10 greatest managerial comebacks
“At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the supporters and the manager.” – Bill Shankly
Football is generally associated with the players and the action that they bring on the pitch. But most of us fail to notice that the real game is not played on the ground, it is actually played by the gentleman on the touchline. The real game is played in the manager’s mind.
The manager, the captain of the ship. The man who wears a suit and tie, shouts out instructions to his players for 90 minutes and celebrates with them when they score. He always takes the blame for his team's bad performances and is the one who motivates the players with his pep-talks in the dressing room to bring the best out of them.
When he fails to decorate his club with titles, he is ruthlessly sacked from his post. However, sometimes he gets a second chance to re-establish himself at the club and bring glory to it. Here we list ten of the greatest managerial comebacks of all time.
#10 Rafael Benitez (Chelsea)
Rafa Benitez is a manager who is used to making unusual comebacks. Benitez came into the spotlight during his time in Valencia as he led them to their first La Liga title in 31 years. But his fallout with the club director saw him resign and take up the managerial role at Liverpool.
He brought Spaniards Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso to the Merseyside club and led the Reds to their fifth Champions League crown. But after leaving Liverpool following six relatively successful seasons, he failed to live up to expectations with the then European champions Inter Milan and was sacked just months after his appointment.
He returned to England in 2012 and became the head coach of Liverpool’s rivals Chelsea following the departure of Champions League winning manager Roberto Di Matteo. Despite facing constant criticism from the Chelsea fans, he still managed to win the Europa League in his first season following which he left the club in the same year.
After dry spells at Napoli and Real Madrid, Benitez joined relegation-threatened Newcastle United just months after he was sacked from Real. He won the Championship with Newcastle on his first attempt and is all set to lead the Magpies in the Premier League.