Separated at birth: 20 top football managers and their Disney character counterparts
Rafael Benitez: Lumiere (Beauty and the Beast)
OK, we admit it – we’ve likened Benitez to a French waiter. Couldn’t help ourselves. Disney’s loveable representation is a talking candlestick who loves pushing the grey stuff, while Rafa prefers to tentatively encourage the black & white. Both are doomed to continually serve a (potentially power-drinking) beast of a man.
Jose Mourinho: Aladdin (Aladdin)
Ah, Jose. Gotta stay one jump ahead of the breadline, one swing ahead of the sword, one toe away from the touchline, one second away from looking bored. The Special One shares so much with Aladdin – dashingly handsome, given to rubbing things up the wrong way and one silly wish away from everything he ever wanted. Both homeless, although we doubt Aladdin can afford the Lowry bill.
Mark Hughes: Woody (Toy Story)
Pull the string at the back, he’ll announce one of his dependable, hackneyed catchphrases (and maybe even do some line dancing). What other leadership qualities do you need? OK, some might favour the more modern, infinity-and-beyond style rhetoric, but Sparky sticks to his guns until the bitter end.
Mauricio Pochettino: Peter Pan (Peter Pan)
Young, visionary and the real Darling of the press. Yet Pochettino’s new Spurs stadium is currently looking as close as Pan’s Neverland at this rate. Both never seem to age a day (it must be the hair dye) and rely heavily on a magical blonde sprite, whose pixie dust enables them and the other lost boys to fly high. His name is Harry Kane.
Javi Gracia: Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio)
Always let your conscience be your guide. Or failing that, a rakish Spaniard with a winsome smile. Both know exactly when to show up and tell you what you should’ve done, with varying degrees of acquiescence. Both, perhaps surprisingly, seem to get it right.
Alan Pardew: Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Just look at him, gazing smugly at that strong jawline. He’d lick himself if he could. How does the song go? “When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs every morning to help me get large. And now that I’m grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I’m roughly the size of a barge.” Well, when you’re the king, you can do – and eat – anything.
Diego Simeone: Hans (Frozen)
“You take advantage of the opportunities you find in life. If you don’t, you are lost.” Thus spake the mighty Cholo, regarding that time he helped get Becks sent off in the last 16 of the 1998 World Cup in France. Hans of the Southern Isles is also quite the opportunist. One who was also only too quick to take advantage of a rash, beloved, young princess for his own nefarious needs.
Tony Pulis: Tarzan (Tarzan)
You’ve got Tony all wrong. If the whole nakedly headbutting James Beattie thing came off somewhat, em, primitive, remember that to both Pulis and any other adventurer raised in the jungle, a firm mindkiss is actually high praise. Had Beattie copied Jane’s coy: “Stay there, like a good wild man” it might all have ended calmly, with a palm-to-palm truce. Possibly.
Gennaro Gattuso: Hades (Hercules)
“I’m no magician,” Gattuso once snarled. That’s OK Rino, the God of the Underworld sucked at sorcery too. “I’m the worst coach in Serie A,” he added. Well, not an ideal qualification for being Milan manager, so you’re both very bad boys. Perhaps the only difference between these two is that in the aftermath of nutting a coach or slapping a striker, Hades pats down his facial flames, saying: “OK, it’s fine! I’m cool. I’m fine”. The growl? Yeah. Doesn’t do that.