Football is one of the most beautiful games of the modern era. Decade after decade, fans all over the world are enthralled by the wonders of football. One of these special wonders is the transformation of former players into coaches. It has always been a common theme in the footballing world. After all, who’s a better tactician than he who’s been on the pitch himself? More thrilling for fans, is to see a successful player go on to achieve more success as coach, for the same club. Here is a list of seven successful football coaches who were previously decorated players of the same club.
While some of these managers also had successes at other clubs, we’d only focus on the accolades they brought to the teams they represented in their playing days.
- Fabio Capello (AC Milan)
As player, Capello represented Milan and Juventus. For the latter, he won one Italian Title and one Cup. As manager, however, Capello shone brightly, leading Milan to win: Champions League; Title (4x); Italian Super Cup (3x); and the UEFA Super Cup.
- Diego Simeone (Atlético Madrid)
Nicknamed “El Cholo” during his playing days, Diego Simeone was an energetic, often box-to-box, midfielder who shone for Atlético Madrid. Though his team struggled in his first season there, he went on to win a domestic double in the second season. But it is Diego’s managerial career for Atlético that would bring more success to the club, and even more touchline antics. As Manager, he won the league title (1x), the Europa League (2x), Spanish Cup (1x), Spanish Super Cup (1x) and the UEFA Super Cup (2x). He was named world’s best coach in the 15/16 season, and was two times Champions League runner-up.
- Zinédine Zidane (Real Madrid)
The ballon d’or winner was one of the finest players the game has seen. His excellent skills were never boring, and with them he’s led Real Madrid to several honours. Zizou is appreciated in Juventus and his National Team, France, as well. But, playing for Madrid, he won the Champions League, One Spanish Title, Two Super Cups, One Intercontinental Cup, and One UEFA Super Cup. He was also FIFA Men’s Best Player. He went on to match this feat in his managerial career, having already led Madrid to three consecutive Champions Leagues, two Titles, two Spanish Super Cups, two Fifa Club World Cups and two UEFA Super Cups. He was crowned World’s best coach on two occasions.
- Bob Paisley (Liverpool)
Bob Paisley played for the Liverpool side that won the league in the 1946–47, for the first time in 24 years. However, Bob Paisley’s glory abounded more during his managerial career. Reluctant to take up the mantle at first, he finally went on to become Liverpool’s best manager ever; even surpassing his predecessor, the iconic Bill Shankly. During Paisley’s reign, three European Cups, six league championships, three League Cups, one UEFA Cup and six Charity Shields were won.
- Johan Cruyff (Ajax/Barcelona)
As a player, Johan Cruyff had more success for Ajax, winning eight Eredivisie titles and three European Champion Clubs’ Cup; also hauling three Ballon D’or in the process. But, he also played for Barcelona winning Spanish Title and Cup. While he coached both teams, he had more impact with Barcelona. He’s won: European Champion Clubs’ Cup; La Liga (4x); Spanish Cup; Spanish Super Cup (3x); UEFA Super Cup. While coaching Ajax, he won two Dutch Cups.
- Josep Guardiola (Barcelona)
As a midfielder, playing with Barcelona, Guardiola won several honours, including 6 league titles, one European Champion Clubs’ Cup, 2 Spanish Cups and 2 UEFA Super Cups. While Guardiola has had huge successes managing Bayern and Manchester City, we’ll here consider his honours with Barcelona: Champions League (2x), La Liga (3x), Spanish Cup (2x), Spanish Super Cup (3x), FIFA Club World Cup (2x), UEFA Super Cup (2x), and he was crowned World’s best coach twice.
- Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan)
Carletto achieved great success as player. He was Italian champion twice with Milan, European Champion twice, an Italian Super Cup winner, Intercontinental Cup Winner, and won the UEFA Super Cup twice. He had a few honours with AS Roma as well. As Manager, Ancelotti success spanned several teams around Europe. However, these are his Milan accolades: Champions League (2x), Italian Champion (1x), Italian Super Cup (1x), FIFA Club World Cup (1x), UEFA Super Cup (2x), World’s best coach (1x). As mentioned earlier, Ancelotti has won a lot as manager, also being one of three managers that have won the Champions League on three occasions. He’s had considerable success in Spain, England, Germany and France as well.
Is there anyone missing from the list that you’d like to add? Name them in the comment section below.