Top 10 Players who went on to successfully manage their former team

Manchester United have put to bed all speculation surrounding their vacant managerial hot seat by appointing interim manager and former goal-scoring hero Ole Gunnar Solskajaer as the club’s new boss.

The once Cardiff and Malmӧ manager signed a three-year deal which will keep him at the club until at least 2022. The “baby faced assassin” joins an exclusive list of players who have gone on to manage a club for which they played in the past. Below, we look at the top 10 most successful stints: (in no particular order)

1) Zinedine Zidane | Real Madrid

After spending less than two years learning the craft in Real Madrid’s youth sector, Zinedine Zidane was entrusted with the most sought after job in world football following the dismissal of Rafa Benitez. The Frenchman did not disappoint. He led Los Blancos to three consecutive Champions League titles before stepping down in the summer of 2018. He is now back at the helm following a disastrous spell by former teammate Santiago Solari.

2) Antonio Conte | Juventus

Captain, leader, legend, manager. Antonio Conte is Juventus through and through. The Italian tactician won five Serie A titles, four Italian Super Cups, and a Champions League title as a player before becoming the club’s manager in 2011. During his three year spell with the Bianconeri, he guided the team to three successive Serie A titles. In his first year, Conte’s Juventus went a whole Serie A season without suffering a defeat becoming only the second Italian team to achieve this impressive feat.

3) Johan Cruyff | Ajax & Barcelona

The late and great Johan Cruyff enjoyed massive success both on and off the pitch. The Dutch legend not only dominated on the pitch but also revolutionised the game away from it. His style of play is still adopted by many managers today. Aside from winning multiple titles with Ajax and Barcelona, he also founded the prestigious La Masia academy which produced players such as Leo Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

4) Pep Guardiola | Barcelona

The Spanish manager is the most in-demand manager in football for a reason. Pep has won titles and dominated leagues wherever he has gone. His legacy started in 2008 when he took over the managerial seat at Barcelona. In four years he led Barcelona to fourteen titles, including three La Liga’s and two Champions Leagues. His Barcelona team is often regarded as one of the best ever teams to dominate football.

5) Diego Simeone | Atletico Madrid

Since taking over at Atlético Madrid, Diego Simeone has totally transformed the team’s fortunes. In 2013/2014, he ended Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s chokehold on the La Liga title by pipping the two giants to the title. He also turned Los Colchoneros into a European force, winning two Europa League titles and reaching two Champions League finals.

6) Carlo Ancelotti | AC Milan

Before managing Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munchen and now Napoli, Ancelotti made a name for himself at AC Milan, the club he represented as a player for many years. During his eight years with the Rossoneri, he won eight trophies including two Champions League titles.

7) Sir Kenny Daglish | Liverpool & Celtic

Just like Johan Cruyff, Kenny Daglish also enjoyed success on and off the pitch with two of his former clubs. Sir Kenny started his career as a manager while he was still playing, taking on the role of a player-manager in 1985. In 1990, he won his third and Liverpool’s eighteenth and final league title to date. In 2000, he was appointed Celtic’s caretaker manager where he won the Scottish League Cup.

8) Vicente Del Bosque | Real Madrid

There must be something in the water in Madrid. Way before Zinedine Zidane took over at Real Madrid, it was a certain Vicente del Bosque who was the talk of the town. During his playing days, the Spanish man made over 400 appearances for Los Blancos but it’s his time on the sidelines which makes him a football God. After winning nine trophies in 4 years with Real Madrid, Del Bosque led Spain to the 2010 World Cup before winning the European Championships two years later.

9) Bob Paisley | Liverpool

Replacing Bill Shankly was never going to be easy, but Liverpool got lucky when their former player and once Shankly’s right-hand man, made himself available. The legendary Englishman spent nine years with The Reds, winning an impressive 20 trophies including three of the five coveted European trophies won by Liverpool and six league titles.

10) Luis Enrique | Barcelona

In 1996 Luis Enrique had a very big decision to make. Stay with boyhood club Real Madrid or start a new chapter with eternal rivals Barcelona. The fearless Spaniard chose the latter. During his eight-year stay with Los Cules, he captained the team to a number of major honours and scored some memorable goals including a 25 yarder against his former employers. In 2014, he returned to the Nou Camp, this time as the clubs manager. His time as a boss was as memorable as his time as a player. In three years he won an impressive nine trophies. Nonetheless, he will forever be remembered for masterminding Barcelona’s 6–1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

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