From Sergio Ramos’ thrilling return to Sevilla, Cristiano Ronaldo’s roller coaster ride at Manchester United to Didier Drogba’s second spell at Chelsea, here are five returning ex- Club football player.
Sergio Ramos flies to Sevilla
Spanish veteran Sergio Ramos was in trouble before signing for La Liga club Sevilla earlier this month after his contract at France’s Paris Saint-Germain expired. After an 18-year absence, Ramos returns to where it all began despite interest from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad, Galatasaray, Porto and Major League Soccer.
Sergio was born on March 30, 1986 in Camas, a few kilometers from the center of Seville, and joined the youth academy of Sevilla Football Club at the age of seven. In the 2002/03 season, he made his debut for the reserve team at the age of 16 and made his debut for the senior team the following season. He made his first appearance of the 2005/06 season against Atlético before joining Real Madrid on deadline day.
Cristiano Ronaldo moves to Manchester United
Ronaldo returned to Manchester United at the last minute of the 2021 summer transfer window, making a surprise return to the Premier League. However, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s time at Old Trafford was turbulent. Not only did the Portuguese fail to win trophies, he was unable to contribute to the club as he had under Sir Alex Ferguson’s tutelage.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games during his first spell with Manchester United and has scored 27 goals in 52 games since his return. This is by no means a statistic for an underperforming football player, but one would expect more from a player like Ronaldo. Eventually, personal issues coupled with his dispute with current manager Erik ten Hag led to Ronaldo being forced to quit the club and join Saudi Arabian club Al Nasr in the 2022 winter transfer window.
Didier Drogba moves to Chelsea
Didier Drogba is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in Chelsea history, winning 10 trophies during his decade-long association with the club. He was also one of the first signings of the Roman Abramovich era when he joined Chelsea from Marseille for a club-record fee of £24 million. In Mourinho’s first season, the Ivorian made a name for himself by scoring 16 goals in 41 league games, helping the club win the Premier League title and League Cup.
During Drogba’s first eight years in west London, his teams won three league titles and various domestic titles. The match came to a poetic end when Drogba equalized in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, with Chelsea winning on penalties. In 2012, Drogba scored the final penalty to help Chelsea win the Champions League.
In 2012, Drogba moved to Turkey with Galatasaray, but two years later, in the 2014 summer transfer window, he returned to Stamford Bridge. But his second stint was short-lived as he only signed a one-year contract and played less than 900 minutes. However, the Premier League Hall of Fame inductee scored four goals to help his side win the league title.
Thierry Henry moves to Arsenal
After eight years at Arsenal, including the 2003-04 “Invincibles” season when the London club went undefeated and won the league title, Thierry Henry left the club for Barcelona in 2007.
In 2012, he shocked the Gunners by returning to the Emirates Stadium on a two-month loan, replacing the injured Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho.
In the 2-1 league victory over Sunderland, Henry scored the winning goal in the last seconds. This was Henry’s second FA Cup debut and the winning goal against Leeds United.
Wayne Rooney moves to Everton
Although Wayne Rooney’s name is etched in Manchester United’s annals, his roots can be traced back to the Merseyside club Everton, where it all began for the Englishman.
After graduating from Everton’s development program in 2002, Rooney began his career at Goodison Park, making 77 appearances in two seasons before signing with Manchester United.
In 2017, he left as a Manchester United legend and returned to the west to rejoin the Toffees. Although he only played for Everton for one season, he still scored 11 goals in 40 games.
He later joined Derby County as a player-coach, and then managed the Rams full-time, announcing his official retirement in January 2021.