only appointed as Lazio boss on July 8th, has now resigned from the position just two days later.

Those that are familiar with the eccentric genius (nicknamed ‘El Loco’, meaning madman) will not really be too surprised by yet another random decision, but still the news has sent shockwaves through the footballing world.

Bielsa could now potentially take over as national boss of his homeland Argentina for a second spell, while others even say he will be in charge of England next (he’s now 16/1 with Coral to do so, slashed from 40/1).

Read on to find out where former Athletic Bilbao, Marseille and Chile head coach Bielsa ranks on our list of craziest ever football managers…

10: Brendan Rodgers

We start off closer to home, as new Celtic manager Rodgers just gets into our list at number 10 ahead of another England-linked man Glenn Hoddle (12/1 third-equal favourite).

It all began with a documentary about Liverpool, when the Northern Irishman seemed so at home in front of the cameras and relished his chance to show off his methods, in not too dissimilar fashion to David Brent from TV sitcom The Office.

Some of Rodgers’ memorable moments have included calling Joe Allen ‘the Welsh Xavi’, his bizarre envelope mind game and ruling himself out the Manchester United and England jobs despite no one actually linking him with them.

9: Nigel Pearson

Some say that Leicester City’s fairytale Premier League title triumph was down to former boss Pearson’s hard work, but many others believe that he is just a rather strange man.

Of course, the Foxes would never have achieved their success if it wasn’t for their super run at the end of the previous season under the Englishman, but it was his rants he was better known for during his tenure.

Everyone remembers his infamous “I think you are an ostrich” comment aimed at a journalist, while he also once seemingly tried to throttle a downed James McArthur on the touchline when his side faced Crystal Palace. He’s certainly not the only man on this list to have used physical violence to another person, though.

8: Christian Gross

While Gross was highly rated in his homeland Switzerland, he was little-known elsewhere and Tottenham fans didn’t know what to expect before he arrived for his first press conference in 1997.

They and the media’s thoughts were soon decided, though, when Gross took out a London Underground ticket and said the words “I want this to become my ticket to the dreams,” much to the bewilderment of the room.

Perhaps it was nerves or his poor grasp of English, but he endured a turbulent time at White Hart Lane ever since and was sacked by chairman Alan Sugar just nine month later.

Soccer/Cov v Spurs 3

7: Brian Clough

You may be surprised to see iconic manager Clough so low down on this list, but you haven’t read about the following entrants yet…

Yes, the ex-Nottingham Forest boss admitted to punching a young Roy Keane, but who wouldn’t if you could get away with it? Clough has also had his fair share of confrontations with fans, club directors and his trusted assistant Peter Taylor.

He also had a short spell at Leeds United, similar to Bielsa although he was sacked, but is undoubtedly the most successful manager on this list.

6: Neil Warnock

Warnock is of a similar ilk to Clough, just without the success. Ok, that might be a harsh to compare the duo in that way seeing as Warnock is one of the most successful managers in lower league history, but they do at least have similar personalities and both hail from Yorkshire.

The former Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and QPR boss most recently guided Rotherham United to an extraordinary escape in the Championship last term, as they went on an unbeaten run of 11 matches to not only survive but to do so by nine points.

Like Rodgers, Warnock was once followed by documentary cameras, which produced this iconic rant…

5: Joe Kinnear

Another famous for his rants and crazy comments, Newcastle United fans could not believe their eyes when Kinnear was appointed as director of football by Mike Ashley in 2013, despite a controversial spell as boss six season before.

The Irish-born former Spurs defender made his name as a manager with Wimbledon, with whom he guided to top 10 table finishes and cup semi-finals, but arrived at the Toon after being out of the game for years.

His frustrations for his inability to adapt to changes in football soon showed, and he notably called his own players “Ben Afri [Hatem Ben Arfa], Yohan Kebab [Yohan Cabaye],” to the bemusement of Magpies fans.

View his rant at a press conference too (note that there is explicit language)…

4: Felix Magath

Much was expected from German Magath when he took over from struggling Fulham, as he was given the nickname ‘Fireman’ in his home country after somehow saving a number of clubs from relegation. He was also in charge of Wolfsburg when they shocked the Bundesliga in 2008/09 by winning the title.

However, his rumoured unusual disciplinarian methods were clearly not appreciated in England, and a number of Cottagers spoke out about the former teammate of Kevin Keegan at Hamburg.

Brede Hangeland in particular was damning about Magath, saying that he once told to treat a knee injury with cheese.

Magath, in defence, said: “I merely suggested it could be worth trying the old wives’ tale of applying quark cheese to the injured area.”

Soccer - German Bundesliga - Wolfsburg vs Bremen

3: Paolo Di Canio

Mad as a player, and mad as a manager. They say that people mellow as they get older, but not in Di Canio’s case.

The Italian was a Premier League cult hero during his playing days after a number of standout incidences ranging from sportingly stopping catching a ball when a keeper was injured to pushing over a referee.

As manger of Swindon Town, he once got into a confrontation in front of the TV cameras with Leon Clarke, while once took off a keeper after 20 minutes and has had his fair share of rants too.

Di Canio may be crazy, but he is certainly entertaining and is a spectacle on its own when gesturing in the dugout.

2: Miguel Herrera

Another that is highly entertaining on the touchline is former Mexico boss Herrera, who lit up the 2014 World Cup with his celebrations on his side’s way to reaching the last 16 and only narrowly missing out on a place in the quarters after the Netherlands got two late goals.

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Round of 16 - The Netherlands v Mexico - Arena Castelao

Herrera’s passion is what endeared him to the Mexican and world population, but it was his emotions that ultimately led to his downfall.

Known for his violence as a player too, he punched a journalist in an airport just after guiding the Aztecs to a Gold Cup triumph and was soon sacked from his position as a result.

1: Raymond Domenech

It is strange to think that someone who picked players based on star signs was allowed to be in charge of a footballing powerhouse like France for six years.

But his dislike for Scorpios for some inexplicable reason led to him overlooking stars such as ex-Arsenal winger Robert Pires.

Peculiar squad call-ups and public fall-outs with players eventually meant his tenure ended trophy-less, and a reputation of being a bit of a nutter.

South Africa Soccer WCup France South Africa

Off the scale: Marcelo Bielsa

Where to start with man of the moment Bielsa… Rumours say that he once confronted fans back in Argentina that surrounded his house, following a run of poor form, with a live hand grenade.

As the crowd dispersed, Bielsa then even ran after them just in case they didn’t get the message.

Soccer - Pre Season Friendly - Marseille v Livorno

On top of that, he apparently attempted to throttle a groundsman while at Athletic Bilbao, and once even checked the legs of a sleeping young Mauriccio Pochettino to see if he had the correct physique for his Newell’s Old Boys team – with the permission of the now-Spurs manager’s father.

His strange methods are infamous, but so too are his results and legacy on the pitch. Bielsa’s unique yet effective 3-3-3-1 formation has been used to great success with the likes of Argentina, Chile, Bilbao and Marseille.

And, many famous managers have openly admitted that he is someone they look up to, including Pochettino, Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane.

We leave you with this…

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