5 players who became managers and signed their former teammates

Willem II go fourth in Eredivisie with win at Heerenveen

Many players turned managers have coached their former teammates like Zinedine Zidane and Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid. However, very few have signed a former teammate and that has happened thrice this season.

Diego Simeone and Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres started his career at Atletico Madrid where Diego Simeone had two separate spells as a player. During Simeone’s second stint between 2003 and 2005, he shared the dressing room with Torres who was also the club captain at the time.

After Simeone hung up his playing boots and became a manager, their paths crossed for the first time when Simeone’s Atletico Madrid beat a Chelsea side featuring Torres in the UEFA Super Cup in 2012.

In January 2015, Torres’ loan spell at AC Milan was cut short and he moved to Simeone’s Atletico Madrid on loan before the move was made permanent. Torres played for Atletico in 160 games under his former teammate and scored 38 goals while also winning the UEFA Europa League in his final season with the club.

Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas

Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas were fan favourites at Arsenal and both players left the North London club for Barcelona. However, the former is remembered fondly by the Arsenal fans while the latter is hated by many Gunners for joining rivals, Chelsea.

Henry and Fabregas shared the dressing room at Arsenal for four years between 2003 and 2007 before the former left for Barcelona. Although Henry was a crucial member of the ‘Invincible’ squad of 2003/04, Fabregas did not make an appearance in the league that season for Arsenal despite playing thrice in other competitions and scoring once.

The Frenchman took his first managerial job in October 2018 when he was appointed the Monaco manager and in January 2019, he signed Fabregas from Chelsea on a free transfer in a bid to keep the Ligue 1 side in the top flight.

Fabregas made his Monaco debut in a 1-5 home defeat to Strasbourg and that will be his only appearance for Monaco under his former teammate as Henry has been sacked after only three months in charge with the club placed 19th in the league.

Steven Gerrard, Jermain Defoe and Jon Flanagan

Steven Gerrard took charge of Scottish Premier League giants, Rangers, in the summer and he has done a thoroughly impressive job with the club on a limited budget this season.

Gerrard made a few shrewd signings and used his connections at Liverpool to get both Ryan Kent and Ovie Ejaria on loan. In addition, he also signed his former Liverpool teammate, Jon Flanagan, on a free transfer in the summer.

Flanagan famously played a key role in Liverpool’s unlikely title push during the 2013/14 season and shared the dressing room with Gerrard at Anfield for a few years.

In January 2019, Gerrard signed Jermaine Defoe, his teammate with England and the veteran arrived from Bournemouth on an 18-month loan deal to help Rangers push for the league title. Incredibly, Defoe scored on his debut for Rangers which meant he scored a debut goal for 5 of his last 7 clubs.

Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole

There were a lot of comparisons between Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard during their playing days and it looks that comparison could continue into their playing career as Lampard is also enjoying a fantastic debut season as manager.

Lampard used his connections at Chelsea to sign youngsters Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount on loan in the summer. In January, he signed his former Chelsea and England teammate, Ashley Cole, on a deal that runs till the end of the season.

Derby Count is chasing promotion to the Premier League this season and the Rams’ fans will be hoping that Cole’s experience can make a substantial difference to the defence that has conceded several cheap goals this season.

Roberto Mancini, Siniša Mihajlović and Juan Sebastián Verón

Roberto Mancini notably represented Sampdoria and Lazio as a player and he shared the dressing room at both clubs with Siniša Mihajlović and Juan Sebastián Verón.

At Sampdoria, Mihajlović played with Mancini between 1994 and 1997 before the latter left for Lazio. Veron, on the other hand, only played one season with the current Italy manager at Sampdoria.

After Mancini moved to Lazio in 1997, both Mihajlovic and Veron followed him to the club in 1998 and 1999 respectively. They shared two and one seasons respectively with Mancini at Lazio before the Italian moved to his final club, Leicester City and retired at the end of the 2000/01 season.

Interestingly, while Mancini and Veron were playing together at Sampdoria, Veron claimed Mancini tried to attack him in the dressing room after an on field argument.

Nevertheless, after Mancini was appointed Inter Milan manager in 2004, he signed both players for a period of two years. Mihajlović joined on a permanent deal and Veron on a loan basis. In those two years, Veron and Mihajlović won the Serie A title in 2005/06, the Coppa Italia twice and the Supercoppa Italiana once.