When a player leaves a club, especially a famous player, there’s always the risk that the supporters who waved them goodbye would regard them as a traitor.
Not every player who has achieved success in the Premier League has gone on to find fame outside of the United Kingdom. Many of the league’s best players left to play in another league, but they haven’t been able to replicate their form. Fortunately for them, the Premier League is still a feasible possibility for a return.
Over the years, a number of high-profile players have returned to their previous teams, the most recent being Lukaku and Ronaldo this summer.
Here are five Premier League players who have returned to their previous clubs.
- Thierry Henry
After eight years with Arsenal and two Premier League titles, including the ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003-04, Henry announced his departure.
In 2007, Barcelona snatched Henry’s attention, and he moved to the New York Red Bulls in 2010, ostensibly to end his career.
In 2012, he surprised Gooners by returning to the Emirates on a two-month loan to cover for injured Marouane Chamackh and Gervinho.
Henry scored the game-winning goal against Leeds in his second FA Cup appearance, then scored the game-winning goal against Sunderland in the last seconds of a 2-1 league victory.
- Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba was perhaps Chelsea’s greatest ever striker in the Premier League era, winning eight trophies during his first stay at the club, including three Premier League titles and the Champions League.
Before joining Shanghai Shenhua in 2012, he spent eight years in London.
Drogba joined Galatasaray after a year in China before rejoining Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team in 2014.
During his second career in England, the former Ivory Coast international only stayed for a year, yet he helped Chelsea win another Premier League title and the Football League Cup before relocating to Canada.
- David Luiz
David Luiz joined Chelsea from Benfica in 2011 and played a key role in their legendary Champions League victory in 2012, scoring one of the crucial penalties in a shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich.
PSG paid a world-record transfer fee (£50 million) for the Brazilian in 2014, and he spent two years with the French club before returning to Stamford Bridge.
After that, the centre-back won the Premier League and his second Europa League with the club.
- Romelu Lukaku
In the summer transfer window of 2021, Chelsea FC re-signed Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for a fee in the range of €115 million. The Belgian has become the club’s record signing after being brought in for a second spell in London.
Lukaku joined Chelsea in 2011 after being signed from RSC Anderlecht. Due to a lack of playing time in the senior team, the striker went on many loan spells.
He’ll attempt to repeat his Serie A heroics now that he’s back in the Premier League with Chelsea for another season.
- Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Manchester United in one of football’s most significant deals. The Portuguese was on the verge of joining Manchester City, but a last-minute offer from the Red Devils persuaded him to reconsider. Ronaldo exploded onto the scene and quickly established himself as a world-class player at Manchester United, a storey that is well-known.
The 36-year-old returns to Manchester United after a 12-year absence, having previously played for Real Madrid and Juventus. Ronaldo will now try to reclaim Manchester United’s lost glory.