5 club legends who have taken up challenging managerial roles
Players and managers come and go but there are some club legends who have entertained the world with their quality on the field and are now managing the clubs, some managing the ones who they once played for
Let’s have a look at some of the most loved club legends of the past who are now trying their potential as managers. (There is no ranking, the numbers are only for counting purposes.
#5 Club Legends turned Managers - Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry being one of the iconic club legends for the Gunners began coaching the Arsenal’s youth team in 2015 and he had a vital role in developing certain players at the club. Ex-Arsenal and current Everton player Alex Iwobi is one of them. In 2016, Henry clinched a spot in the Belgium national team as the second-assistant coach alongside Roberto Martinez and another member of staff Graeme Jones.
He managed to gain respect from the likes of Romelu Lukaku who claimed that Henry’s skills and guidance are the best things that have happened to him since his arrival. The 2018 World Cup saw Belgium succumbing to his own nation France 1-0, leading to Belgium winning the Bronze medal after defeating England 2-0 in the battle for the third spot.
Due to Jones’ departure from the national team, the Frenchman was promoted as the Belgium assistant coach. However, Henry found the role as the head coach of his former club Monaco enticing in October.
Despite making several signings, one of them being his former team-mate Cesc Fabregas, Henry couldn’t help Moncao move forward, and therefore, he was sacked as Monaco stood 19th in the table after 20 games.
In 2019 in November, he signed for MLS side Montreal Impact which ties him up with the club until the end of the 2021 season, with an option to extend by a year.
#4 Club Legends turned Managers - Andrea Pirlo
Just a year and a half ago, Andrea Pirlo acquired a UEFA Pro License course at Coverciano. Following that on July 30, 2020, the midfield maestro was appointed as the head coach of Serie C club Juventus U23, the reserve side of his former club. After a period of only nine days, he was given the charge of the first tea due to Maurizio Sarri’s sacking.
Juventus are one of the only two teams in Europe’s top five leagues to be unbeaten until now. The Scudetto race is on with the Rossoneri, AC Milan being the other undefeated team in exceptional form.
Pirlo has made sure that the team does well creativity-wise using a lot of his inputs while the rest is handled by the club’s new signings and Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata upfront.
#3 Club Legends turned Managers - Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard is in the second season of his managerial career in the Premier League. However, his journey as a manager commenced in 2018, when he was appointed as manager of Championship side Derby County on a three-year contract.
Talking about some of his achievements with Derby, they were successful in knocking out Manchester United in the EFL Cup on penalties, when the Red Devils were under Mourinho.
Derby lost the playoffs final against Aston Villa and were denied entry to the Premier League but Frank Lampard was lucky to grab a vacant head coach job at Chelsea following Maurizio Sarri’s departure.
On July 4, 2019, Lampard took over as the Chelsea boss and managed to finish fourth with Chelsea in the 2019-20 season. The midfielder during his days is showing great signs as a manager and with time it is expected that he will help Chelsea achieve some major honors.
#2 Club Legends turned Managers - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
As far as the current Manchester United boss is concerned, he has been in the managing department from the day he retired from professional football as a player. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been part of several title-winning teams at Manchester United and is one of the most loved club legends at the club.
To begin with, he assisted Sir Alex Ferguson as the striker’s coach for the remainder of the 2007-08 season. He then became the full-time reserve team manager for the Red Devils and won the 2007-08 Lancashire Senior Cup by defeating Liverpool Reserves 3-2in the final.
The Norwegian was offered the job as the national team coach too but he declined, claiming that it is not the right time. He signed for the club he played for before Manchester United, Molde on a four-year contract. He managed Cardiff City too in 2014, while he rejected an offer from Aston Villa due to personal reasons.
While he returned to Molde and continues as their manager, he was then called by Manchester United to replace Jose Mourinho who was sacked for the rest of the 2018/19 season. As things stand, Manchester United are in a better position than they were a season back but they still need some silverware to regain the dominance they once had.
#3 Club Legends turned Managers - Zinedine Zidane
In 2010, on a special request made by the then-Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, Zinedine Zidane (one of the club legends at Madrid) was appointed as a special adviser to the first team. In this role, the Frenchman was expected to work closely with the team, take part in sessions, and also with meetings with the head coach. July 2011 saw Zidane becoming Real Madrid’s new sporting director.
In Carlo Ancelotti’s time with the Los Blancos, Zidane was roped in as the assistant coach. Just a year later, the Frenchman was appointed the coach of Real Madrid’s B team, Real Madrid Castilla. Finally, in the year 2016, he was promoted as the first-team manager of Real Madrid after Rafael Benitez’s dismissal. Under Zidane, Real Madrid managed to win three Champions League titles in succession.
Zidane also broke Luis Enrique’s Barcelona’s record of winning 40 matches consecutively without a loss, surpassing Barcelona’s 39 which was also ended by Zidane’s Madrid in his first El Clasico as the Real Madrid boss.
With Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure after the 2017/18 season, Zidane left Madrid too but following a dismal 2018/19 season, Zidane returned to Madrid in March 2019. Showing immediate impact, Real Madrid won the La Liga in 2020 but their dream to win their 14th UCL is still far ahead of them.