Nicolas Anelka’s appointment as coach of Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua has raised a few eyebrows this week.
‘Le Sulk’ has gained notoriety during his playing career for rubbing managers and fans up the wrong way. He is now at his ninth club, with the combined transfer fees making him the most expensive player of all time.
A turbulent career reached a low point in 2006 when he was expelled from the French World Cup squad after a furious row with coach Raymond Domenech at half-time against Mexico.
The fall-out led to the rest of the squad refusing to train as France suffered a humiliating exit, and the French Federation banned Anelka for 18 matches.
So is he really a serious candidate to take to the dugout? This list of seven former bad-boys-turned-managers offers some hope (but not too much):
As a player: Arguably the greatest player ever, but a rap sheet as long as your arm. Won the World Cup with Argentina and two Serie A titles with Napoli. Lowlights included shooting journalists with an air rifle and two positive drugs tests.
As a manager: Starred as Argentina boss at the 2010 World Cup, producing dozens of brilliant quotes including a German-accented taunt of Bastian Schweinsteiger. Now at Al-Wasl in the UAE, where he recently fought with opposition fans.
2-Paolo Di Canio
As a player: His volley against Wimbledon typified his stellar talent, but he was banned for shoving over ref Paul Alcock, and caused a stir with his open fascist sympathies that culminated in this ‘Roman salute’ while playing for Lazio.
As a manager: It shouldn’t work, but it does. He has scuffled with one player, Leon Clarke, and told another, Jonathan Tehoue, he is “not as good as I thought”. But his Swindon Town side are on the brink of promotion to League One.
As a player: After an electric start to his career, Gascoigne’s was a sad story of unfulfilled talent, as injuries, drinking and fake plastic breasts hampered one of the greatest players of his generation.
As a manager: A shock appointment by Kettering Town in 2005, Gascoigne lastest just 39 disastrous days amid accusations – denied by Gascoigne – that he drank on the job. Gazza said owner Imraan Ladak knew nothing about football. Well, he did appoint Paul Gascoigne manager.
As a player: A rough-house defender with a thunderous left foot, Mihajlovic was no stranger to controversy. Never more so than when UEFA banned him for racially abusing Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira. Mihajlovic said Vieira provoked him by calling him a “gypsy”.
As a manager: After a spell assisting Roberto Mancini at Inter, Mihajlovic has built a decent career with spells at Bologna, Catania and Fiorentina, who sacked him last November.
As a player: We may never have seen Stoichkov’s brooding genius had a life ban imposed in 1985 for fighting been upheld. Went on to star in Barcelona’s early-90s ‘Dream Team’ and Bulgaria’s brilliant USA ’94 side, and was later sued over a tackle while playing for DC United in 2003.
As a manager: Took over Bulgaria in 2004, but his tempestuous moods led to fallings-out with several players including Stiliyan Petrov. Now at Litex Lovech, Stoichkov was last month accused of insulting and threatening a referee.
As a player: Will forever be defined by one moment after scoring for Newcastle against Bolton, when he removed his shirt and aggressively kicked the advertising hoardings for no apparent reason.
As a manager: Enjoyed instant success with Cypriot outfit Anorthosis Famagusta, winning the title in his first full season in 2005. Went on to manage Greek giants Olympiacos, then his native Georgia.
As a player: The epitome of early-90s excess, Merson tearfully admitted to alcohol and cocaine addiction in 1994 before rebuilding his career with impressive stints at Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth.
As a manager: Despite a spell in rehab for gambling addiction, Merson was appointed player-manager of Walsall, where he lasted nearly two years before calling time on his managerial career.