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Player-managers and great goalkeepers

Norman Hubbard is ESPNsoccernet's resident anorak. If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to and he'll try to answer as many as possible.

Has there been any football player who went into management, and went back to play again in the top division? Douglas from Singapore asked.

It's not a usual career move to go from management back to playing but it has happened, largely to men who became player-managers at a young age. There are three in the Premier League era: Attilio Lombardo who, after being Crystal Palace's player-manager in 1998, returned to Italy to appear in Serie A for Lazio and Sampdoria; Stuart Pearce, who took over as Nottingham Forest manager for the second half of the 1996-97 season and, after their relegation, went on to play for Newcastle and West Ham; and Peter Reid, who was Manchester City's manager for three years, whilst still playing. After his sacking at Maine Road, he played eight games for Southampton as well as lower-division football for Notts County and Bury.

Another notable example is that of Trevor Francis, sacked as QPR manager in 1990, two years before the Premier League began. He then joined Sheffield Wednesday, initially as a player, though he subsequently became manager when Ron Atkinson moved to Aston Villa. One prominent near-miss, by the way, is Peter Shilton whose record-breaking career was mentioned in the last column; after being sacked by Plymouth, he signed for three Premier League clubs (Wimbledon, Coventry and West Ham) but, as the reserve goalkeeper, didn't take the field for any of them. A former England team-mate of his, Ray Wilkins, played top-division football in Scotland with Hibernian after leaving his job as manager of QPR.

Perhaps the most remarkable story is that of Ivor Broadis. In 1946, the 23-year-old became the youngest player-manager in the history of the Football League at Carlisle. While Reid and Francis were sacked, Broadis relinquished his position for a different reason: he sold himself to Sunderland (Carlisle replaced him, incidentally, with an untried manager named Bill Shankly). Broadis went on to play for Manchester City and Newcastle and scored for England in the 1954 World Cup - eight years after his managerial career had begun.

And on a similar theme...

Has there ever been a player who has has a second role as a manager in the same team in the Premier League? Mohd Ariffuddin Bin Mokhtar asked.

Player-managers used to be seen reasonably regularly, but there hasn't been one for more than a decade. The last to take the field - scoring in his final match - was Gianluca Vialli in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Derby in May 1999, though he continued to manage the club until September 2000.

Vialli is one of three player-managers Chelsea have had in the Premier League era, together with Glenn Hoddle and Ruud Gullit. At other clubs we have had Attilio Lombardo (Crystal Palace), Stuart Pearce (Nottingham Forest), Gordon Strachan (Coventry), Ray Wilkins (QPR), Bryan Robson (Middlesbrough), Peter Reid (Manchester City) and Trevor Francis (Sheffield Wednesday). As caretaker managers, Stuart McCall (Bradford) and Dave Watson (Everton) led their sides, while Lombardo was little more than a stop-gap appointment.

Technically, Gareth Southgate was still registered as a player for some of his reign at Middlesbrough, but without taking the field. Danny Wilson (Barnsley) was a player-manager in theory, but not in practice during their sole season in the top flight.

However, while Vialli won five trophies as Chelsea's player-manager, the greatest exponent of multitasking came before the Premier League began. Kenny Dalglish won three league titles while in charge of Liverpool; he scored the goal that clinched the first championship, to defeat Chelsea in 1986. Dalglish remains the only player-manager to win the league, a record he may keep forever.

After seeing Iker Casillas lift the World Cup as captain [for Spain last year], I recall Dino Zoff was also captain when Italy won in 1982. Have there been any other goalkeepers who captained their country to World Cup/European Championship success? How about in the Premier League and in the European Cup/Champions League? KahYip from Singapore asked.

There is a third goalkeeper to captain a World Cup-winning team: Gianpiero Combi, a second Italian, in 1934. Casillas, however, is the only man to skipper both a World Cup and a European Championship-winning side after leading Spain to Euro 2008.

The last goalkeeper to captain a Champions League-winning side was Peter Schmeichel in 1999, though he only wore the Manchester United armband that night because Roy Keane was suspended. He became the fourth goalkeeper to captain a European Cup-winning team after Juan Alonso (Real Madrid, 1958), Stevan Stojanovic (Red Star Belgrade, 1991) and Andoni Zubizarreta (Barcelona, 1992).

Zoff, incidentally, came close to a historic double: he led Juventus in the 1983 European Cup final, when they lost 1-0 to Hamburg. Another Bianconeri goalkeeper, Angelo Peruzzi, had two chances to join that elite club: he captained them in the Champions League finals of both 1997 and 1998, winning neither.

No goalkeeper has been the first-choice captain for the side that has won the Premier League, though both Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar have stood in at Manchester United when the normal skipper has not played.

I would like to know if Real Madrid and Barcelona have ever played each other in Europe before and what was the score? Daifex asked.

Spain's two biggest clubs have been drawn against each other three times in the European Cup/Champions League. The most recent meeting was in the semi-finals in 2002. Real won the first leg 2-0 in Camp Nou with goals from Zinedine Zidane and Steve McManaman, and then drew the second leg 1-1, Ronaldo scoring, to reach a final against Bayer Leverkusen that they won.

Their other meetings came in successive seasons. In April 1960, Real beat Barcelona 3-1 home and away in the semi-finals as they went on to win their record fifth successive European Cup. However, their defence of the title was promptly ended by Barcelona, who progressed 4-3 on aggregate in the rematch in November 1960, Evaristo with the Camp Nou winner.


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