HomeBlogDifferent paths, same destiny – Soccer Coaches
Different paths same destiny - Soccer Coaches

Different paths, same destiny – Soccer Coaches

I am in Porto, Portugal, writing this but if I stop and suddenly decide to go to London, for example, I have several options. I can go by Train, Car, Plane, Bus, Ship, Bicycle,Walking or even Hitchhiking.

I just make my decision, I pack, make all the arrangements and I can go by the way I choose accordingly to different aspects, confort, safety, time, emotional factor, financial part and beliefs.

For sure someone else at the same time somewhere decided the same those variables and options will certainly  be different, can take less or a longer time, can be more or less expensive, but let’s assume that we both arrive to London safe, we both achieved our destiny and goal that in this case was alone and coming from an individual decision.

HitchHiking is apparently the cheapest option and may take a reasonable time although you never know who you will find, what will happen, you will owe a favour or several that can always one day be charged. It’s also for sure the most uncertain of the option of arriving at the desired destiny because you can end up somewhere completely different, get stuck or even never find someone willing to help you and wait forever at the starting point. You will depend on many factors and the main one is on someone’s promise. As less factors you depend on, closer you are to your destiny.

When you lead a group and have to do the same journey the variables must be multiplied by the number of persons involved, the same variables but a different process. You have external aspects for you to manage and if you want to have success you can have different methods and approaches but the goal is still the same, arriving safe to the destiny and in this case all the members involved.

Transporting this to Soccer, and to a coach world, we can have different scenarios, different decisions, different backgrounds, but for sure the ones that reach the goals have things in common independently of any internal or external processes, thoughts, personality or education.

There is no secret formula.

I’ll talk about 5 different coaches, with completely different backgrounds, education, ideas, methods, one can be a boat, another a plane, another car, a bus or a train. But all of them made it to their goals.

Josep Guardiola, a former footballer, who grew up in Catalonia, played since young age for Barcelona, became first team captain and had someone that was his mentor, his manager, the legend, Johan Cruyff.  He was a very good player, a top one during his years at Barcelona, moved to Italy and didn’t achieve the same level of success as a player but for sure was a crucial experience for his future as a manager because all good or bad experiences are something we gather and I can reveal  in advance the first common point between these 5 managers, for sure they all learned with their mistakes, their bad decisions, and with hard times, questioning themselves everyday, standing up and coming back stronger.  He started his coach career back home managing FC Barcelona.

Jurgen Klopp, born in a divided Germany, was also a former footballer but not on such a higher level. Played all his entire career at his home country, became manager at the same club where he played most of his career and reached a top level as a manager, becoming Borussia Dortmund manager, but still in his home country, being National champion and reaching the Champions League Final.

Jorge Jesus, born in Portugal, a former player with ups and downs, never being a fantastic player but a leader. Played in the Portuguese first division in small teams, lower divisions, experienced also how to play in a big team as Sporting Lisbon, always with an uncertain career as a player. One day when he was still a footballer, the opponent team’s President approached him after the match and said that he wanted him to be his team’s next coach, he was still a player and never even thought about it. Jesus never managed any team before. He accepted the challenge and it was his first experience as a coach ( Player/Coach), straight away as a main coach. Managed many teams, small, very small, medium and high level. Never went to university or studied soccer by books, he is a self made man that took many years to soccer people respect and understand.

Zinedine Zidade,I believe that all can be resumed to one single word as a player, Zizou. As a manager started at Real Madrid and although he was without managing during a period, he returned and we all know the results despite the fact that he only managed Real Madrid he is one of the greats.

José Mourinho, although many say that he didn’t play, he actually did. At a high level? No! Was he inside the pitch? Yes, he was. Growing with a father that was a first division Goalkeeper and after a manager, from early days he was involved, observing and gathering knowledge.

He went to university studying sports, with specialization and focus in soccer. He started as a Bobby Robson’s translator, after being promoted to second assistant coach, first, and finally he had his first opportunity as a Head Coach still very young in a time where that was almost unthinkable.

All of them won several trophies, all of them are in football history, are admired, all of them also failed, didn’t win every season, but they will always be remembered as greats.

