A large percentage of footballers are with the hope of becoming a manager after retirement. Rightly so, when one considers great managers that have managed at the top level, one would discover the beauty and pride in the coached becoming a coach.
Names like Johan Cruyff, Vicente Del Bosque, Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte et all are revered today not only because of their exploit during their playing days but how they excelled as managers for their respective teams.
Today, the cut-throat nature of the round leather game has ensured that clubs are competing both on and off the pitch. This is why a number of clubs have found it in their hearts to appoint former players to take over the reins at some of the biggest sides in club football.
Cheapgoals bring to you the top 9 managers that now manage clubs which they once played as a player.
Managing a top club doesn’t make any manager a top manager. Hence, this article will be placed in different categories.
- Mikel Arteta – Arsenal
Played as a midfielder in his days, Arteta joined Arsenal from Everton in 2011, went on to play for five years for the Gunners, and eventually retired at the Emirates.
He was presented with three options after retirement. First was an offer to lead the Arsenal Academy, the second option was for him to join fellow countryman Pep Guardiola’s coaching crew at Manchester City, while the third option was to become one of Mauricio Pochettino’s backroom staffs at Tottenham Hotspur.
For the records, Guardiola and Arteta had known each other right from the Barcelona Academy where Guardiola was already established in the first team, being 11 years older than Arteta. They kept in touch with themselves since then.
So while Pep was exiting Bayern in 2015, Arteta was in his final year as a player, he reconnected and decided to work together with the Spanish Genius and worked with him till December 2019.
As an Assistant to Pep at Man City, Arteta won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, and two EFL Cups. He eventually became Arsenal manager following the sack of Unai Emery in 2019 and signed a deal with the Gunners until 2023. He’s won the FA Cup and the Community Shield with Arsenal just after a year.
- Frank Lampard – Chelsea
Lampard was a very gifted midfielder during his days as a player. He’s one of the nine players, and the only midfielder, to have scored 150 or more goals in the Premier League. No doubt, his career was a colorful one as a player but it’s still unsure if his managerial career would be glorious.
The Chelsea legend is in his second job as a manager having managed Derby County for a year. In his only season at Derby, Lampard almost qualified The Rams for the Premier League after they finished 6th in the 2018–19 Championship season.
They played in the Championship Play-offs, overturned a 0–1 home loss to win 4–2 away against Leeds United, and claim the tie 4–3 on aggregate to set up an appearance against Aston Villa in the final.
Their date with Aston Villa was the last stop as they lost the finals to Dean Smith’s Villa by 2 goals to 1. Lampard’s spell with Derby served as his gateway to landing the Chelsea job couple with the fact that he’s a Chelsea legend.
In the wake of Maurizio Sarri’s sack at Chelsea just after a season, Lampard was appointed as the new head coach on a three-year contract, making him the first English manager to manage the side in over two decades.
- Andrea Pirlo – Juventus
It definitely would be a Deja vu feeling for Maurizio Sarri. At Chelsea, Sarri was sacked just after one season in spite of his UEFA Europa League triumph, only for Chelsea to announce the appointment of their former player Frank Lampard after the departure of Sarri.
Also at Juve, Sarri was relieved of his job immediately after winning the Serie A title in his first and only season with the Old Ladies (albeit the SerieA triumph did come with some ignominious records).
Following the dismissal of Sarri at Juve, Pirlo was appointed head coach of the first team, signing a two-year contract.
In Pirlo’s first competitive match as a head coach, on 20 September 2020, Juventus won 3–0 at home in a league game against Sampdoria.
He made his Champions League debut as a manager on 20 October, leading Juventus to a 2–0 away win over Dynamo Kyiv; as a result, he became only the third Juventus manager after Lippi and Capello to win his first away game in the competition.
The Juve job is the biggest in Pirlo’s managerial career having managed Juve’s u23 side – Maybe we’re in the dispensation where rookie managers will be lucky to manage the biggest of clubs in Europe. How great would Pirlo turn out to be? This will be known in the fullness of time.
- Ole Gunnar Solksjaer – Manchester United
Manchester United is actually the second club where Solksjaer would work both as a player and as a manager. The Babyface Assassin played at Molde as a young player between 1994 and 1996 as well as Manchester United.
But as a manager, his first shot at managing was supposed to be the Norwegian National Team but Solksjaer rejected the offer, saying it was not yet the right time for him to become the Norway coach.
Shortly after he declined the National Team offer, he was appointed at Molde where he won the Norwegian league before his stint at Cardiff. Unfortunately, Ole relegated Cardiff from the Premier back to the Championship and returned to his former employer, Molde.
It was from Molde that Ole became an accidental replacement for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United in 2018. However, his appointment was supposed to be a temporal one but his impressive run at Old Trafford made him the anointed candidate for the vacant post.
Solskjær signed a three-year contract to take over as Manchester United manager on a permanent basis in March 2019.
The Old Hands
- Mauricio Pochettino – Paris Saint-Germain
Pochettino is the newest in this list; he was just announced on January 2, 2021, to replace the sacked Thomas Tuchel.
Whilst some may argue about his non-inclusion among the rookie managers, true followers of the game would realize that it would be unfair if the Argentine is placed in the same category with the aforementioned managers, taking to account his apparent dearth of silverware. He’s just been unlucky.
Formerly a defender, Pochettino played for the Les Parisians for a period of two years (2001-2003). And just like Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, his appointment at PSG means he’d be managing at his second-place where he played as a player – this is because of his brilliance as a manager.
His material sojourn began at Espanyol in 2009, a team which he played for from 2004 to 2006. His trajectory as a coach has undoubtedly ascended to a higher level because right from the moment he started managing, his work began to draw praise from commentators and fans from across Europe.
Southampton was his next stop after he left Espanyol, he became the second Argentine manager in English football after Osvaldo Ardiles at that time.
At Tottenham Hotspurs, Pochettino became more popular by making the North London club, a side to contend with and also qualified the team for the UEFA Champions League finals for the first time in the history of the club. He was sacked from Spurs after series of bad results in November 2019.
- Simone Inzaghi- Lazio
The younger brother of Filippo Inzaghi, Simone played as a striker for a host of clubs, including Piacenza and Lazio; he remained for more than a decade at the Roman club, winning major honors including the Double
Following his retirement from playing, he embarked on a managerial career, initially in Lazio’s youth. He showed promise during his spell at Lazio’s Primavera side, leading them to two Coppa Italia Primavera’s and a Primavera Super Cup. Just a season-and-a-half after taking charge.
For the 2016–17 season, Inzaghi was originally replaced by Marcelo Bielsa. However, the Argentine left his post after less than one week citing that the club hadn’t backed him in the transfer market.
Simone kept the core of the squad – though added key players such as Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto – and played a more offensive style of football. He steadied the ship in the first season, leading Lazio to the Coppa Italia final and to fifth place in the league.
Lazio slowly improved the following season, finishing just outside the Champions League places and winning the Supercoppa Italiana.
Lazio won their first major honor under Simone, the Coppa Italia. This victory spurred Lazio on the following season, with Simone’s side currently competing with Juventus for the Scudetto – far beyond what anyone would’ve predicted for them at the beginning of the season.
- Ronald Koeman – Barcelona
Till today, Ronald Koeman remains the only defender with the most goals scored in world football and also Barcelona’s highest goal-scoring defender because he used to be an accurate free-kick and penalty kick taker, so much so that he was nicknamed the king of free-kicks.
Koeman was a Barcelona player for eight years. Within these eight years, the Dutchman set some records that stand till today, some of the records remain intact and unbroken. After he retired, Koeman was appointed as a member of the Netherlands national football team coaching staff prior to the 1998 World Cup in France.
