The Latest Club Legends to Benefit From Teams Hiring With Nostalgia Goggles On

Who doesn't love a familiar face returning to finish the job at a club where they spent some of their playing career?

It seems like Football Manager's having more of an influence on Europe's biggest clubs than ever, with the game's habit of flinging clubs' ex-players back at them as managers being adopted across the top of the board of late. Zinedine Zidane's been the most successful, but he's far from the only one.

Need convincing? Look no further.

1. Ronald Koeman - FC Barcelona

Oh. Yeah. The obvious one. The former defender spent six years of his playing career at Camp Nou, representing the club from 1989-95.

Koeman scored 67 times in 192 La Liga appearances – from centre-back, mind you – and none were more important than the one at Wembley in the 112th minute of the European Cup final to seal the club's first ever top continental final.

The Dutchman left his role as manager of the Netherlands national team this week, and now joins Barça on a two-year deal to replace departing manager Quique Setien.

As much as Koeman is 'the obvious one', he's different to the rest of the names we're about to discuss, because while he's arguably not among the 'top managers' in world football, he has a long CV.

He's managed all of the Netherlands' big three and their national team, won the Eredivisie three times and the Copa del Rey once (admittedly in an otherwise disastrous season at Valencia), and took Southampton to their best ever Premier League points total. Unlike...

2. Frank Lampard - Chelsea

It doesn't get more sentimental than this. After one season at Derby where he failed to get the Rams promoted, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard was offered the head coach role at Stamford Bridge following the departure of Maurizio Sarri.

In his first season in the west London dugout, Lampard has shown Chelsea fans plenty of reasons to be positive going into next season.

A transfer ban meant that his only summer arrival was Christian Pulisic but, despite finishing six points worse off in the league and finishing the season trophyless for the first time since 2016, fans were impressed with...something?

The first rule of running a club. If you bring in someone the fans really like, they're way more likely to be forgiving if they have a bit of an average season...

3. Hansi Flick - Bayern Munich

Hans-Dieter (aka Hansi) Flick replaced Niko Kovak as Bayern Munich boss in November, and...despite having been out of management for 14 years and never managing in the top two divisions, he's flown.

The former midfielder spent three years as a player at Bayern, and most recently inspired his side to an 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final.

He's won 31 of his 34 games since taking over at the Allianz Arena, and hasn't lost since December...eight months and 28 games ago.

4. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - Manchester United

'Ole's at the wheel' is regularly sung by fans inside Old Trafford, with the club proud of their former player now leading the side.

The club haven't been averse to appointing former players in interim roles – look at Ryan Giggs, for example – and Solskjaer was handed the reins (or the driving gloves?) in 2018 when Jose Mourinho left the club, having only managed a (relegated) Cardiff City and home-town club Molde previously.

United hit a run of amazing form under the former striker's leadership, which saw Solskjaer secure the job on a permanent basis...and immediately embark on a run of six wins from 24 games.

5. Mikel Arteta - Arsenal

As Unai Emery was shown the Emirates exit door earlier this season, the club turned to former captain Mikel Arteta to salvage their campaign.

The Spaniard came into the job without having managed a club, but had been Pep Guardiola's assistant manager at Manchester City and – more importantly – also impressed fans with his character in his playing days.

Arteta's Arsenal clinched the FA Cup with a 2-1 win in the final over Chelsea, so...alright? They also finished eighth, but some of that blame (rightly or wrongly) is being laid at Unai Emery's door.

6. Andrea Pirlo - Juventus

This one took many by surprise. Following Maurizio Sarri's departure from Juventus after their shock defeat to Lyon in the Champions League, Mauricio Pochettino and Simone Inzaghi emerged as the early favourites to take the job.

The club instead turned to former midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who had only returned to the club as Under-23 manager nine days previously.

He has absolutely no managerial experience. No idea how that's going to go.

7. Jason Tindall - AFC Bournemouth

A number of names were thrown around when it was announced Eddie Howe would be leaving the Cherries following their relegation from the Premier League.

Chris Hughton? John Terry? Instead, the club turned to Howe's number two, Jason Tindall.

The former defender spent six years as a player with AFC Bournemouth and now is faced with the task of picking the squad off their feet, dusting them off, and setting sights on a return to England's top flight.

He has, at least, managed before. Once. At Weymouth. In the Conference. And was sacked after a year.

Source : 90min