Separated at birth: 20 top football managers and their Disney character counterparts

What do Guardiola, Klopp, Mourinho and Simeone & Co. have in common with Disney’s finest creations? Quite a lot, it seems, as Becky Scarrott explains...

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

If you’re reading this, there’s every chance a cheeky work experience kid at FourFourTwo Towers snuck six jiggers of rum into someone’s coffee at lunch as opposed to the standard four. We’re a respected (!) football title – but the link between Disney and the game's high-profile dictators can’t be ignored.

But don’t worry, we haven’t gone all obvious by painting Jose Mourinho as Cruella de Vil, Scar from The Lion King or whichever cartoon villain first springs to your mind. We’re better than that. Honest...

Arsene Wenger: Jafar (Aladdin)

Sorcerer, all-powerful ruler of Agrabah and sultan of the stoic put-down. If Arsene Wenger is looking for a role to fill his time after 22 seasons at Arsenal, following in Jafar’s footsteps seems ideal. Frankly, it’s so hard to separate these two. The only thing we can come up with is that while Jafar got to return (in a self-titled 1993 film), Arsene Wenger seems unlikely to make an improbable comeback. Unless things go really wrong for Unai Emery.

Eddie Howe: Simba (The Lion King)

Sometimes, greatness is thrust upon us at a tender, youthful age in the Pride Lands. And sometimes you end up managing the Cherries. Nevertheless, these two just can’t wait to be king of their spiritual homes. Both love their significant other so much they’ll stop a stampede of wildebeest for them – or, erm, ignore advances for the Everton job. Fairly similar, really.

Sean Dyche: Philoctetes (Hercules)

Dyche’s "Minimum requirement is maximum effort” (delivered direct to camera) is the kind of dazzling maxim that got the Clarets to a top-half finish in 2017/18. Philoctetes had the equally tricky task of transforming Herc from zero to hero, with catchphrases like: “Demigods have faced the odds and ended up a mockery. Don’t believe the stories that you read on all the crockery.” Both seemed to get results. Maybe Dyche should try that particular line this season?

Antonio Conte: Rafiki (The Lion King)

Sagacious, wise, shamanistic, softly spoken yet given to jumping up on elevated platforms and shaking his fists hysterically – Rafi learnt everything he knows from Chelsea’s erstwhile Italian manager. Both cover their mouths when chanting, fooling you into thinking they’re conversing. One has said: “He is a little man”; the other: “Can’t cut it out, it’ll just grow right back." Deep.

Roy Hodgson: Scuttle (The Little Mermaid)

Meet Roy’s brother from another mother, Scuttle. So lilting was his voice and mesmeric his stories, he had a mermaid believing a fork was actually meant for sticking in her hair. Pure Hodgson. One can only assume that when Roy imparted similarly mysterious advice to Pep Guardiola on New Year’s Eve at Selhurst Park, the latter spent the remainder of the season ignoring it.

Sam Allardyce: Dumbo (Dumbo)

Big Sam famously once said: “I won’t be going to a top-four club because I’m not called Allardici, just Allardyce.” Thing is, Sammy, change just one letter of this playful pachyderm’s moniker and he could’ve been a fearsome Jumbo. Absolutely the kind of name we’d want associated with our club – plus the aerial game is clearly formidable.

David Wagner: Robin Hood (Robin Hood)

Wagsy strongly advocated players queueing with fans and local bowls club members for their dinner at the Terriers’ old training ground. Kept the lads humble. Also big on humility: the original philanthropist, Robin Hood. Both achieved success against the odds within small catchment areas. Wagner says: “We’re not here just to say hello”; Robo prefers: “Faint heart never won fair maiden." Same difference.

Claude Puel: Grandmother Willow (Pocahontas)

Having stood resolute as the seasons came and went, this grey, ancient timber wasn’t afraid to whip a few derrieres when the time came. And Grandmother Willow is just the same. Admittedly, she did the ass-whooping somewhere near Jamestown Virginia, not in the French league. Or Leicester. But how different can it be?

Jurgen Klopp: Mowgli (The Jungle Book)

Gleeful, inquisitive and prone to blissed-out song and dance numbers, these two have better things to fret over than their unfortunately dicey haircuts. Mowgs gets serenaded with: “I wanna be like you”; the German’s disciples chant: “I wanna be like Jurgen Klopp” to Usher’s Love in this Club. Both swear by the power of man’s red flower.

Pep Guardiola: Belle (Beauty and the Beast)

Yeah we know, Pep – you’re perfect. Strange but special, reading constantly and yearning for more than this provincial, humdrum life. Nobody needs to know right now. Just skip off with your fresh baguettes, dreamy far-off look and your groaning trophy cabinet, please.