After the tournament, Koeman became the assistant coach of Barcelona but his first managerial shot was at Vitesse in 2000. His spell at Vitesse was a success, he led the team to a UEFA Cup spot on a relatively limited budget.
He has worked at different top club sides across Europe but the biggest job he’d ever do is the current one at Camp Nou. Koeman took over at Barca after Quique Setién was sacked following a disastrous 8–2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.
Even though he’s not enjoying the job at Barcelona yet due to the myriad of challenges facing the Blaugrana club right from the administrative level to the technical and the on-field level. However, there’s hope that Koeman would turn things around pretty soon.
- Hansi Flick – Bayern Munich
A record-breaking treble winner in his first season as Bayern Munich’s head coach, Hansi Flick has announced himself into the managerial world with a bang. Talking about managers that thinking ahead has worked for, Hansi Flick is one of such managers.
As a player, Flick was a midfielder who played for the Bavarians for five years between 1985 – 1990, he later played for Köln before retiring from professional football in 1993 due to injuries.
Eventually, he received his professional license in 2003 after finishing joint-top of his class, alongside former Hamburg, Borussia Dortmund and Hannover boss Thomas Doll. He spent several years on the touchline at his local amateur side in Bammental, Flick was later appointed as Hoffenheim head coach in 2000.
At Hoffenheim, he masterminded the club’s development for five solid years, ensuring that the team got promoted right from the fourth division of the German league to the third division. Shortly after the club gained promotion, he left his post.
Flick then had a brief spell on the coaching staff at Salzburg under Giovanni Trapattoni, before receiving a life-changing call. Basically, Flick has worked as an Assistant Manager for three different times under amazing managers.
He was named the assistant coach for Germany in 2006, he worked with Joachim Löw right from that time till after the 2014 FIFA World Cup triumph in Brazil.
He briefly left football from February 2018 until July 2019, and his return to football was to serve as an assistant to Niko Kovac; this was the third time he would be an assistant manager in his colorful career.
Fast forward to today, Flick has been rewarded for his remarkable turnaround at Bayern by being given a permanent contract as the club’s head coach until 2023. He’s made Bayern better than how he met them after Kovac was sacked in November 2019.
- Diego Simeone – Athletico Madrid
As a midfielder, Diego Simeone played for Athletico Madrid for five years but his first spell lasted only for three years between 1994 and 1997. While his return lasted only for two years from 2003 to 2005. Simeone was a tenacious, versatile, hard-working and complete two-way midfielder.
He was good with aerial balls, capable of winning balls and orchestrating attacking plays. His managerial career began with the which he last played as a player, Racing Club in Spain. Thereafter, he’s managed at various clubs which includes Estudiantes, River Plate, San Lorenzo, Cantania, a return to Racing Club before getting appointed at Rojiblancos.
Truly, Simeone has done a good job at Athletico Madrid. He’s won the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish LaLiga as well as qualifying for the UEFA Champions League final on two different occasions.
- Zinedine Zidane – Real Madrid
French World Cup winner Zidane is a full-fledged Real Madrid personality. Before he got to Madrid as a player, Zidane played for only three club sides namely Cannes, Bordeaux, and Juventus. He retired as a silver medalist at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
During Jose Mourinho’s days at Madrid, an appeal was made to name Zidane as a special adviser to Real Madrid’s first team so that he could work more closely with the team. It was from that time he began to travel with the team for Champions League events and also take part in pre-match gatherings.
Real Madrid announced Zidane as the new manager for the club’s team B (Real Madrid Castilla). He remained the manager despite not having the necessary coaching badges. He assumed the coaching role of Real Madrid’s first team in 2016 following the dismissal of Rafael Benitez.
In the same season, he led the Los Blancos to the UEFA Champions League glory. This he did for three straight years and also the league win in his final season before announcing his resignation as Real Madrid manager, citing the club’s need for change as his rationale for departing.
