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Martin O'Neill, 72, 'closes in on shock return to management in Europe'

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MARTIN O’NEILL is reportedly closing in on a shock return to management.

The Irishman has been out of the dugout since leaving Nottingham Forest in 2019.

Rapid Bucharest are keen on hiring Martin O’Neill

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Rapid Bucharest are keen on hiring Martin O’NeillCredit: Getty

O’Neill, 72, has enjoyed a brilliant career as a player and manager winning trophies throughout.

During his playing career, he peaked at Forest and won back-to-back European Cups.

While as a manager he led Celtic to three Scottish Premier League titles and also took Aston Villa to the League Cup final in 2010.

He is now set to return to management at Rapid Bucharest in Romania.

Reports have claimed that the club is working on a deal that would see him take charge.

It is also suggested that O’Neill could be in post by the end of the week.

Rapid Bucharest competes in the country’s SuperLiga and finished second in the regular season.

After the playoff round, the club crashed down to 6th place.

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It is a difficult league to participate in, with European regulars FCSB and CFR Cluj also battling for the top spot.

However, last month it was revealed that O’Neill had landed a job in the League Managers Association.

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He will be replacing Howard Wilkinson, who has overseen the bosses’ group for over three decades, when he steps down this summer.

That was after he was voted in by his fellow managers after being put forward for the role.

Having started out in the dug-out in non-league, O’Neill led Wycombe Wanderers from the conference into the third tier. 

He took over at Leicester in 1995 and guided them to League Cup success twice during his five years there.

He left to join Celtic in 2000, winning the title three times and leading the Hoops to the Uefa Cup Final.

O’Neill returned to the Premier League for a four-year stint at Aston Villa and then two years at Sunderland before taking charge of his country.

He led them to the knockouts of Euro 2016 but his five-year reign ended after a poor run of results in November 2018.

O’Neill did return to the dug-out in January 2019 when he was appointed boss of Forest.

He guided them to a ninth-place finish in the Championship but was sacked that summer.

MARTIN O’NEILL’S HONOURS

Check out everything the Irishman has won during his career as both a player and manager:

PLAYING CAREER

DISTILLERY

Irish Cup (1971)

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

First Division (1978); European Cup (1979, 1980); European Super Cup (1979); League Cup (1978, 1979); FA Charity Shield (1978); Anglo-Scottish Cup (1977)

NORTHERN IRELAND

British Home Championship (1980, 1984)

MANAGEMENT CAREER

WYCOMBE WANDERERS

Conference champions (1993); FA Trophy (1991, 1993), Conference League Cup (1992); Third Division play-off winners (1994)

LEICESTER CITY

League Cup (1997, 2000); First Division play-off winners (1996)

CELTIC

Scottish Premiership (2001, 2002, 2004); Scottish Cup (2001, 2004, 2005); Scottish League Cup (2001)

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