Four Former Chelsea Players Who Became Chelsea Managers

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Chelsea legend Frank Lampard was appointed as Chelsea boss last week following Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Italian club Juventus.

Lampard had a glittering playing career with Chelsea, and fans are hoping he would be successful as a manager.

Lampard isn’t the only ex-Chelsea player to have become Chelsea manager.

Here are four former Chelsea players who became Chelsea managers:

1. Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullit during his days as a Chelsea player. Photo: Chelsea FC

Glenn Hoddle signed Gullit from Sampdoria on a free transfer in 1995. In his first season at Stamford Bridge, he helped Chelsea reach the semi-final of the FA Cup and was named runner-up to Eric Cantona as Footballer of the Year.

In the summer of 1996, when Hoddle left Chelsea to become England boss, Gullit was appointed as a player-manager, becoming the first Dutchman to manage in the Premier League.

In his first season as manager, he guided Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph in 1997, the club’s first major trophy in 26 years. Chelsea finished sixth in the Premier League, an improvement on the 11th position the previous season.

Chelsea sacked Gullit the following season with the Blues in second place in the Premiership and proceeding to the quarter-finals in two cup competitions.

Chelsea’s history of rash sackings didn’t start with Roman Abramovich.

2. Gianluca Vialli

Photo: Getty Images

Ruud Gullit signed Vialli from Juventus on a free transfer in the summer of 1996 as part of his rebuilding of the club. Vialli helped Chelsea win the FA Cup in his first season at Stamford Bridge, with the Italian scoring two goals in a 4–2 comeback over Liverpool in the fourth round.

When Gullit was sacked in February 1998, 33-year-old Vialli was appointed player-manager, becoming the first Italian to manage in the Premier League. Chelsea were already in the semi-finals of the League Cup and the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup when Vialli was appointed and the Blues went on to win both competitions. Chelsea also finished fourth in the Premier League.

The following season, Vialli guided Chelsea to European Super Cup success by beating Real Madrid 1–0, and finished 3rd in the Premier League, just four points behind champions Manchester United.

Vialli won five trophies during his time as Chelsea boss before he was sacked five games into the 2000/01 season.

3. Roberto Di Matteo

Di Matteo joined Chelsea from Lazio in 1996 and he scored the winner against Middlesbrough on his home debut for Chelsea. He helped the club to a sixth place finish in his first season at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s highest placing since 1989–90. He also helped the club win the FA Cup in his debut season.

During his time at Chelsea, Di Matteo won the FA Cup twice, the League Cup, Charity Shield, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

In 2011, Di Matteo was appointed assistant to André Villas-Boas. On 4 March 2012, following the dismissal of Villas-Boas, Di Matteo became caretaker manager of Chelsea until the end of the season.

In his first season as Chelsea boss, Di Matteo guided Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph and Champions League triumph. Chelsea became the first and only London club to win the Champions League.

On 13 June 2012, Di Matteo was appointed as permanent boss but he didn’t last the full season as he sacked five months later.

4. Frank Lampard

Photo: Chelsea FC

Lampard joined Chelsea from West Ham in 2001 and spent 13 years at Stamford Bridge. He is Chelsea’s record goalscorer with 211 goals.

During his time at Chelsea, Lampard won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, two Community Shields, Champions League and Europa League.

He won several individual awards during his time as a Chelsea player. Lampard was named in the PFA Team of the Year three times, Premier League Player of the Season for 2004/05, FIFPro World XI in 2005, Premier League top assist provider in 2005, 2009 and 2009.

Lampard came second in the FIFA Player of the Year 2005, the only Chelsea player to achieve this.

On 4 July 2019, Lampard was appointed as Chelsea’s manager on a three-year contract, making him the first English manager to manage the side in over two decades.

About the Author

I eat, sleep and live Chelsea.