After his departure, Julien Lopetegui was brought in as Zidane’s replacement but under him, the club endured some rough patches for a couple of months culminating in elimination from the Copa del Rey’s semi-final stage at home to Barcelona, and an unexpected home 4–1 defeat to Ajax in the Champions League.
This necessitated the return of Zidane to Madrid in March 2019 and he’s stayed on since then. Zidane has won La Liga for the second time in his managerial career after his return.
2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick
Hansi Flick awesome reign with the Bavarian giant is gradually winding down, as it’s looking likely that he may not further manage the Die Roten next season.
Bayern Munich’s quest to win the Champions League consecutively came to end on Tuesday night, via the UEFA’s away goal rules having lost the first leg at home to Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-finals despite being the better side at home.
The Bavarian giant will now focus on league duty and they’re no doubt the team in pole position to win the Bundesliga, as the 2020-21 campaign is gradually coasting home with fewer games left to be played. In that regard, there is a great need for Die Roten to start preparing for next season administration and coaching wise.
The friction relationship between Hansi Flick and the Sports Director has broken down to such as extent that the manager has decided to terminate his current contract.
Hansi Flick sent shock waves through German football on Saturday after a 3-2 win over Wolfburg which keeps the Bavarian in pole position to retain the league title. Hansi Flick issued a statement about his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.
“I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season.
“It was important to me that the team learn this from me because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.
“We’ve done a great job together for almost two years. I’m absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude.”
He added: “I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.
“This decision was not easy for me. I’m a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.
“I’m eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here.”
It’s quite evident that a new manager would be appointed to pave way for a new rebuild of the team especially with the looming departure of David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez.
Two potential top managers that could succeed Hansi Flick, should he accept Die Mannschaft managerial position.
- Julien Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig)
Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement to succeed not one but many managers in Europe’s top-flight leagues whose future with their respective clubs are not guaranteed. This time around, the 33-year-old has been rumoured to be one of the possible potential managers to succeed Hansi Flick.
It could be argued that Nagelsmann is the tailor-made manager to take over the reins at the Allianz Arena, and there is no doubt RB Leipzig manager would certainly harbour the dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Nagelsmann is presently focusing on the job at hand with RB Leipzig, plus the fact that he’s still under contract with his employers until the end of the 2022-23 season.
With RB Leipzig and Nagelsmann flying high in the Bundesliga in terms of team performances, with next season European football spot already secured, the club’s Executive Director Oliver Mintzlaff may consider letting him leave to join their rival.
However, it’s left to be seen how things would shape up at the end of the campaign.
READ ALSO: 10 Managers Currently Managing Former Clubs
- Jurgen Klopp – (Liverpool)
The relationship the German tactician has achieved thus far with Liverpool started in 2015 when he joined the Kop from Borussia Dortmund, since then he has achieved quite an incredible success with the Reds winning their first league title after thirty years and a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool were eliminated early in both domestic cup competitions and failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and it’s quite impossible to say that the Kop will defend their title with their current epileptic form in the Premier League especially when it’s looking done and dusted that the cityzen would clinch the title.
Having used close to six years with Liverpool since he joined the Anfield side, this could be the perfect time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to take up a new challenge. However, despite Liverpool’s unpalatable 2020-21 campaign, the German has often reiterated that he is in no way finished at Liverpool, despite been link to the Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft managerial position.
Given his incredible success with BVB, it’s quite evident that he would one day go on to manage either Die Roten or Die Mannschaft. Should Bayern secure the service of Klopp, he would certainly be the right and wise choice for the Bavarian giant.
At the end of the campaign, there would be a breath of fresh air in the Bavarian giant camp, with the new CEO Oliver Kahn taking the mantle of leadership from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In that sense, it’s left to be seen if the incoming leader would sanction the appointment of a new manager or stick with Hansi Flick. Only time would tell.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.