Top footballers who returned to their former clubs in 2023

Homecoming is always beautiful, and fans always adore a football star’s return

Top footballers sometimes find their way back to their former clubs, where they began their journeys to the hall of fame.

In 2023, there have been some sensational returns, where the home-grown talents re-signed for their childhood sides; some may call it ‘The Romance of Football.’

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Here is the list of top players who returned to their former club this year.

Marcelo – Fluminense

After 17 years, Marcelo returned home with a hero’s welcome, as more than 30,000 Fluminense fans attended his unveil at Maracana stadium in February 2023.

The veteran is recognized as one of the most decorated players in the world, who has won 25 titles, including five Champions League and six La Ligas during his 15-year spell at the Spanish capital side.

Marcelo returns to Fluminense
Top players who returned to their former clubs in 2023 – Marcelo to Fluminense

The former Los Blancos left-back has signed a two-year deal with the Brazilian side after terminating his contract with Greece’s Olympiacos.

He signed a contract until December 2024 with an option to extend until the end of 2025.

At Fluminense, Marcelo plays as a midfielder and will wear the No. 12 shirt, the same one he wore in Madrid.

Angel Di Maria – Benfica

The winger returns to the club where he made his name upon arriving from Argentina after a year at Juventus and signs a one-year deal until the end of the 2023-24 season.

The Bianconeri let the attacker go due to their financial burdens and lack of Champions League football.

Di Maria signed for Benfica
Di Maria signed for Benfica

Di Maria’s return to Benfica marks a homecoming for the player. He previously played for the club from 2007 to 2010 before moving on to continue his glittering career.

He moved to Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2010, achieving remarkable success: La Liga title, Champions League, and two Copa del Rey.

Santi Cazorla – Real Oviado

The little magician Cazorla decided to join the club on a free transfer, returning to his boyhood club after 20 years. The former Arsenal and Villarreal man agreed on a minimum wage for the second division to help his boyhood club.

Santi Cazorla returned to Real Oviedo
Santi Cazorla returned to Real Oviedo

Cazorla is considered one of the most technically gifted midfielders in the world, even now when he is already around 40. He has joined Oviedo, currently in the second division, to help the club get back into the top division. He has waived off all but 10% of his imaging rights, which will directly go to the development of the club’s academies – Talking about the beauty of football, Cazorla is a perfect example.

Sergio Ramos – Sevilla

Sergio Ramos has officially joined La Liga side Sevilla as the decorated defender made his sensational return after 18 years.

Ramos rejected lucrative offers from Galatasaray and Al-Ittihad, which were reportedly at least 10 million euros annually.

According to reports, the Spanish defender will earn just over €1M/year at Sevilla.

After Ramos’ long spell with Real Madrid ended, he joined Paris Saint-Germain and saw out the contract in this year’s summer before rejoining Sevilla as a free agent.

37-year-old Ramos was born and bred in Seville, made his senior squad debut in 2004 at the age of 19, and the following year he joined Real Madrid.

 Ramos could make his return debut for Sevilla against Las Palmas on September 16 after the international break ends.

Meanwhile, the veteran was also named in José Luis Mendilibar’s squad to compete at UEFA Champions League this year.

Oriol Romeu – Barcelona

The 31-year-old La Masia graduate secured an emotional move back to Camp Nou 12 years after he left the club for Chelsea in 2011, helping to fill the void left behind by Sergio Busquets’ departure to Inter Miami.

It’s the culmination of a whirlwind 12 months which saw Romeu return to La Liga with Girona and help form one of the most exciting teams in Spanish football, with Barcelona wasting little time in bringing him in at Xavi’s request.

Romeu returned to Barcelona
Romeu returned to Barcelona

Romeu returned to Barcelona this summer as the midfielder left Camp Nou for Chelsea in 2011.

Jonny Evans – Man United

It raised numerous eyebrows when Man United decided to bring the veteran, even though it is only a short-term one-year deal at Old Trafford.

However, the centre-back is obviously one of the most experienced names in the squad, having been in the latest Red Devil side that won the Premier League in 2011 and 2013.

Jonny Evans sealed his second spell for Man United after 8 years away
Jonny Evans sealed his second spell for Man United after 8 years away

The permanent return marks Evan’s second spell with Man United, for whom he made almost 200 appearances during his previous stint.

Evans had previously been at Leicester, where he won the FA Cup in 2021, but was released at the end of the 2022/23 season.

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