There's a popular saying that great footballers don't necessarily make great managers. People who propagate this belief have probably forgotten that some of the best managers in the world right now also had successful playing careers. One such example is Pep Guardiola.
The Spaniard enjoyed a spectacular career as a Barcelona player during the 90s. He won an impressive 16 trophies with the Blaugrana between 1991 and 2001 before returning to manage the club in 2008, overseeing another trophy-laden spell.
In the last decade, many football legends have followed in Guardiola's footsteps by returning to manage their former clubs. While some have quickly inked their names into the history books with their tremendous success, others are still building their legacies.
On that note, here's a look at five legends who came back to manage their former clubs:
#5 Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane's name always surfaces whenever the greatest footballers in history get discussed. The Frenchman won all there's to win in the game: the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, European Championship, and many more.
Zidane is best remembered for his time at Real Madrid, where he bagged an impressive 49 goals and 68 assists in 227 games between 2001 and 2006. After hanging his boots, the Frenchman ventured into management, and was appointed Los Blancos manager midway through the 2015-16 campaign.
The 49-year-old made history by winning three consecutive Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018. He also delivered two La Liga titles, two Spanish Super Cups, two Club World Cups and two UEFA Super Cups across two spells at the Santiago Bernabeu.
#4 Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard enjoyed a decorated spell at Chelsea, claiming several trophies. That includes one Champions League, three Premier League and four FA Cups. The Englishman took to management in 2017, and was quick to get a head coach job when Championship side Derby County gave him the nod in 2018.
A decent performance with the Rams brought Lampard to Chelsea's attention. He was then granted the opportunity to manage the club ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. The Englishman did a great job, unleashing spectacular young talents like Mason Mount, Reece James and Billy Gilmour.
Lampard was later released in January this year owing to a run of unconvincing results. During his one-and-a-half year spell, the Englishman amassed a record of 44 victories, 25 losses and 15 draws for Chelsea across competitions.
#3 Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo is one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. The Italian had a successful spell during his playing days, bagging 73 goals and 125 assists in 756 games in club football.
He was a huge force to be reckoned with. Even while representing Juventus during the twilight of his career, the legendary midfielder managed to capture the attention of the football world.
After calling time on his playing career, Pirlo returned to manage Juventus' U23 team in the summer of 2020. He was promoted to coach the senior team in less than two weeks, and had a decent stint for a fresher.
The tactician ran the affairs of the team for just one season, claiming both the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup. Overall, he was in charge of the club in 52 games, which produced 34 victories, ten draws and eight defeats.
However, under Pirlo, Juventus failed to win the Serie A title for the first time in a decade, leading to him getting relieved of his job.
#2 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed Manchester United's caretaker manager shortly after the dismissal of Jose Mourinho in December 2018. A couple of convincing results earned the Norwegian the coaching job on a full-time basis after three months.
So far, Solskjaer has guided The Red Devils to 92 victories, 35 draws and 39 assists in 166 games across competitions. This season has proven to be quite tough for the tactician, though. But he still has the backing of the club, partly because of his status as a Manchester United legend.
The Norwegian was a huge force to be reckoned with during his days as a Manchester United player. He bagged 126 goals and 50 assists for the club between 1996 and 2007, winning several trophies. That included six Premier League titles and one Champions League crown.
#1 Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez is the latest football legend to be appointed as manager of his former club. The Spaniard has been given the nod to coach Barcelona following the expected sacking of Ronald Koeman last month.
Many expect the Blaugrana to return to their famous possession-based and pro-attacking system under the Spaniard. Xavi was a master of the art during his days in the Blaugrana midfield.
The Spaniard enjoyed a highly successful outing at Camp Nou, bagging 85 goals and 185 assists in 767 appearances. He also helped the club claim multiple honours, including four Champions League crowns, eight La Liga titles, eight Spanish Super Cups, and many more.