Big name players who have become coaches

Serie ‘A’ giants, Juventus, announced their former player, Andrea Pirlo as the head coach yesterday. However, this is not the first time a retired player will be going back to his former club to manage it.

When players drop the jerseys and pick the tactics book to coach teams they once played for, fans cheer on hoping they deliver magic like they have always been doing.

Whilst some coaches are an instant hit at their clubs, others bite the dust very early in the day.

Not all were heroes during their playing days but once they turned coaches, they found their true calling. Jose Mourinho is a classic example.

Here are 5 coaches who once played for the clubs they now coach:

Mikel Arteta

When the former Arsenal captain took over from Unai Emery in 2019, football experts called it a huge gamble. His only experience in the coaching business was being Pep Guardiola’s assistant manager at Manchester City.

In his first season as Arsenal’s manger, he triumphed over the top 4 clubs smoothly. Unfortunately for Arteta, he ended the Premier League season in 8th place, the worst of Arsenal’s finishes in recent years.

Arteta still had the opportunity to raise his head high amongst A-List coaches and he did just that when he beat his former boss, Pep Guardiola in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. In the finals, the Gunners won 2-1 against Chelsea to lift their 14th FA Cup. He is the first person to win the trophy as a captain and a manger.

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Frank Lampard

In 2018, Frank Lampard was given his first managerial role as Derby County’ manager. He was far from an instant hit. He led the club to a Championship play-off as they finished in 6th place. They eventually got to the play-offs finals only to lose 2-1 to Aston Villa.

When his former club Chelsea was without a manager as Maurizio Sarri left the club to coach Juventus, he became heavily linked to the club.

On July 4 2019, Frank Lampard was named as the new Chelsea manager. The Blue family was ecstatic. Their former hero was here to win them trophies. However, Lampard did not have it easy. He was about to coach a team who had a transfer ban; they had just lost their star player, Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and had an inexperienced youth at his disposal. Common sense would tell him to run but he stayed perhaps to show his love for the club he once played for. He did an incredible job by leading the team to 4th place in the just ended 2019/20 Premier League and a 1st place runner-up in the FA Cup.

He walks into the next season with new players at his disposal and a chance to rebuild his team. For sure, there is a chance for the Chelsea legend to do more.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

In 11 years as a Manchester United player, Solskjaer was destined for greatness. After he retired as a player, he gathered experience from coaching Molde, Cardiff City and the Manchester United reserves team.

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After Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United, the Red Devils were struggling to find a replacement who would glitter the Premier League like Ferguson did but to no avail. From one failed campaign to another, United decided to hand over the managerial role to the club legend Solskjaer. Though it was not on permanent basis, he would go on to impress and be given the role permanently.

In the 2019/20 season, just before the league was put on a break due to the Coronavirus pandemic, United fans were calling for him to be sacked; the team was performing abysmally. But by the end of the season, it was all joy when the team ended the campaign in 3rd place.

As to whether he will last at United as long as Sir Alex Ferguson did, it solely depends on him.

Hans-Dieter Flick

The 55-year-old’s coaching career begun as far back as 1996 in charge of Viktoria Bammental. It is evident that he has gathered enough coaching experience throughout his career. Currently, he is the coach of Bundesliga side, Bayern Munich where he once played for 5 years.

When his boss Niko Kovac left Bayern Munich by mutual consent, he was made interim coach. He would go on to be the main coach in April, 2020.

He’s done the magic the fans hoped for by winning the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal trophy. All looks bright for him as football experts have tipped him as favourite to win the Champions League this season.

Zinedine Zidane

The Ex-Real Madrid player is the epitome of greatness. No one does it better than Zidane. He is one of few people in the world who can boast of being a spectacular player and a coach.

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Since he was appointed Real Madrid coach in 2016, it has been trophy galore for the Spanish club as he has won a staggering 11.

He won the UEFA Champions League back-to-back 3 times, an incredible feat.

On May 31, 2018, after helping the La Liga club to become prominent than ever before, he left when the applauds was loudest saying the club needed a change.

Real Madrid was not the same again and had to get him back.

In 2019, he was welcomed once again and straightway won the La Liga.

With a long list of individual awards to his name, the 1998 Ballon D’or winner has become the most important part of the Madrid story in the last half decade.

By Sakyibea Ofori