All of them work currently outside their home countries, won trophies in different countries and are many people’s inspiration.

At the same time all of them are completely different in many ways, communication, image, ideas, methods, personality, human resource management but have essential things in common.

Love for the game, for their job, gratefulness, own ideas, no fear to have the best by their side when many have due this can be a possible threat to their position, have people they trust, strong family and friend bases and huge desire to win. They have Respect for the game, for the fans, for themselves, for the players, for the opponents, for human beings in general , have fundamental life values coming from their families ( I am almost certain of it ), a huge human side and no fear of failure or taking decisions.

For sure they all have influences from people they admired or from who they learned, but they created their own ideas, listening, adapting, watching and always being unique.  Desire to improve is always present, learning constantly and never thinking that they know everything.

Being alert and having awareness for the small details inside and outside football, feeling themselves and following their instincts. Wanting to be successful but not having fame ,vain or  money as the reason that moves them, but as a consequence or dedication, hard work, competence and success. Some of these things are good, some not so much as make them also pay a price for that success that many times is unfair to them.

So no matter where you come from, what’s your background, the success is possible to achieve but to be consistent must obey integrity and all these values and just for reference, none of them chose hitchhiking…


Josep Guardiola ( As a Coach )

Barcelona B

  • Tercera División: 2007–08


  • La Liga: 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11
  • Copa del Rey: 2008–09, 2011–12
  • Supercopa de España: 2009, 2010, 2011
  • UEFA Champions League: 2008–09, 2010–11
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011

Bayern Munich

  • Bundesliga: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
  • DFB-Pokal: 2013–14, 2015–16
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2013
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2013

Manchester City

  • Premier League: 2017–18, 2018–19[214]
  • FA Cup: 2018–19
  • EFL Cup: 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
  • FA Community Shield: 2018, 2019


Jurgen Kloop ( As a Coach )

Mainz 05

  • 2. Bundesliga third-place promotion: 2003–04

Borussia Dortmund

  • Bundesliga: 2010–11, 2011–12
  • DFB-Pokal: 2011–12
  • DFL-Supercup: 2013, 2014
  • UEFA Champions League runner-up: 2012–13


  • UEFA Champions League: 2018–19
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2019
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2019


Jorge Jesus ( As a Coach )

SC Braga

  • UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2008


  • Primeira Liga: 2009–10, 2013–14, 2014–15[58]
  • Taça de Portugal: 2013–14
  • Taça da Liga: 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2013–14, 2014–15
  • Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 2014
  • UEFA Europa League runner-up: 2012–13, 2013–14

Sporting CP

  • Taça da Liga: 2017–18
  • Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 2015

Al Hilal

  • Saudi Super Cup: 2018


  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 2019
  • Copa Libertadores: 2019
  • Supercopa do Brasil: 2020
  • Recopa Sudamericana: 2020
  • FIFA Club World Cup runner-up: 2019

Zinedine Zidade ( As a Coach )

Real Madrid

  • La Liga: 2016–17
  • Supercopa de España: 2017, 2019–20
  • UEFA Champions League: 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2016, 2017
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2016, 2017


José Mourinho ( As a Coach )

FC Porto

  • Primeira Liga: 2002–03, 2003–04
  • Taça de Portugal: 2002–03
  • Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 2003
  • UEFA Champions League: 2003–04
  • UEFA Cup: 2002–03


  • Premier League: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2014–15[239]
  • FA Cup: 2006–07[238]
  • Football League Cup: 2004–05, 2006–07,[238] 2014–15
  • FA Community Shield: 2005[238]

Inter Milan

  • Serie A: 2008–09, 2009–10
  • Coppa Italia: 2009–10
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2008
  • UEFA Champions League: 2009–10

Real Madrid

  • La Liga: 2011–12
  • Copa del Rey: 2010–11
  • Supercopa de España: 2012

Manchester United

  • EFL Cup: 2016–17
  • FA Community Shield: 2016
  • UEFA Europa League: 2016–17

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    1 Comment

  1. May 19, 2020

    Super article – like the analogy of the journey and different methods of transport! Thanks.

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