The Second Coming of Former Chelsea and Tottenham Manager Andre Villas-Boas

The Second Coming of Former Chelsea and Tottenham Manager Andre Villas-Boas
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Andre Villas-Boas is back in football after a hiatus of more than a year, during which he also competed in the 2018 Dakar Rally and is currently working wonders at Marseille.

Marseille are currently placed second in Ligue 1 at the moment, 12 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain and six points clear of third-placed Rennes, with the club on track to achieve their highest finish in seven years.

AVB’s career in football started at the very young age of 16 as a scout under the then Porto manager, the legendary Sir Bobby Robson. He quickly moved up the ranks and obtained his UEFA A coaching license at the age of 19 and then worked as an assistant coach under Jose Mourinho at Porto, ​Chelsea, and ​Inter Milan.

He left Mourinho’s team in 2009 to become the head coach at Academica de Coimbra and was then appointed as the Porto manager the following summer. He led Porto to an unbeaten season in the league and also won the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League, thus completing a treble and becoming the youngest manager to win a European title.

Following his success at Porto, he joined Chelsea in June 2011 and was inevitably dubbed as the ‘next Jose Mourinho’, looking to plot a similar managerial course as his mentor who had joined Chelsea after winning the Champions League with Porto in 2004. He was sacked in March 2012, less than nine months after his appointment. He watched from the sidelines as caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo led the club to their first-ever Champions League title.

He was appointed as the ​Tottenham Hotspur manager at the start of the 2012-13 season and guided them to their highest ever points total of 72 in the Premier League, missing out on Champions League qualification by a point. He was gone by December the following season, with Spurs lying seventh in the league.

He went on to win the Russian Premier League, the Russian Super Cup, and the Russian Cup with Zenit in the next couple of years followed by a spell in China with Shanghai SIPG. He left the football world altogether in November 2017 to pursue his dream of competing in the Dakar Rally. His second career as a rally driver came to an abrupt end after crashing into a sand dune, leaving him with a back injury.

Almost a decade on from his first job, he was hired by Marseille in the summer of 2019 with the hopes of returning the club to a place among Europe’s elite. He inherited a team that had finished fifth in the league last season and with a restricted transfer budget, faced an even more uphill task of turning the club’s fortunes around.

Despite a shaky start to the season, Marseille have steadily risen to second, and with ten games to go, they have their sights set on bringing Champions League football back to the Stade Velodrome after a gap of six years. Performances of club captain Steve Mandanda, top scorer Dario Benedetto, and their talisman Dimitri Payet have been key to their successful campaign so far.

AVB’s career so far has been very intriguing and after years of being out of the spotlight, he looks all set to return to the big stage. He seems to have learned a lot from his experiences in England, Russia, and China and is now realizing a lot of the potential he showed in his early days.

He is a prime example of how quickly things can turn around in football, and if Marseille are able to seal second place and secure Champions football for next term, he will have defied his critics and completed his redemption.

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