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7 Players Return You Never Saw Coming

Over the years you have experienced legendary players live their clubs only to make returns that no one saw coming. Here are 7 players who made shocking switches back to their former club.

1. Dani Alves

38-year-old Dani Alves who left Barcelona in 2016 will be returning to the club in January on a six-month deal. He'll be bringing his high standards, 43 winners medals, and his love for the club. Alves spent eight years with Barcelona earning a piece of silverware every 18 matches including 6 titles and 3 Champions League along with 21 goals and 101 assists in under 400 appearances. Xavi will hope that Dani Alves will lift the spirit of the dressing room and placing an 84 million pound buy-out clause on the Brazilian contract is a clear sign of respect.

2. Wilfred Zaha

Alex Ferguson's last Manchester United signing, Wilfred Zaha, was expected to be a star when he moved to Old Trafford for 11 million pounds in 2013. Zaha at 20, already had 150 games for Crystal Palace in his name and was an English international making his three lions debut against Sweden in November 2012 alongside Raheem Sterling. However, things quickly went off the rails when David Moyez arrived in Manchester. Zaha only got in the field twice and spent the second half of his maiden season with the red devils on loan at Cardiff where he was relegated. In the end, due to a lack of suitors, Crystal Palace brought him home for just 6 million pounds. He'd go on to make 250 appearances for the Eagles contributing 78 league goals and assists becoming one of the most dangerous wingers in the top flight. Zaha also switched his international allegiances to Ivory Coast.

3. Thierry Henry

Henry might be French but he belongs to North London. The iconic forward only won two titles in his long career with Arsenal but he left a permanent mark on the English game. He finished as the division top scorer for times between 2001 and 2006 setting an incredible record for assists which still stands today, an incredible 20 in one campaign. Despite delivering a goal or an assist every 91 minutes in London, Henry never added a continental silverware to his cabinet. It took him moving to Barcelona to lift the Champions League the last trophy missing in a career which included European Championships and a World Cup.From there the 33 years old went on to New York Red Bulls. Incredibly in January 2012, the king returned to Arsenal arriving on a two months loan deal taking Jersey no.12 with his old no.14 assigned to Theo Walcott. Henry netted the winner on his second debut against Leeds United. He added one before he left again, a final gift from the most gifted of them all.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

When Zlatan canceled his contract in 2018, it looked like close to the end for the Swedish Forward. A serious ACL injury had derailed his prosperous 18 months in the Premier League. A move to LA Galaxy, at age 37, looked like the appropriate next step for the damaged veteran. In typical Zlatan fashion, he found a new lease on life in America. A 45-yard strike on his debut was followed by a stunning 53 goals in 58 MLS appearances twice earning a spot in the division's all-stars 11.Ibrahimovic was so prolific, AC Milan agreed to hand him a 6-month deal in December 2019. The gamble paid off as 31 goals and 4.4 shots per 90 later by the Swede continues to bring them within the grasp of the scudetto. Aged 40, Zlatan has even returned to the Swedish National side.

5. Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba's final act for Chelsea in 2012 was the stuff of dreams. He scored 157 times in 341 times for the clubs winning the league on three occasions. The Ivorian signed off from West London by scoring the winning penalty in the UCL final. His iconic 88th-minute header had also drawn them level against a superior Bayern side in their backyard. Then 34, Drogba embarked on a lucrative 200,000 pounds per week career with Shanghai Shenwa. Six months later he signed for the Turkish giants Galatasaray. Upon Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea in 2014, he jumped at the chance to reunite with an old ally then aged 36. Drogba scored 7 times and reached 350 appearances for the club and proved an influential figure as Chelsea won yet another title.

6. David Luiz

Despite his incredible passing, Champions League, and Premier League titles, David Luiz never really settled at Chelsea the first time around. The Brazilian was carded every three games under five different coaches. When PSG offered the Londoners 50 million pounds for him in 2014, then a record fee for a defender, it was widely agreed that the French side was making a comical error. Luiz earned another two titles in France and made the Ligue 1 team of the year the two seasons he was with PSG. However, no one was expecting to see him back on the English shores. When Antonio Conte was appointed as the new Chelsea coach, he bought the 29-year-old for 32 million pounds to take charge of his famous back three defense. In the 2016/17 campaign, Luiz missed just five games and made his first appearance in Premier League best XI as Chelsea won the league with 93 points.

7. Antoine Griezmann

Offloading the 28-year-old Griezmann for 108 million pounds in 2019 might be the best piece of business Atletico Madrid ever did. The windfall allowed them to bring in Trippier, Llorente, Hermoso, and Joao Felix while saddling their rivals with Griezmann's 300,000 a week wages. To make things sweeter, Griezmann never won La Liga in Catalonia while Atletico Madrid marched to a second title under Simeone in 2020. Atletico Madrid brought back their former star last summer loaning him for initial 9million pounds with the switch likely to become permanent for another 34million next year when the Frenchman will be 31 years old. Atletico Madrid is hoping that Diego Simeone will work his magic with Griezmann the same way he did with the returning Fernando Torres and Diego Costa.

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Barcelona Dani Alves Old Trafford Wilfred Zaha Xavi


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