There’s no place like home.
However, in footballing terms, players sometimes need to flee the nest in order to fulfill their potential. That’s what the following players decided to do, but in the end the lure of returning home proved too much to resist later down the line.
Here are six players who returned to their roots.
As far as exciting attackers in the modern game go, they don’t come much better than Marco Reus. The Borussia Dortmund star started his career in the club’s youth academy, but moved to little-known Rot Weiss Ahlen on a free transfer in 2006.
From there, he moved on to Borussia Mönchengladbach and confirmed his promise at the highest level, before Dortmund paid more than €17m to bring him back to Signal Iduna Park in 2012.
Reus has since been integral to the Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel carnations of BVB, and he remains there today despite constant links with a move to the Premier League.
It’s been a funny old career for Fernando Torres, hasn’t it? The Spaniard was spectacular coming through the ranks at Atletico Madrid and was even named club captain at 19.
Having turned down moves to Chelsea and Newcastle in his early twenties, Torres finally took the plunge and made a big move to Liverpool in 2007. He’d become one of the world’s most feared strikers during his time at Anfield, and Chelsea were so determined to sign him that they paid an at-the-time British record fee of £50m to land him four years later.
Needless to say, his time at Chelsea was underwhelming. Torres’ career suffered following an injury and he was unable to make amends in another poor spell in Milan following his departure from London.
Torres, though, returned home – albeit on loan – and has recaptured his scoring touch. He’s a shadow of the player he used to be, but he’s an experienced head who loves the club where it all started. He’s deserving of his place in Diego Simeone’s plans.
Another Spaniard familiar with Premier League football is Gerard Pique, who chose to flee Barcelona in favour of a move to Manchester United as a teenager.
It was hoped that Pique could become United’s leading central defender for the decade to follow, but ousting Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic from their positions as first-choice centre halves proved too difficult a challenge. It wasn’t all bad though, as Pique was part of United’s Champions League winning squad of 2008.
Barcelona, however, recognised that their former youth star was in desperate need of regular football, so new manager Pep Guardiola placed his faith in him. It proved to be a masterstroke.
Pique has been one of the mainstays of the most successful club side there’s ever been, winning six La Liga titles since his return, along with four Copa del Rey medals and a further three Champions League titles.
Talk about synonymous with success. And that’s not even speaking of the international medals he’s won.
Like his old mate Pique, Cesc Fabregas took the decision to leave Barcelona’s youth academy as a teenager. The midfielder, however, chose Arsenal as the club to start life as a professional, and he made quite the name for himself.
Fabregas impressed with his quality of passing and control of the game, while he was never shy of getting forward and grabbing a goal from midfield. Cesc is a Catalan boy at heart though, and he was unable to resist when his old club came calling in 2011.
He landed the first league title of his career with Barca in 2013, though all wasn’t going exactly to plan. As it turned out, Fabregas was not quite as happy as he’d hoped playing for his hometown club, and he requested a move away for the start of the 2014/15 season.
The now 29-year-old took the decision to return to London – but this time with Chelsea.
Mats Hummels is one of the world’s best central defenders. He made his name at Borussia Dortmund over the course of the last eight years, as he helped them to a couple of Bundesliga titles and other successes. But his career started at Bayern Munich.
After finding it difficult to break into the first team in Bavaria, Hummels was sent on loan to Dortmund in 2008 before signing for them permanently. He used the first team football opportunity to his advantage and grew into a commanding defender at the highest level, but just recently, his former club came calling again.
Bayern negotiated a deal with Dortmund to bring their former player back to Munich, with the deal completed earlier this summer.
The modern-day darling of Boca Juniors completed his homecoming last summer.
Carlos Tevez was hailed as one of the most promising youngsters in the world during his first spell with the Argentinian powerhouse-club, but his first couple of moves after leaving came as something of a surprise. First, he joined Corinthians, before making HUGE noise for joining West Ham United in 2006 alongside fellow countryman Javier Mascherano.
Tevez saved the Hammers from relegation in his only season at Upton Park, before finally getting his big move to Manchester United in 2007. After winning the Champions League, he controversially moved across town to Manchester City, and then to Juventus after falling out with management.
His spell in Turin was littered with trophies before he finally went through on his wish and returned to his old stomping ground in 2015. Tevez had previously spoken about it being his dream to retire in a Boca shirt, and we’re set to see it in the next few years.
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