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Top 5 Managers Who Returned to Their Ex-clubs

  • Some managers return to their previous clubs for a second time
  • Zidane and Mourinho both won titles with their clubs both occasions
  • Jupp Heynckes returned to Bayern Munich three times
top 5 managers who returned to their ex-clubs

The life of a football manager is not easy today, anyone can get fired easily after a few poor results. But sometimes managers can return to their previous clubs even though they were sacked before. Either to relieve their former successes or just to be at their loved club again. These are the top 5 managers who returned to their ex-clubs. 

Hungarian coach Pal Dardai has returned to his former club, Hertha BSC after his previous time at the club between 2015 and 2019. He is a legend at the German club after playing more than 10 years in Berlin. With his 286 Bundesliga appearances he is still the most capped player of the club. After retiring Dardai stayed at Hertha and became head coach in 2015. Under his management the team escaped relegation and reached their best result with a 6th place in the 2016-17 season. Dardai left the club in 2019, but since then the team has been only struggling. Last week their fourth manager, Bruno Labbadia was sacked and Dardai was re-appointed. His example is not the only one, with several clubs turning to their previous managers in case of bad performance. You can read about Premier League managers in danger of being sacked in our preview. 

Top 5 managers who returned to their ex-clubs

1. Zinedine Zidane

top 5 managers who returned to their ex-clubs
Zidane – Антон Зайцев, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

The French legend became the manager of Real Madrid first time in the beginning of 2016 after a relatively small experience as a manager. He achieved great success soon after the team won the Champions League in the 2015-16 season.  In his first full season Zidane led the team to La Liga victory and to another Champions League trophy. Real became the first club to win back-to-back titles and it wasn’t the end. As they managed to win it for a third time as well in 2018. Making Zidane the first manager to win the trophy in three consecutive years.

But at the end of that season Zidane left the club to take some time out. His break wasn’t too long though as the Blancos called him back in 2019. He took over the manager position from his former teammate, Santiago Solari who spent less than 6 months at the club. With Zizu the team got back to form and won the La Liga. This season Real had a few sudden losses like their defeats from Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. They are currently second in the league seven points behind Atletico Madrid who are favored to win this time by online sportsbooks in Spain.

2. Jose Mourinho

The famous Portuguese manager, Jose Mourinho joined Chelsea in 2004 after winning his first Champions League title with Porto. In London he managed to build a great team with players like Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho who were all signed upon his request. They were joined by Frank Lampard, John Terry and Joe Cole and helped the Blues and Mourinho to win their first Premier League title. The team  defended its title in the next season but the atmosphere became worse in 2007 when Mourinho left by mutual consent.

But in 2013 he was back and the club started to perform well again. Chelsea finished third in his first season and won the Premier League in the following year. But in the next season everything went bad and Mourinho left the club before the end of 2015. The team was only in 16th place, one point above relegation. It was a sudden decline in form due to some new tension between Mourinho and the players.

3. Fabio Capello

top 5 managers who returned to their ex-clubs
Fabio Capello – Steindy (talk) 13:42, 18 November 2014 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Going back to Real, we have Fabio Capello in the top 5 managers who returned to their ex-clubs. The Italian had his first spell in 1997 when he won the league with the club by two points ahead of Barcelona. He fell out with the club’s chairman and moved back to his former club, AC Milan. But Capello didn’t last long there either and joined Roma and Juventus after. In 2006 he became Real’s manager again after the club’s longest spell without a trophy. Even though fans didn’t like him too much due to his defensive tactics, the team won La Liga at the end of the season. But Capello couldn’t stay any longer as his mentality was far from the club’s preferred style.

4. Louis Van Gaal

We have to mention a returning manager of the big rivals, FC Barcelona as well, Louis Van Gaal. Just like Capello, the Dutch didn’t become the fans’ favorite. Even though the club won titles in his first spell between 1997-2000. He had arguments with the players and the media, and decided to leave in his third season. Then Van Gaal returned back in 2012 but his second time was even shorter.

The team was very inconsistent in the season while the new signings like Mendieta and Riquelme didn’t work out. Van Gaal also released Rivaldo who he had arguments with in his previous years. Ironically the Brazil forward won the Champions League with his new team, AC Milan in that season while Van Gaal was sacked again. Now his compatriot, Ronald Koeman manages the team with a long history of great Dutch managersOnline gambling sites in Spain only offer the odds of 9.00 for their La Liga victory.

5. Jupp Heynckes

It’s not easy to stay long at a huge club even though some Premier League managers managed to do it. Jupp Heynckes worked though at Bayern on four different occasions. In his first time between 1987-1991 he won back-to-back titles. But in the 1991-92  season the team was struggling and only won four out of their 12 games. Heynckes was sacked in October, which was the biggest mistake in Uli Hoeness’ career according to his confession. 20 years later the German manager returned to the club and won the Treble in his second season. But in spite of all these great results, Heynckes decided to retire in 2013. He changed his mind one more time in 2017 when he became Bayern’s manager for the 4th time. In his last season he won his 4th Bundesliga title with the club, ending his career on the top.

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