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Frank Lampard close to Chelsea return: Five managers who went back to former clubs

With Blues legend Frank Lampard set to make an astonishing return to Stamford Bridge, we take a look at other managers who went back to former clubs.

Five managers who went back to former clubs
Denis DoyleGetty Images

Chelsea are reportedly close to agreeing a sensational deal to bring Frank Lampard, who has an extensive history with the club as both a player and a manager, back to Stamford Bridge.

The club is continuing to search for the long-term replacement for Graham Potter after his sacking last week. However Chelsea will need more time to confirm a big name acquisition, such as Luis Enrique or Julien Nagelsmann, and Lampard is seen as a safe pair of hands to guide the club until the end of the season.

Lampard would return to the club where he spent 14 years as a player and 18 months as a manager. The former England midfielder was sacked by Roman Abramovich in 2021 but he retains the affection of Chelsea supporters.

With Lampard set to make a dramatic comeback, we take a look at five memorable cases of managers who returned to their former haunts…

Marcelo Lippi

One of the most illustrious names in football management for decades, Lippi is perhaps best known for his two stints at Italian giants Juventus. During the 1990s he spent five years in Turin, picking up three league titles and a Champions League success.

He returned in 2001 after a disappointing period for the club and won Serie A in both of his first two seasons back at Juve. He departed after his third campaign back at the club.

Louis van Gaal

Another titan of 1990s football, the Dutchman enjoyed great success at Barcelona towards the end of the decade with two league titles, a Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup in three seasons.

However his combustible nature means that Van Gaal rarely stays put for too long and he left in 2000. Two years later he returned to Camp Nou but this spell was less successful, and Van Gaal was on his way again within eight months.

Fabio Capello

The Italian’s uncompromising approach has brought him huge success throughout his career but he clashed with the Real Madrid hierarchy during his two spells in the Spanish capital.

He first took over in 1996, winning La Liga for Los Blancos, but he fell out of favour for fielding fans’ favourite Raul on the left wing. He left after just one season, only to be reinstalled a decade later with the club suffering its longest trophy draught in decades. Once again he delivered a league title but was sacked after just one season.

Jose Mourinho

The man who both hired and fired Lampard as Chelsea boss, former owner Abramovich, did the same with Jose Mourinho on two occasions. When the Portuguese boss joined the club in 2004 he brought instant success, winning back-to-back league titles for the Blues. But things, as they often do with Mourinho, turned sour and he was sacked in 2007.

After trophy-laden stints at Inter Milan and Real Madrid he returned to Stamford Bridge in 2013 and once again delivered a league title. However this time he lasted little more than two years before, once again, being dismissed.

Zinedine Zidane

One of the greatest players of all time and a Real Madrid legend, Zidane only embellished his reputation at the Bernabéu by winning an astonishing three Champions League titles in three seasons at the club. But less than a week after securing a hat trick of European titles, Zidane announced that he was stepping down, citing the club’s “need for change.”

The following season did not go to plan for Madrid and nine months later Zidane was back in the hot seat. He won La Liga and the Supercope de Espana in his second spell but departed in May 2021 after a trophyless season.


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