When a player achieves great success at a football club, he or she becomes a legend among the supporters - even if some of them make the ill-advised decision to return as manager in the future. Though it is possible to be successful as both a player and a manager at the same club, such as Pep Guardiola at Barcelona or Carlo Ancelotti at Milan, there is a lengthy list of men who were only granted the position because of their achievements as a player at that club. Manchester United and Arsenal are now suffering in the Premier League as a result of their decisions to hire Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mikel Arteta, respectively.
Both managers were definitely handed opportunities at big teams based solely on their playing history, and the appointments are currently failing to work out. Here are 5 legendary footballers who returned as managers to their club and failed.
Thierry Henry - Monaco (2018-2019)
Thierry Henry returned to a Monaco team that should have been able to challenge for a spot in France's top three but instead found themselves towards the bottom of the table. Henry was unable to help his old team reach its full potential, and his presence merely worsened the situation. His man-management skills were seen as appalling, and his tactical decisions were no better.
A long injury list and a weak transfer market didn't help him, but there was no justification for his dismal form, which peaked when he branded an opponent's grandmother a "whore" during a 5-1 home loss to Strasbourg. With the club in the relegation zone, he was sacked.
Filippo Inzaghi - Milan (2014-2015)
At AC Milan, Seedorf was replaced by Pippo Inzaghi, another legendary player. Superpippo is regarded as one of the best penalty box goal scorers of all time, a six-yard box poacher with over 300 goals in his career. He, like Seedorf, played with Milan from 2002 until 2012, scoring the game-winning double against Liverpool in the 2007 Champions League final. His time as manager at San Siro, on the other hand, was far less fruitful. He was only in the dugout for one season, winning only 14 of the 40 games he managed as Milan ended 10th.
Frank Lampard - Chelsea (2019-2021)
Frank Lampard was hired as manager of Chelsea in 2019, returning to the club where he excelled as a player after garnering positive reviews at Derby County.
Because Chelsea was under a transfer embargo at the time, his hands were partly tied behind his back, but this allowed him to elevate players like Mason Mount into the starting XI. Unfortunately for the Englishman, a £220 million investment in the summer of 2020 increased the pressure to succeed, and when Chelsea fell to ninth place in the standings in January, Roman Abramovich fired him.
Thomas Tuchel was brought in and was able to win the Champions League.
Andrea Pirlo - Juventus (2020-2021)
Andrea Pirlo was a surprise choice to replace Maurizio Sarri as Juventus coach in the summer of 2020. Pirlo had no coaching experience despite being one of the greatest players of his time and had only been chosen manager of Juve's Primavera youth team a few days before. With Antonio Conte's Inter romping to the Serie A title, Pirlo proved to be a disastrous selection as their nine-year Scudetto record came to an end. Furthermore, Juventus struggled to qualify for the Champions League all season and were knocked out of the 2020/21 edition in the first knockout round by Porto in the last 16, forcing Pirlo's dismissal after only one season.
Ronald Koeman - Barcelona (2020-?)
Ronald Koeman's position as FC Barcelona's head coach appears to be gone following yet another terrible result, this time a humiliating 3-0 defeat away at Benfica in the Champions League. Barcelona have lost to Benfica and Bayern Munich this season while drawing with Granada, Athletic Bilbao, and Cadiz. The departure of Lionel Messi is undoubtedly a big factor in the drop in quality, and the status of Barcelona as a whole is surely not Koeman's fault. However, his on-field results are poor, and he has a poor relationship with president Joan Laporta.
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