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Flores, Zidane & managers who returned to football clubs they left

8:12 AM EDT 9/11/19
Zinedine Zidane Quique Sanchez Flores Jose Mourinho
It's often said that heroes should never go back to their former clubs - here's a list of 15 who have, with mixed results

  • Quique Sanchez Flores Atletico Madrid Espanyol LaLiga 03122016

    Quique Sanchez Flores (Watford)

    The Spaniard spent just one year in charge of Watford, in which the club was relatively successful.

    The 2015-16 season saw the Hornets secure comfortable survival in the Premier League, while they made waves in the FA Cup reaching the semi-final.

    He was still jettisoned at the end of the campaign but returned earlier this week following the sacking of Javi Gracia. In the interim, Flores has sent time with Espanyol and Shanghai Shenhua.

  • Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid

    Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

    Perhaps the best example of a coach returning to his former club is Zinedine Zidane, who stunned the footballing world when he announced his decision to stand down as Real Madrid boss after a third successive Champions League title.

    He was back in the hotseat less than a year later as both Julen Lopetegui and Santi Solari flopped in the job.

  • Eddie Howe Bournemouth Sunderland Premier League 19092015

    Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)

    The fresh-faced Bournemouth boss may only be 41 – and it may seem like he has been in his job forever – but this is actually his second spell in charge of the Cherries.

    Initially, he took over in 2008, departing to Burnley with the south coast side still in League One. Barely 18 months later, he returned to the club, spearheading an improbable rise to the Premier League, where they are now firmly established.

  • Leonardo Jardim Monaco PSG Trophee des Champions 29072017

    Leonardo Jardim (Monaco)

    Monaco’s disastrous start to the 2018-19 season saw the axe quickly fall on Leonardo Jardim, who had led the team previously to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

    Thierry Henry took over from him but a disastrous spell saw France’s record scorer ditched and Jardim ushered quickly back in a matter of weeks after he had left the post.

  • Cesc Fabregas Jose Mourinho Chelsea

    Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)

    Even at the peak of his powers, Mourinho was not someone who typically hung around clubs long. Indeed, his first spell at Chelsea, which lasted three years and three months, is the longest he has ever managed.

    After being sacked following a poor start to the 2006-07 season, he had success at both Inter and Real Madrid before returning to Stamford Bridge in June 2013 for another two-year stint.

  • Matt Busby

    Matt Busby (Manchester United)

    Behind on Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United’s greatest ever manager, the Scot spent 24 years in charge of the Old Trafford club in the post-war period, finally standing down in 1969 having led the Red Devils to the European Cup.

    He might not technically have left the club, becoming a director upon retirement, but he would spend six months as manager again in the 1970-71 campaign.

  • Kenny Dalglish Liverpool

    Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)

    Liverpool were at a low ebb when they sacked Roy Hodgson in January 2011 and as a remedy they hoped ‘King Kenny’ was the answer.

    Having led the Reds during a dominant period in the 1980s, the Scotland great came with a huge reputation but failed to live up to it as he spent a mediocre 18 months back in the Anfield dugout before making way for Brendan Rodgers in June 2012.

  • Helenio Herrera - Barcelona, Atletico Madrid

    Helenio Herrera (Barcelona)

    The man credited with the invention of Catenaccio – the antithesis of the tiki-taka brand that the club has subsequently become famous for – spent two different spells in charge of Barcelona.

    Between 1958 and 1960, his first stint, his Barca sides suffered only nine defeats, while he returned in 1979 to finish his coaching career, which had been interrupted by a serious heart attack. He also had two spells in charge of Inter.

  • Fabio Capello Real Madrid

    Fabio Capello (Real Madrid)

    Appointed as Los Blancos’ boss in 1996, the Italian arrived with a reputation for negative football but led the club to the Spanish title by the end of the season.

    It was not, however, enough to save his job, with a fall out with the board and his audacity to push golden boy Raul to the wing justification for his departure.

    History repeated itself a decade later, when he returned to the Bernabeu. Again he left after a single season in which he had won the title, ostensibly because of his pragmatic style.

  • Fabio Capello Milan 1994

    Fabio Capello (AC Milan)

    Capello’s reputation had largely been built around his success with AC Milan in the early part of the 1990s, with the San Siro outfit Europe’s dominant team, based around one of the all-time great defensive lines.

    He left the Rossoneri for Madrid in 1996 only to return 12 months later. It proved wholly unsuccessful as the team needed to be rebuilt and finished a disappointing 10th in Serie A, despite winning the Coppa Italia. He left after a single year.

  • Jupp Heynckes Bayern Munich

    Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich)

    Excluding a brief spell as caretaker in 2009, Heynckes has spent three separate spells in charge of Germany’s biggest club, spanning from 1987 and running through until 2018.

    He won two Bundesliga titles in his first stint in charge, which lasted four years, but it was the run from 2011-13 that allowed him to win a Champions League title.

    Subsequently returned for a brief spell in 2017-18 following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, but despite pleas from Uli Hoeness retired at the end of the campaign.

  • Claudio Ranieri Inter Roma Serie A

    Claudio Ranieri (Valencia)

    Ranieri will forever be associated with the Leicester side that won the Premier League title in 2016, but he was a highly successful coach long before then, having particularly won the affection of Valencia, where he took to the dugout between 1997-99 and then again in the 2004-05 season.

    If he left after his first stint a popular man, he lasted barely six months in his second before being sacked.

  • Former Juventus coach Marcello Lippi

    Marcello Lippi (Juventus)

    The China boss is well travelled throughout his career, having almost 20 years coaching experience behind him in Italy.

    Eight of these years were spent in charge of Juve in two different spells and both proved to be highly successful.

    It was his first burst, from 1994-99 that saw Juve conquer Europe as they won the 1996 Champions League, though in his second stint, which ran from 2001-04, Lippi was still a two-time Serie A winner.

    He has also managed Italy in two different periods.

  • Giovanni Trapattoni Juventus

    Giovanni Trapattoni (Juventus)

    A 10-year stint in charge of Juventus from 1976-1986 brought incredible success for the Turin club, with Trapattoni scooping every available European trophy as well as six Serie A crowns and a couple of Coppas Italia thrown in for good measure.

    His second stint arrived in the early 90s, when the great AC Milan were at their peak, and Juve were only able to plunder the 1993 UEFA Cup.

  • Neil Lennon Celtic 2018-19

    Neil Lennon (Celtic)

    The Irishman first went into management with Celtic in the 2010 season but left four years later for the lure of England.

    A move to Bolton proved to be ill-timed and damaged his reputation, but he has subsequently returned to Parkhead, where he guided the team to the treble-treble last season following the shock departure of Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool.