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7 players who returned to finish their careers at their boyhood clubs

Includes a former Ballon d'Or winner and also Dirk Kuyt

Nobody normally likes the sequel, but these comebacks were pretty bloody good.

Just like with an old girlfriend, who despite how much you hated having to sit through *that* Ryan Gosling film with, sometimes you just can’t let go.

It’s true that the heart wants what the heart wants, and it turns out that it’s actually the same for footballers too.


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Even the world’s best players had to start somewhere, before they all shot off earning their millions around the world.

There’s no place like home though and this proved to be the case for this bunch 

1 Diego Milito – Racing Club

The guy holding him is trying not to show his pain

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The guy holding him is trying not to show his pain

Milito started his career with Argentine side Racing Club in 1999, where he made over 130 appearances before he left for pastures new in Italy with Genoa.

The expert finisher then went onto play for Real Zaragoza and Inter Milan, where, under Jose Mourinho, he won the Champions League in 2010, scoring two goals in the final.

“Eeeeagle!”

Peter Powell - The News of the World
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“Eeeeagle!”

Milito made an emotional return to his boyhood club Racing in 2014 and proved he hadn’t lost that goal-scoring touch.

The Argentine racked up a respectable 21 goals in 59 appearances in his second spell.

In May 2016, he finally bowed out of football at the age of 36, but not before he scored the opener in his final ever game, a 2-0 win over Temperley. Finishing just as he started.

2 Dirk Kuyt – Quick Boys

Kuyt leading an Iceland ‘thunder clap’

Getty Images - Getty
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Kuyt leading an Iceland ‘thunder clap’

Everyone’s favourite Dutchman finally hung up his boots in 2017 at the ripe old age of 37.

Kuyt started his career with Dutch amateur side Quick Boys in 1998, before he was snapped up by Ultrecht and later moved to Feyenoord.

The Premier League was then blessed when he joined Liverpool in 2006, the forward making over 200 appearances for the club.

Forget Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez played with the real GOAT at Liverpool

Jamie McPhilimey - The Sun
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Forget Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez played with the real GOAT at Liverpool

After leaving Liverpool for Fenerbache in 2012, the Dutchman returned to Feyenoord, where he retired last year.

But, just when everyone thought his career was done and dusted for good, Kuyt had other ideas.

In April of this year it was announced that Kuyt would be temporarily coming out retirement to rejoin his first club, Quick Boys.

The 37-year-old would lead the line for his boyhood side and help Quick Boys in their end of season fight for promotion.

Kuyt is a legendary name at the club, with Quick Boys reaping the rewards of the Dutchman’s transfer to Liverpool, reportedly pocketing £300,000 as part of a future sell on clause.

3 Robin van Persie – Feyenoord

Look at that wingspan

Getty - Contributor
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Look at that wingspan

Continuing the dutch theme, here’s another! *Arsenal fans, look away now.*

Van Persie started his career with Feyenoord when he was 16, and just like most lads at that age, he wasn’t the most well behaved.

Clearly a talented player, the forward’s off field antics were landing him in hot water and van Persie didn’t always see eye-to-eye with his manager Bert van Marwijk.

Mini RVP

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Mini RVP

The Dutchman departed Holland for Arsenal in 2004, where he would go onto have a nightmare time with injuries, but his talent always shone through.

It was basically this apart from one season

Getty Images - Getty
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It was basically this apart from one season

His standout 2011-12 campaign with the Gunners saw him score 30 goals, before he jumped ship and joined Man United the following season… I’m not bitter, you’re bitter.

I don’t know what gave him the idea that he couldn’t win major trophies with Arsenal?

PA:Empics Sport
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I don’t know what gave him the idea that he couldn’t win major trophies with Arsenal?

The Dutchman spent three seasons at Old Trafford, winning the Premier League in his first year, before leaving for Fenerbahce in 2015.

In January 2018, Van Persie returned to Feyenoord and all the feels erupted.

After initially saying he would retire at the end of this season, Van Persie confirmed he will play on for at least another year with the Dutch side.

