Ibrahimovic vs Guardiola, Ferguson’s feud with Beckham: 5 biggest tussles between footballers and managers
Jadon Sancho recently hit back at Manchester United boss ten Hag after his omission from the squad. Here are the top five biggest 'player vs manager' tussles.
Manchester United had to face their second Premier League defeat of the season against Arsenal last weekend. But more than the defeat, the tussle between Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho and manager Erik ten Hag garnered more attention. Sancho did not travel with his Manchester United teammates for the game against Arsenal. Following the match, Ten Hag disclosed that Sancho was not selected because of his unimpressive training. The explanation could hardly pacify Sancho and the Englishman wrote on social media that he has “been a scapegoat for a long time.”
In this article, we take a look at five of the biggest 'player vs manager' tussles in the history of the game.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Pep Guardiola
The Swedish talisman had played under Pep Guardiola in one season at Barcelona in 2009-10. The period, however, turned out to be quite topsy turvy due to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s feud with the Spaniard. Ibrahimovic did not get adequate game time under the Catalan head coach. Following Barcelona's Champions League semi-final exit to Inter Milan in 2010, Ibrahimovic revealed how he confronted Guardiola in the dressing room.
"Guardiola was staring at me and I lost it. I thought, 'There is my enemy, scratching his bald head!' I yelled: 'You haven't got any b***s!' and worse than that I added: 'You can go to hell!' I completely lost it, and you might have expected Guardiola to say a few words in response, but he's a spineless coward,” Ibrahimovic was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. Following his one-year stint at Barcelona, the Swedish striker moved to AC Milan.
4. Roberto Mancini vs Mario Balotelli
It is fair to say that Italian striker Mario Balotelli did not enjoy an amicable relationship with Roberto Mancini. The Italian duo was even involved in a scuffle during Manchester City's training ground back in 2013. According to media reports, Balotelli’s mistimed challenge on team-mate Scott Sinclair during a training session had angered the-then Manchester City head coach Mancini. In 2011, Balotelli was involved in a touchline argument with Mancini. During Manchester City’s pre-season game against LA Galaxy, Balotelli squandered an easy chance to score a goal. Instead of finishing off an easy opportunity, Balotelli decided to score with a backheel. Balotelli’s audacious effort went in vain. The incident infuriated Mancini who soon decided to take Balotelli off the pitch.
3. Jose Mourinho vs Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba completed his return to Manchester United amid incredible hype and excitement in 2016. But his second spell with the Red Devils turned out to be bitter due to a fallout with the-then Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. It all started with Mourinho removing the Frenchman from vice-captain’s role. The duo even reportedly got involved in a heated clash in September 2018. Three years later, Pogba had launched a scathing attack on Mourinho. While recalling his association with the Portuguese manager, Pogba told Sky Sports, “Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho. Everybody saw that and the next day you don’t know what happened. That’s the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don’t know."
2. Jose Mourinho vs Luke Shaw
Mourinho finds a mention once again on this infamous list. This time, it is because of his feud with Manchester United defender Luke Shaw. Mourinho has been critical of the English footballer on many occasions. Mourinho had claimed that Shaw was a "long way behind" Manchester United's other left-back choices back then.
1. Alex Ferguson vs David Beckham
Well, there could hardly be any doubt about this claiming the top spot, albeit for all the wrong reasons. The feud between legendary manager Alex Ferguson and former English midfielder David Beckham is termed by many as one of the ugliest ones in the history of the game. It is believed that their clash started during an FA Cup tie against Arsenal back in 2003. With Manchester United trailing by two goals to nil, the-then Manchester United manager Ferguson had criticised Beckham at halftime. Ferguson even accidentally kicked a boot which hit the former England skipper above his left eye. Four months after the dressing room incident, the Scott decided to sell Beckham to Real Madrid.