By 90Min
March 12, 2019

Few eyebrows are raised in the footballing world when a player returns to a former club, as it is often seen as a homecoming of sorts or a show of real commitment and love for a team.

But in the world of management, things are far less forgiving - with bosses often bearing the brunt of unrealistic board expectations, poor player performances and unrelenting pressure from supporters.

Because of that, you very seldom see a manager return for a second bite at the cherry - unless they are reviving the fortunes of a club they enjoyed great success at. With that, and Zinedine Zidane's return to Real Madrid fresh in the mind, we look at seven bosses who were convinced to give things another go.

Guus Hiddink (Chelsea, PSV & Valencia)

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PSV Eindhoven: (March 1987 - June 1990 & August 2002 - June 2006); Valencia: (July 1991 - November 1993 & March 1994 - June 1994); Chelsea: (February 2009 - May 2009 & December 2015 - May 2016)

The evergreen Dutch boss turned PSV into a giant of European football when he led them to a treble in 1988, a year after winning the league 10 matches into the job. His second spell saw him add three more Eredivisie titles (six in total with the club) as well as earning a Champions League semi-final appearance.

At Valencia, he made no real headway, but his reputation in England was forged during two spells as Chelsea's interim boss. His first one ended with an FA Cup win and a Champions League semi final exit to Barcelona - albeit in controversial circumstances.

Despite pleas for him to stay, Hiddink left Stamford Bridge - only to return six years later to fill the void left by Jose Mourinho. He guided the Blues to a respectable mid table finish, while also preventing rivals Spurs from claiming the title.

Kevin Keegan (Newcastle)

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(February 1992 - January 1997 & January 2008 - September 2008)

'King Kev' took Newcastle United from the depths of the old Football League Division One (now the Championship) into the Premier League, transforming them into title challengers in just a few short years.

After winning the second tier of English football in his first full season, Keegan bought in the likes of Andy Cole and Rob Lee to challenge Manchester United, who had begun to dominate proceedings at the top of the English football pyramid. Despite finishing runners up on two successive occasions, Keegan left St. James' Park a hero, especially after bringing hometown hero Alan Shearer to the club for a record £15m fee.

Upon his return though, all hell broke loose with owner Mike Ashley and he resigned less than a year into the job, although he did secure top flight survival.

Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich)


(July 1987 - October 1991, April 2009 - June 2009, July 2011 - June 2013 & October 2017 - May 2018)

Heynckes' Bavarian love affair started in the late 1980s where he won two Bundesliga titles and reached three European semi finals, only to lose each time to the eventual winners. 

Yet, a poor start to the 1990/91 campaign prompted his dismissal - only for Heynckes to return almost two decades later. He helped turn around Bayern's 2009/10 season by earning Champions League qualification, before taking the job on permanently two years later. A historic treble in 2013 looked like the perfect way to sign off, but he wasn't done just yet.

He returned one final time in October 2017 to steady the Bayern ship once more, winning 22 of his 26 matches in charge to retire with a fourth Bundesliga crown under his belt.

Fabio Capello (Real Madrid)

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(July 1996 - June 1997 & July 2006 - June 2007)


Long before he became public enemy number one among England fans, Fabio Capello was one of the continent's most revered football managers and his success in his native Italy prompted a move to the Bernabeu in 1996. 

He won the league title in that singular season as well as bringing in stars like Roberto Carlos. Inevitably though, the board sacked him due to personal disagreements.

A decade later he was back and charged with the task of ending Los Blancos' four year trophy drought. He succeeded, clinching La Liga on the final day, but his reign was again just that single season, with the club unhappy with his style of play and treatment of the 'Galacticos'.

Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)

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(May 1985 - February 1991 & January 2011 - May 2012)

King Kenny morphed from leader on the pitch to leader on the touchline when he became player-manager in the mid-1980s. 

Dalglish inspired the Reds to three First Division titles and two FA Cups, continuing on the good work established by legendary figures Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly.

With the club in disarray following Roy Hodgson's brief spell in charge 20 years later, Dalglish stepped in to the breach - but unfortunately he was not able to bring the glory days back to Anfield. 

He did win the League Cup (which remains Liverpool's last trophy to date), but his tenure will always be remembered for authorising the signing of Andy Carroll for a jaw dropping £35m.

Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)


(June 2004 - September 2007 & June 2013 - December 2015)

After winning the Champions League with Porto in May 2004, all eyes were on the 'Special One' when he took the Stamford Bridge reins the following month. 

Bankrolled by a sizeable Roman Abramovich chequebook, Mourinho went on to deliver his promise of trophies - earning back-to-back Premier League crowns, ending the club's barren 50-year run without a title in the process.

Frosty relations with the owner saw him leave the club at the start of the 2007/08 season, leaving behind an incredible unbeaten home record. His return to the club six years later rose expectations of further success, and again Mourinho delivered the goods.

But things went south soon after, with the worst defence in Premier League history seeing him dismissed in December 2015.

Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

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(January 2016- May 2018 & March 2019 - Present)

Real Madrid are, most probably, the most famous club in the world. They have the players, they have the infrastructure and they have the fanbase to appeal to a worldwide global audience.

What they also have is an uncanny knack of bringing back former managers in their continued quest to rule the footballing world. That tradition has continued once more with the return of Zinedine Zidane to the Santiago Bernabeu, after ten months of turmoil since he left.

Zizou won an unprecedented hat-trick of Champions League crowns after succeeding Rafael Benitez in January 2016, also scooping a La Liga title from under the noses of both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. 

He walked away at the end of last season citing the need for change if Real are to continue being successful - but that is all out the window now as he bids to revive Los Blancos' ailing fortunes.

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