Current Players Who Were Once Their Boss’ Teammates

A few well-known players today were once playing alongside their current bosses before their return in the dugout.

Knowing your boss as a friend rather than as a superior may give you an advantage. You gain his trust easily and communication becomes less rigid on and off the pitch. Such increases confidence and convenience in the dressing room, which is undoubtedly beneficial to the team. As a result, the team’s performance can also improve.

In the past, there were a number of examples of footballers who used to play together with their bosses. Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Gianluigi Buffon and Paolo Maldini are only a few of them. They were once teammates with their manager, Zinedine Zidane, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and Carlo Ancelotti, respectively. Interestingly, all of them were wearing armbands while their ‘former’ friend was in command. Their connection helped the team win plenty of silverwares.

Ramos was the key figure at the backline while Real Madrid won Champions League three times consecutively from 2016 to 2018 plus La Liga in 2017 during Zidane’s first spell, plus clinched another league title in his second stint.

Puyol was the captain while Barcelona won the sextuple in the 2008/09 season, which was Guardiola’s first year. Buffon helped Juventus’ revival in the Serie A by dominating the top flight within 2012 to 2014 during Conte’s tenure. As for Maldini, he was still the mainstay when Ancelotti delivered their last two Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007.

The same impact can be seen in the current teams with those who played alongside their current boss in the past. Here are three of such players. Fun fact, all of them used to be teammates too.

Marc-André ter Stegen and Xavi

The German goalie came to the Catalan side in 2014 from Borussia Monchengladbach. He was part of the dual-goalkeeper policy introduced by Barcelona manager at that time, Luis Enrique. Ter Stegen, who was signed for €12 million, was deployed only in the Champions League and Copa del Rey whereas the number one spot in La Liga was given to Chilean international, Claudio Bravo.

The 2014/15 season was Xavi’s last season with Blaugrana. Ter Stegen became his current boss’ teammate and both helped their club win their second treble, replicating their success under Pep Guardiola in 2009. Both Guardiola and Luis Enrique happened to be Xavi’s former teammates as well in his early career. The World Cup winner still featured in 45 games at that time, registering two goals and nine assists in all competitions.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s first captain this season, Sergi Roberto, has been with the Catalan giant throughout his career. He was promoted to the first team in 2010. Thus, he had been Xavi’s teammate longer than ter Stegen. However, the versatile midfielder did not regularly get the nod in the line-up until Xavi left the club.

His proneness to injuries has prevented him from being a mainstay since the 2020/21 season. Roberto is often reliable as a supersub. His final goal while routing PSG 6-1 in the 2016/17 Champions League round of 16 and most recently, his assist to Robert Lewandowski’s goal against Napoli at the second leg this season are some of the examples of his contribution as a substitute.

Lionel Messi and Lionel Scaloni

At the international stage, Lionel Messi is the only example for a player who once became his boss’ teammate. The former Barcelona star and Lionel Scaloni both were part of Argentina squad in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Both of them were not the main option in José Pékerman’s line-up at that time. La Pulga was still 18 years old at that time and only featured in three games, contributing one goal and one assist as Albiceleste ran rampant against Serbia and Montenegro with a 6-0 victory. Scaloni, on the other hand, only got a nod in one game, in the round of 16 versus Mexico. It was the game when Messi and Scaloni played together.

The former Deportivo La Coruña and West Ham right-back then had spells in Racing Santander, Lazio, Mallorca and Atalanta afterwards before he hung up his boots. In 2016, he became Jorge Sampaoli’s assistant, both in Sevilla and Argentina for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Scaloni eventually was promoted after Sampaoli’s team’s dismal results in Russia 2018 and the rest is history. He has since turned out to be one of the most successful managers in Albiceleste’s history.

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