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Football stars who returned to their boyhood clubs at the end of their career


10) Marc Overmars

One of the most celebrated players of his generation, Marc Overmars is best known for his time at Arsenal, where he was a part of the title-winning side of 1998. It was his performances for Ajax under Van Gaal, which prompted Arsenal to sign him. He went on to make 100 appearances for the Gunners before being signed up by Barcelona. Ajax and Arsenal may have seen the best of the Dutchman, but he started his career at Go Ahead Eagles, for whom he made just 11 senior appearances. The three-time Eredivisie champion did not forget his roots and made a sensational comeback to play for Go Ahead Eagles despite having retired four years ago. He made 24 appearances that season before taking up the senior management role. He is currently the director of football at Ajax.


9) Henrik Larsson

A Celtic legend, Larsson began his career in Holland playing for Hogaborg. He played just a single season and his potential got him a move to rivals Feyenoord. He went on to have successful spells at Celtic and Barcelona too before returning to his native boyhood club nearly 15 years later. Larsson scored a massive 174 goals for the Scottish giants during his seven-year stay, winning the Scottish league as many as four times. Other honours include two La Liga titles as well as a Premier League title with Manchester United in 2006-07.


8) Pablo Aimar

Pablo Aimar enjoyed some of the finest periods of his career with River Plate, with whom he began his senior career. His technical brilliance and vision convinced Valencia to bring him to Europe. At the Mestalla, he played for five years amassing 162 appearances.  He was a part of the Valencia squad that won two league titles in the early 2000s. He later joined Benfica, where he won the league title in 2009-10.  After spending a decade in Europe, he returned to his homeland but just played one game for his boyhood club.


7) Juan Carlos Valeron

Valeron began his career with Las Palmas but is best known for his time with Deportivo La Coruna where he was the fan’s favourite, appearing more than 300 times for Deportivo.  He also enjoyed brief spells with Atletico Madrid and Mallorca before eventually returning to his boyhood club in 2013. He played for another three years at Las Palmas and retired at the end of the last season.


6) Rui Costa

The Fiorentina great created one of the most potent partnerships alongside Gabriel Batistuta in Florence. Despite the presence of a certain Zidane in the Italian Serie A, Rui Costa was named the best attacking midfielder couple of times, demonstrating his brilliance. However, when Fiorentina went into bankruptcy, Costa was sold to AC Milan. At Milan, Costa did not have the best of the times despite adding several titles to his cabinet. He left the Milan club in 2006, to return to his beloved Benfica. After two seasons, he retired and is currently their sporting director.


5) Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord)

One of the most celebrated figures in Dutch football, Van Bronckhorst played for several elite clubs in his distinguished career. The midfielder played for the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal. The Dutch midfielder was present during Barcelona’s Champions League title win in 2005-06. After enjoying fruitful spells, he returned to Feyenoord before retiring in 2010. Last season, he led the club to their first league title in 18 years.


4) Andriy Shevchenko

A true Ukranian legend, Andriy Shevchenko is easily the finest footballer Ukraine has ever produced. Known for his clinical instincts, Shevchenko carved out a niche for himself as one of the most feared striker of his time, scoring for fun at Milan. His exquisite goal scoring return saw him move to Chelsea. However, like Torres, Shevchenko too failed to find his best form at Stamford Bridge.  He moved back to Milan but things got even worse as he failed to score a single goal. He returned to his boyhood club and played for three years more. He is currently Ukraine’s manager.


3) Juan Sebastian Veron

The Argentine powerhouse hanged up his boots earlier this year bringing down curtains to what had been an enthralling career span around three countries. Twice the Argentine player of the year, Veron won league titles everywhere he played, which included a premier league title with Manchester United, a Serie A title with Lazio and Inter. Despite his numerous trophies, he never settled in at one place other than Estudiantes, his childhood club, for whom he had three different spells.


2) Frank Rijkaard

A member of the revolutionary Milan squad of the late 80s, Frank Rijkaard is often regarded as one of the best players ever to grace the game. His legacy at Ajax came to an abrupt end after an altercation with manager Johan Cryuff ended his time in Amsterdam. He went on to join Milan where he had the time of his life as Milan dominated Europe. But, his love for Ajax, brought him back to Holland, as he became a pivotal member of Louis Van Gaal ‘s all-conquering Ajax side of 1995.


1) Vitor Baia

The Portuguese shot-stopper had a forgettable time at Barcelona spending just two seasons in Spain before returning to where it all began for him at Porto. He came back in what truly was a golden period for the Portuguese giants as the club won seven league titles during his second spell at the club. The epitome of his career unarguably came when against all odds, Porto won the Champions League title under Jose Mourinho, which incidentally marked the decline of Porto and rise of one of the finest managers of the current generation.  

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