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The Only Three Men To Win The FIFA World Cup Both As A Manager And A Player

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There are a few who have won the FIFA World Cup trophy as a player and ridiculously fewer individuals who have won it as in-field performers and managers. Less than a handful of men are in a league of their own.

There’s a whopping 28 years of difference between the man who did it recently and the one who was the last to do it. France’s 54-year-old Didier Deschamps is the latest manager to lift the FIFA trophy as a manager while winning the coveted trophy as a player beforehand.

The other two names in this extremely short list are Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil’s Mario Zagallo. These three are also often in the rundown of the best managers of all time either club or country. Take a look at the moments when the mentioned figures achieved something beyond the expected capabilities. Have a look at the men to win the world cup as a player and manager.

Mario Zagallo (1958, 1962; 1970)

In 1970, Zagallo of Maceio, Brazil became the first to clinch the World Cup trophy as both the manager and player. Whilst active as a player, Zagallo had won the then-called Jules Rimet Trophy on not just one but two occasions, in 1958 when Brazil won its first World Cup by defeating Sweden with a scoreline of 5-2. Zagallo himself was one of the scorers, netting the fourth one. The very celebration followed four years later when Zagallo was still active as a player; Brazil defeated then-Czechoslovakia (3-1) in 1962 to successfully defend its title as the world champion.

Mario Zagallo, the player who won the FIFA World Cup trophy with Brazil in 1958
Mario Zagallo (right), was the first man to win the FIFA World Cup trophy both as a player and manager with Pele (left).

For Zagallo, it only took two FIFA tournaments to enjoy the biggest football crown for the third time only this time as a man leading his national football squad from the bench. He managed the Selecao during its competition-winning quest in 1970 which contained the likes of Pele, Tostoa, and Jairzinho in their squad. Although the tournament didn’t have the last 16 at the time, out of Brazil’s five World Cup-winning teams, Zagallo’s overseeing the 1970 squad is arguably considered the best in the nation’s history or the best winning run. The team secured three wins out of three in the group stage. They then saw off Peru in the quarter-finals and Uruguay in the last four. In the endgame, they pelted the then three-time world champion Italy by 4-1.

Zagallo would also have been the manager to win two world cups had Brazil won the 1998 world cup against France in the final.

Franz Beckenbauer (1974; 1990)

After 1970, it would take a huge 20 years for someone other than only Zagallo to win the FIFA World Cup both as a player and manager. He was able to lift the trophy for the first time (as a player) in 1974 when then-West Germany won the 10th edition of the FIFA tournament where in the final the country beat the Netherlands by a narrow margin of 2-1. The defenseman was also the captain of his then-squad.

1974 world cup winner as a player Franz Beckenbauer 
Franz Beckenbauer, was the second player to win World Cup as a player and manager. Getty

16 years later, in 1990, the Munich-born ex-defender would helm Germany’s managerial position and take them all the way through the final where his team defeated the late Maradona-led Argentina thereby making Beckenbauer the then-one of only two men to win the FIFA Gold trophy in two roles. It was a proper revenge match as in the previous World Cup, Beckenbauer was on the losing side against the same opponent and the very same manager in the Argentinian side as the winners.

Didier Deschamps (1998; 2018)

Deschamps first won the world cup trophy when he was France’s midfielder as well as the team’s captain. He was part of the 1998 national team that won its first-ever FIFA World Cup when the tournament was held in France itself that year. In the climax of the tournament, Deschamps and his team beat Brazil by 3-0.

France's coach and ex-world cup winner as a player, Didier Deschamps 
Ex-France midfielder and World Cup winner as a player and coach, Didier Deschamps

Twenty years later, in 2018, the Bayonne native would help his nation win the World Cup by being on the sides. In that year’s final, Deschamps’ tactical genius from the dressing room and guidance from the touchline made France thrash teams including Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium, and Croatia respectively in the last 16, the quarter, the semi-finals, and the final. In the finale, Les Bleus bested the first-time finalist, Croatia by 4 goals to 2.

Other Facts About The FIFA World Cup With Respect To Managers

  • Italy’s manager Vittorio Pozzo is the only man to win the FIFA World Cup twice as a coach. He first won the trophy in 1934 and then in 1938; both with his birth nation, Italy.
  • No country has ever won the FIFA World Cup with a foreign man as their manager.
  • Including Zagallo and Beckenbauer, four managers have both won and lost the FIFA World Cup final, the other two being Helmut Schon (with Germany, won 1974, lost 1966) and Carlos Bilardo (with Argentina, won 1986, lost 1990).
  • Carlos Alberto Parreira is the manager who has appeared in most FIFA World Cup tournaments. He has been a manager in six competitions from 1982 to 2010 during which he managed five nations.

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