Emrah Klimenta has returned to where many fans feel is his footballing home. The defender left LA Galaxy recently after a short stay with Zlatan and co and will see out the 2018 season in old glory red. Historically, players returning to a club hoping to pick up where they left off can sometimes be left a little disappointed. However some of the best players have been in Emrah’s shoes in the past and have proven to be anything but a one hit wonder. Here’s five footballers who have enjoyed a triumphant return.
The Barcelona legend was part of the youth setup at Camp Nou when Alex Ferguson and Manchester United came calling in 2004. He made 12 appearances in 4 years for United and made his Champions League debut, as well as score his first European goal while in England. A season long loan at Real Zaragoza back in Spain midway through his time with the Red Devil’s further enhanced Piqué’s reputation and a year later he returned to Barcelona in a £5m deal. Twenty six domestic trophy’s, a World Cup and a European Championship later and Gerard Piqué is still going strong.
The Ivorian striker is no stranger to Republic fans and now leads the line at Phoenix Rising but his professional career began at Le Mans. After bouncing around a couple of French clubs he finally settled in London with Chelsea a year into the Abramovich era. Scoring 100 goals in 8 years with the Blues, Drogba achieved cult status before leaving to join big spending Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua. However two years later, and after a stop off at Galatasaray in Turkey, Drogba rejoined Chelsea on a free transfer, featuring a further 28 times and adding 4 more goals to his tally. Despite his reunion with the Chelsea faithful being a short one, his legend continued and his final appearance saw him carried off by his teammates to a standing ovation.
Another in a long list of Spaniards who’ve made the Premier League their second home. Fabregas made his name at Arsenal becoming a regular starter under Arsene Wenger, the man who signed him from Barcelona. He was handed his first team debut in 2003, becoming the clubs youngest ever first team player and went on to make over 200 appearances for the Gunners before returning to his hometown for a fee initially in the region of €29m. He eventually made his Barcelona debut against Real Madrid after leaving Barca’s youth academy 8 years earlier. The midfielder won 6 trophies with team he grew up supporting before departing for Chelsea.
A career spent mainly in the south of England in and around London, Defoe has been a prolific goal scorer for every club he has played for. A 4 year stay at White Hart Lane came to an end in 2008 when he was sold to fellow Premier League side Portsmouth. Spurs fans however welcomed him back just a year later and Defoe rediscovered the form from his earlier days at the club scoring 47 goals in 135 appearances. Following a short stay in the MLS with Toronto, the striker returned to Tottenham for a third spell, this time on loan managing one goal from two games.
The crazy haired Brazilian defender divides opinion with every football fan. For some he is a modern day defender who enjoys having the ball at his feet, for others he’s over rated and an accident waiting to happen. Chelsea fans though took him to their hearts when he arrived at Stamford Bridge from Benfica in 2011. His performances, although inconsistent defensively, were impressive at times and he quickly fell in love with the club, winning the Champions League in 2012. He became the most expensive defender in the world when PSG came calling two years later with the French giants handing over £50m for his signature. In a surprise transfer deadline day move, David Luiz switched Paris for London two years later, and again committed his future to Chelsea. Under Antonio Conte the big defender found himself playing as part of a 3 man defense, a role he excelled at. Once again Chelsea fans were won over by his eccentricity and confidence with the ball, despite still managing the odd mistake they had been accustomed to with him.
For Klimenta, a Sacramento return could be just what the Montenegro international needs. Familiar surroundings with fans who adore him and an opportunity to play first team football is exactly what the 27 year old is looking for right now. A hungry Emrah Klimenta can only be good for Sacramento Republic at this stage of the season and with coach Elliott looking for an improvement on the pitch, the news of his latest signing will no doubt be a welcome boost to players and fans alike.