Five football legends who won the Champions League both as player and manager

Five football legends who won the Champions League both as player and manager

In 2013, then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson afforded the Champions League some glorious status, labeling it the biggest football competition, putting it ahead of the World Cup.

"The European Champions Cup is bigger than the World Cup," he said.

Adding: "All the best players are in Europe now. When you get a collection of players together like Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Ronaldo that is a world-class collection," 

It's hard not to agree with his statement. Europe's biggest club competition has grown over the years into one of the most prestigious. 

It's most of the players' dream to play Champions League football and we've seen many move in search of the same. 

It's prestigious to lift the trophy, and it's even sweeter to do it as a player and later as a manager. However, very few have managed this during their careers. 

1. Zinedine Zidane

The Frenchman was an accomplished midfielder during his playing days, and he transferred the same into management.

He became the first man to win three consecutive titles as a manager in 2018 when he led Real Madrid to their third European trophy. 

As a player, he won the title in 2002, scoring a memorable winner that became the 'face' of the competition. 


2. Carlo Ancelotti

The Italian is one of the most successful managers in football history, winning titles in England, Spain, and Italy.

He has five Champions League/European titles both as a player and manager, lifting it twice while playing with AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

He then tasted victory in the competition as a manager in 2003 with the Italian side and repeated it in 2007. 

Carlo later led Real Madrid to another win in Europe in 2010, famously known as the La Decima, making him one of the most successful managers in the competition. 


3. Frank Rijkaard

He is arguably one of the best players to emerge from the Netherlands. He won two European Cup titles with AC Milan, then lifted a Champions League trophy with Ajax, before carving out a successful managerial career. 

It was during this time that he lifted the title at the helm of Barcelona in 2006, before stepping down in 2008. 

He mysteriously disappeared from the limelight, ending his otherwise near-perfect career both as a player and manager.


4. Pep Guardiola

The current Manchester City manager is regarded as the best manager in world football right now, thanks to his brand of football. 

He is among this elite group having won the European Cup with Barcelona in 1992, under Johan Cruyff, before it was changed to the Champions League. 

The former midfielder then led his former side to the victory on two occasions; 2009 and 2011, while playing some beautiful brand football. 

He has however failed to achieve similar feat with Europe's top dogs Bayern Munich and current Manchester side.


5. Johan Cruyff

The Dutch legend is remembered for his time at Ajax, where he won numerous titles. 

Among them were three European Cup titles that he lifted three years in a row, between 1971 and 1973. 

He then won the title again in 1992, this time as manager with Barcelona, before it was renamed to the Champions League. He is credited for being the foundation that the Catalan side was built on.