The Magnificent Seven: the 7 Men to Win the Champions League as Player and Manager

With qualification for the knockout stages almost complete in the Champions League, many players will have their eyes on a medal and a place in football history. Not least the likes of Sergio Aguero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gonzalo Higuain, who all have that honour missing from their trophy cabinet.

Manager Pep Guardiola on the other hand has won Europe’s most prestigious tournament as both player and manager and is just one of seven men to have lifted the cup from on the pitch and from the sidelines.

So who are the men who have achieved what so few have? We take a look at the Champions League’s magnificent seven…


Miguel Munoz

Miguel Munoz was a legend at Real Madrid both as a player and a manager, sadly passing away in 1990 aged 68.

He started life at the Bernabeu back in 1948, making 223 appearances in the heart of their midfield. He’d go on to lift three European Cups in consecutive years before retiring as a player and taking the reins as a manager.

Only a season separated his last European Cup trophy as a player and first as a manager, lifting the 1959/60 trophy with Madrid and going on to win one more, as well as nine La Liga titles, during his 14-year stint as manager.


Giovanni Trapattoni

Many of you will remember Trapattoni from his spell as Republic of Ireland boss between 2008 and 2013, but his biggest successes came as a player for AC Milan and as a boss with Juventus.

Lifting the cup in both 1963 and 1969 as a player, he was part of a squad that beat Benfica at Wembley, with Trapattoni man-marking the great Eusebio out of the game.

It was at Juventus where he’d build a team of champions however, marshalled by the great Michel Platini. His only European Cup medal as a manager would be marred however. Taking on Liverpool in 1985, Juventus would succeed 1-0, but incidents off the pitch would change football forever, with 39 people dying in the Heysel disaster.


Johan Cruyff

It can be argued that Johan Cruyff has won more than just the four European Cups as player and manager, with the Dutchman being the catalyst behind Barcelona’s meteoric rise to the top. 

His style of play transformed football, and while he was influencing the game as a player, he picked up three European Cups in the red and white of Ajax between 1970 and 1973.

By 1991/92 he was doing it again at the Nou Camp, only this time from the dugout. A master tactician, his coaching career, incredibly, matches up to his playing days and the man behind one of the most iconic pieces of skill in footballing history will go down as one of the finest of all time.


Carlo Ancelotti

Only Carlo Ancelotti stands next to Bob Paisley to have won the tournament on three occasions as a manager, but the great Liverpool boss, never lifted it as a player.

Ancelotti first picked up the European Cup as a Milan player back in 1988/89, and then again the following year in a team that also included Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit.

As a boss, his first European trophy arrived in 2002/03 with the same club, while also taking them to success once again four years later, beating Liverpool in Athens. Real Madrid came calling and the Italian lifted it again in 2013/14 making him part of an elite group of five to have won Europe’s top competition with two different clubs.


Frank Rijkaard

Like Johan Cruyff, Frank Rijkaard won his Champions League medals with both Ajax and Barcelona, with the great clubs’ style of play lending themselves well with each other.

He was part of that great Ajax side to lift the 1994/95 title under Louis van Gaal’s stewardship as Patrick Kluivert’s strike led them to victory over AC Milan in Vienna. 

Hanging his boots up following the title, he’d finally get another shot at winning the trophy as a manager in 2006 when his Barcelona side beat Arsenal 2-1 thanks to goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti.


Josep Guardiola

One of the most respected coaches in world football, Pep Guardiola will be desperate to join Ancelotti as a manager to have won the trophy at two different clubs having failed at Bayern Munich previously.

We all know the Spaniard lifted the trophy as both player and manager at Barcelona, his first coming during Johan Cruyff’s reign as Barca boss back in 1991/92. He was a permanent fixture in that dominant side and after a successful stint as the B Team boss was promoted to first team manager in 2008.

His first Champions League title would come in his very first season, before lifting it again in 2011. Since then, he’s been on the hunt for his third as a manager. Can he win it at Manchester City? Only time will tell.


Zinedine Zidane

It was always going to be an interesting concept, Zidane as manager. A fiery temper, resulting in a certain headbutt, it was going to be intriguing to see whether he’d make that transition.

Now Real Madrid manager, and a Champions League winner in each of his seasons in the hotseat, he’s passed the test with flying colours.

As a player, he only won the competition once, but during the 2001/02 final, Zidane provided one of the Champions League’s most memorable moments. One of the most beautifully struck volleys you’ll ever see, his 45th minute strike was enough to defeat Bayer Leverkusen and deliver the Galacticos their second Champions League trophy in three years.

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