The zenith of club football is no doubt the UEFA Champions league, which involves the fiercest battle between the biggest clubs in the world of football, their players, and coaches. To win the competition is no mean feat, and all through the history of the legendary European Cup, and later the Champions League, there are only seven men that have won the competition both as a player and a manager, and this article is to appreciate such men.
Some of these world class sides that these footballers/managers have played for became the product of imagination for numerous fans of the beautiful game, across the world. Netent games online, such as slots like Football: Champions Cup and others, have been highly inspired by some of the teams on this list.
Now, it’s good for us to note that the fact that you are a great player doesn’t mean that you will make it big as a manager. However, in this list, we will see men that have defied the odds and have achieved success both as players and managers.
- Miguel Muñoz
It was in the 1950s that Real Madrid started its love affair with the European cup, as soon as it was created. History has it that the club lifted the first five editions of the tournament after its formation, and this made them the finest footballing house in the continent at that time.
One of the men that were instrumental to this victory is Miguel Muñoz. He was the midfielder that captained the team to victory in the first two editions of the cup, after which he retired from football. However, he became a coach after that, and was made the manager of Real Madrid in 1959. He spent 14 years with the club and became the clubs most successful coach. Under him, the club won nine league titles and two European cup trophies in 1960 and 1966. This made him the first man to ever win the competition as a player and a coach.
- Giovanni Trapattoni
It was after 20 years that another coach achieved Munoz’s feat by winning the competition as a player and coach, and that was Trapattoni. The Italian was part of the squad that won AC Milan the first two of their seven European cup trophies in 1963 and 1969 against Benfica and Ajax respectively.
He later became the manager of Ac Milan after his retirement in 1971, with spells at Juventus, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich. While in his second spell at Juventus as a manager, he lifted the European cup after defeating Liverpool in the finals in 1985 – a match where the Heysel stadium disaster took place.
- Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff used to be the biggest inspiration behind the Ajax football squad that gave the world the ‘total football’ style of play that captivated football lovers across the globe around the 1970s. During his playing days, he led the club to three consecutive European cups, and was named the winner of the Ballon D’or on the three occasions.
In Ajax’s 2-0 win against Inter Milan in 1972 to clinch the European cup, he scored the two goals. He later left Ajax for Barcelona. However, while in Barcelona as a manager later, he led them to their first ever European cup. He brought free flowing football to the teams for the first time, and that earned them the nickname, the ‘dream team’. It was in 1992 that they landed the European cup with a 1 – 0 win over Sampdoria, and the goal was scored with a free kick by their current coach, Ronald Koeman.
- Carlo Ancelotti
He is among the only three people that have won the European cup/Champions league up to three times as a manager. Ancelotti stands as the fought person to lift the trophy as a player and manager. Ancelotti stood as one of the most skillful midfielders during his generation. He won the European cup as a manager with AC Milan on two occasions. He claimed the trophy in 1989 and 1990 in a side that had great talents like Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten.
Earlier in his managerial career, he got to the finals with Roma in 1984, but was defeated by Liverpool on penalties, before he went on a successful spell that stood him out as one of the most successful managers of the modern era. During his coaching career, he had the luck to handle teams Like Juventus, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, though he had the best time of his career during a trophy laden eight years at AC Milan, where he played in three champions league finals and won two of those. His third Champions league trophy came as a manager of Real Madrid. He led them to the fabled and iconic ‘La Decima,’ their tenth Champions League trophy.
- Frank Rijkaard
The next in the list is one of the teammates of Carlo Ancelotti in Milan. Frank Rijkaard joined Gullit and Van Basten to form an amazing Dutch filled Rossoneri squad around the late eighties and early nineties.
While he was at the club, he helped them win the Champions league back to back, scoring the winner against Benfica in 1990. However, he later moved to Ajax and won the trophy with them in 1995 when the Dutch side defeated Ac Milan in a game that was Rijkaard’s final before he retired from football.
As a coach, Frank had short spells with the national team of his country and later moved to Sparta Rotterdam. However, in 2003, he was made the manager of Barcelona FC, and he did the great job of bringing back the Catalan side to prominence in the European scene. He practically laid the foundation for the golden period that followed. While at Barcelona, he led them to back to back La Liga titles and their second European cup win, with Julian Belletti scoring the late winner in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal in 2006 in Paris.
- Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers of the modern era. He learnt well under Johan Cruffy during his playing days at Barcelona. He was an avid student of the tactical approach of the legendary Dutchman.
He was among Cruyff’s team that won the first European cup for the Catalan club in 1992. He had a very brilliant career in the club for more than 10 years, during which the team won up to 6 La Liga titles. After his playing career, he took charge of the Barcelona B team, and was later made the successor to Rijkaard. During his reign as manager, the club enjoyed their most successful spell ever. In his first season as the head coach in 2009, the club won a historic treble, consisting of a Champions League, a La Liga and Spanish super cup. Two years after that, they won another European title under him, defeating Manchester United yet again in the finals.
This made him the sixth man to win the trophy as a player and manager. Because of the style of football adopted by his Barcelona side, they are regarded as the greatest football squad of all time by their followers.
- Zinedine Zidane
In his generation, he was regarded as the greatest footballer ever, and as things stand, he may yet be named the greatest football manager of his generation. He has enjoyed great success in his spells as the manager of Real Madrid. While playing, Zidane’s stunning swing of the left foot gave Real Madrid the Champions League in 2002 against Bayer Leverkusen in Scotland.
This was another feat added to his already bright playing career, which included World Cup and European championship successes, coupled with the Ballon D’or trophy. This all showed that the Frenchman is destined to be great in all angles.
After playing, he joined Real Madrid as manager, and in his debut season, he won the Champions League for the club. He went ahead to become the first manager ever in the history of the competition to defend the trophy, and later the first ever manager to win the trophy three consecutive times. Last season was the first time Zidane lost a Champions League knockout tie, and that was against Guadiola’s Manchester City.