ISL: Robbie Keane joins illustrious list of player-managers

The ISL will have a new player-manager when ATK takes on NorthEast United on Sunday.

Marco Materazzi, Chennaiyin FC's player-manager for ISL 2014.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Robbie Keane will get his first taste of football management when he takes charge of ATK for its home clash against NorthEast United FC. Ashley Westwood, who had been appointed as an interim coach, following the departure of Teddy Sheringham, stepped down after a humiliating 5-1 loss to FC Goa, which was ATK's penultimate match in the league stage.

Keane, who was signed on to lead the Kolkata side's forward line, has had little success as a player in this ISL and will now hope to end the campaign on a high. He is not the first player-manager in the ISL and Sportstar chronicles the journey of others who have donned the dual role in the league.

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Marco Materazzi, Chennaiyin FC

The former Italian defender was signed as a player-manager by Chennaiyin for the inaugural edition of the ISL. He led the team to a top-of-the-table finish at the end of the league stage, but his team lost 3-4 on aggregate to Kerala Blasters in what was a dramatic two-legged semifinals.

In the second season (ISL 2015), now just a manager, Materazzi won Chennaiyin the title, beating FC Goa 3-2 in a pulsating final.

David James, Kerala Blasters FC

The former England goalkeeper was Kerala Blasters' player-manager in the first season. James guided Kerala to the final, which it lost by a narrow margin (0-1) to Atletico de Kolkata.

In the ongoing 2018 edition of the ISL, James has returned to Kerala Blasters as the head coach after Rene Meulensteen was sacked a couple of months into the season.

Nicolas Anelka, Mumbai City FC

A player, who played as a striker for Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City among other clubs, Anelka was appointed as Mumbai City FC's player-cum-manager for ISL 2015.

This was this Frenchman's only season in the dual role, as his team failed to reach the knockout stage. He had played as a player in the inaugural edition of the tournament.

Roberto Carlos, Delhi Dynamos FC

Former Real Madrid and Brazil left-back, Roberto Carlos was Delhi Dynamos' player-manager for ISL 2015. He led Delhi to the playoffs, which it lost to FC Goa.