Zlatan’s Rossoneri reunion and other returning favourites
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in Italy for a second stint at AC Milan and he isn’t the only player to have decided to return to a former stomping ground.
The Swedish striker is now 38-years-old but he, typically, has insisted he hasn’t moved back to the San Siro as part of some kind of farewell tour.
“I’ve been looking for one final rush of adrenaline to give it my all,” he said on his return to Milan.
“I received even more calls after the game against Atalanta [which Milan lost 5-0]. I didn’t come here to be a Rossoneri mascot. I’ve never lost my passion.”
Ibrahimovic managed an impressive 56 goals in 85 games in his first spell with the Rossoneri. The veteran forward made his second debut as a second half substitute on Monday as Milan were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Sampdoria at the San Siro. The former Barcelona and Manchester United man looked lively though and tested the keeper with a header, and he may well have a key role to play for the mid-table outfit over the remainder of the season.
Thierry Henry, Arsenal
Thierry Henry joined Arsenal as a pacey winger back in 1999 but left as a centre-forward, arguably the most feared in Europe at the time when he joined Barcelona in 2007.
The Frenchman became, and still is, the Gunners’ all-time record goalscorer with 228 goals in 337 games in total. Two of those strikes came when he returned to the Emirates Stadium on loan for the second half of the 2011-12 season, including a goal on his second debut in the FA Cup.
At the time Henry was playing for MLS outfit New York Red Bulls and he was clearly past his prime when he returned. However, his arrival did coincide with an upturn in form even if his involvement was fairly limited – he managed just seven appearances in total – as the Gunners managed to secure Champions League qualification that year.
Wayne Rooney, Everton
When then-England wonder kid Wayne Rooney left Everton for Manchester United as an 18-year-old in 2004 it is fair to say he angered the Goodison Park faithful.
Rooney was supposed to be one of their own, a boyhood Everton fan who had risen through the club’s academy and hailed from Croxteth, but he still handed in a transfer request to force through a move to Old Trafford.
At the time it appeared as if a future reunion with Everton was impossible but the anger on Merseyside subsided during his 13 years at United and he returned to Goodison in 2017 as a five-time Premier League champion and a Champions League winner, as well as England’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Rooney managed 17 goals in 77 games in his first spell with Everton and 11 in 40 in his second stint, which lasted just one season.
Eidur Gudjohnsen, Bolton Wanderers
Eidur Gudjohnsen joined then Championship outfit Bolton Wanderers in 1998 and the Iceland international hit 21 goals in 55 games as they enjoyed runs to the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and League Cup.
Gudjohnsen then left for Chelsea in 2000 and won the Premier League twice before heading to Barcelona, where he won La Liga and the Champions League.
In the meantime, Bolton established themselves as a Premier League club and had a few forays in Europe but in 2014 when Gudjohnsen returned – via spells at Monaco, AEK Athens, Club Brugge and a few other clubs – they were back in the second tier and struggling for survival.
Gudjohnsen managed six goals in 21 games for Bolton in his second period there as they managed to avoid relegation.