Five club legends who returned to their former employers as manager

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The recent sacking of Rafael Benitez as Real Madrid manager came as little surprise to football fans. The Spaniard's coaching methods had been called into question ever since he took the reigns at the Bernabeu and it soon became a question of when, not if, he would face the chop.

However, one aspect of this story which did come as a relative shock was the man hired to replace him: Zinedine Zidane. The legendary Galactico was previously in charge of Madrid's B team but has now received a significant promotion to what is arguably the most challenging job in world football.

The Frenchman's appointment is certainly not the first time a club has hired one of their former players, nor will it be the last. Here are five examples of players who took charge of their former employers.


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1. Pep Guardiola - Barcelona

Much like Zidane, Guardiola had previously managed Barcelona's B team before becoming their head coach in 2008.

A legend at the Catalan club, the Spaniard was seen as a risky hire considering his relative lack of managerial experience at the top level.

However, Guardiola's philosophies helped revolutionise Barcelona into one of football's greatest sides and cemented the Spaniard into managerial folklore.

His tiki-taka style of play brought some of the most entertaining football of the modern era and helped bring the best out of Lionel Messi. As a result of this, Guardiola won the treble in his first season in charge of the club - a feat recently matched by Luis Enrique.

2. Alan Shearer - Newcastle United

Shearer is without question one of Newcastle's greatest ever players, but his short stint as manager of the club in 2009 will forever live in Premier League infamy.

Unfortunately, the Englishman was brought in at a terrible time. The club seemed destined for relegation with only a small number of fixtures remaining and the man brought in to save them had no managerial experience whatsoever.

It was a recipe for disaster and sadly, that is exactly how it ended up. Newcastle suffered relegation from England's top-flight for the first time in their history and Shearer demonstrated that he was nowhere near ready to take on such a role.

3. Ryan Giggs - Manchester United

Never technically left United, but when called upon took over as interim player-manager at his beloved club.

The Welshman was brought in after David Moyes had dragged the 20-time league champions into turmoil, with the Red Devils facing the prospect of no Champions League football for the following season.

Giggs was brought in and achieved some degree of success, winning two of his four games in charge and improving the negative atmosphere to have encompassed Old Trafford throughout the campaign.

Now serving as Louis van Gaal's assistant, the United legend did no harm to his reputation and perhaps put forth his credentials for a permanent role in the future.

4. Gareth Southgate - Middlesborough

Unbelievably, when Southgate was appointed manager of Middlesborough in 2006, the former England defender didn't have the sufficient badges to actually serve in the Premier League.

However, the FA allowed him to stay on providing he earned his badges whilst managing the club, which he did successfully.

At the start it seemed as if Southgate was the right man for the job, guiding Boro to 12th in his first season, but things soon took a turn for the worse when the club was relegated in 2009.

The Englishman was duly sacked two months into his first season in the Championship and recently took on the role as manager of the England Under-21's.

5. Kenny Dalglish - Liverpool

Prior to his stint in 2011, Dalglish took control of the Reds in 1985 after Joe Fagan resigned, taking on the role as player-manager.

A hugely successful first spell saw the Scotsman win three league titles and two FA Cups, as well as support the club through the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. He resigned two years later.

His second time at the helm was nowhere near as successful, the Scotsman lasting just one year in the job. Brought in to try and fix Roy Hodgson's disastrous reign at the club, Dalglish found proceedings a lot harder at the second time of asking.

He did guide Liverpool to the Capital One Cup in 2012, but his impact was certainly nowhere near as positive as it had been previously.

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