RVP can now be found loving a sesh at the darts

PA:Press Association
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RVP can now be found loving a sesh at the darts

4 Roque Santa Cruz – Olimpa Asuncion

Looks like a BTEC Ballon d’Or trophy

Reuters
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Looks like a BTEC Ballon d’Or trophy

Santa Cruz joined Paraguayan club Olimpia Asuncion at the age of nine and was promoted to the first team at just 15. Late bloomer.

The towering striker left his boyhood club for Bayern Munich in 1999, before he became Mark Hughes’ favourite player of all time, Hughes signing him at both Blackburn and Man City.

“Careful with your hand back there, Roque!”

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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“Careful with your hand back there, Roque!”

After settling in Spain with Malaga, Santa Cruz eventually returned to Olimpia in 2016.

The former Man City man insisted that the Paraguay club was his “home” and Santa Cruz was swarmed by fans at the airport upon his arrival.

100 is SUCH a hipster squad number

Reuters
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100 is SUCH a hipster squad number

5 Rafael Marquez – Atlas

Yer Da will love this, look at the bloody #passion

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Yer Da will love this, look at the bloody #passion

This guy is still knocking out, fair play.

Marquez is one of the most experienced defenders in the world, there was once a time however when the Mexican was a novice starting out in 1996 with Atlas.

Marquez swapped Mexico for Monaco in 1999, before signing for Barcelona in 2003 where would became of the best defenders in Europe.

He didn’t put up with Ronaldo’s s**t

Times Newspapers Ltd
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He didn’t put up with Ronaldo’s s**t

Marquez then dabbled with a spell in America with New York Red Bulls and in Italy with Verona, before returning to Atlas in 2015.

Captain, leader, legend

AFP
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Captain, leader, legend

The defender retired from club football at the end of last season, but declared he would be available to represent Mexico at the 2018 World Cup this summer.

We now automatically hope that they go all the way and win it in Russia.

6 Andriy Shevchenko – Dynamo Kyiv

Goals, goals, goals

Reuters
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Goals, goals, goals

Shevchenko started his career with Dynamo Kyiv in 1994.

After coming from modest beginnings, nobody could have predicted that he would become the absolute goal machine that he did.

Fresh faced with a shirt too big for him, classic

Sportsphoto
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Fresh faced with a shirt too big for him, classic

Shevchenko joined AC Milan for a then-record transfer fee of £25million, a move which propelled his game to the next level, and he quickly became one of the deadliest strikers in Europe.

The Ukrainian flopped in the Premier League with Chelsea after his £30million move in 2006, before returning to Milan on loan in 2008.

In 2009, Shevchenko rejoined his boyhood club, signing a two-year deal with Dynamo Kyiv.

WEB4EHKO?

EPA
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WEB4EHKO?

In 2012, the absolute legend announced that he would be retiring from football, deciding on a stark career change and moving to politics.

Politics?! He’s a bit of a corporate sell out, if you ask me.

7 Henrik Larsson – Hogaborg

It almost makes you want a pint of Carling, doesn’t it?

Reuters
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It almost makes you want a pint of Carling, doesn’t it?

Larsson started his career back in 1988 with Swedish fourth division side Hogaborg.

The forward soon went onto become a goal machine at everywhere he went, including a standout spell with Celtic.

Larsson joined Barcelona in 2004, before a random loan spell with Man United in 2007.

He wasn’t exactly prolific at Old Trafford

Getty - Contributor
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He wasn’t exactly prolific at Old Trafford

The Swedish legend originally hung-up his boots in 2009 with Helsingborg.

In bizarre circumstances however, he briefly came out of retirement to make an emotional comeback at his boyhood club Hogaborg, in 2013.

The former Celtic star was the assistant manager at the time, but due to several injuries, he dusted off his boots to lend a helping-hand.

It was Larsson’s 15-year-old son, Jordan, who stole the show though.

The wonder-kid scoring and getting an assist alongside his dad in Hogaborg’s 4-2 win on the day.

Mini Larsson now plays for Swedish side IFK

EPA
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Mini Larsson now plays for Swedish side IFK

There’s something a bit special about a player finishing their career at the club where they made their name.

Messi recently revealed his plans to retire at his boyhood club in Argentina, Newell’s Old Boys, before he retires.

Wayne Rooney could have made the list had he not decided to leave Everton again…


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