Five players who came back to haunt their old clubs as Van Persie prepares for Red Devils reunion
Lee Gormley | 20 October 2016
Players who came back to haunt their old clubs
The draw for Europa League Group A threw up some interesting match-ups for Fenerbahce frontman Robin van Persie, with the Dutchman’s current club having been selected alongside former employers Feyenoord and Manchester United as well as Zorya Luhansk.
Van Persie was key to the Red Devils claiming their 20th Premier League title in 2013, in what turned out to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge at Old Trafford. The all-time Netherlands top scorer struck 26 times that successful season and will return to his old stomping ground for the first time on Thursday night.
The now 33-year-old striker is 13/5 to net anytime on his Man Utd return and, ahead of his latest outing, Coral look back at five players who came back to haunt their old clubs…
Gabriel Batistuta v Fiorentina, 2001
Argentine ace Batistuta, his country’s all-time marksman until a certain Lionel Messi came along, became an icon in Florence, staying with Fiorentina after their relegation to help them return to the Serie A in 1994.
One of the greatest forwards in history, ‘Batigol’ dispatched 168 goals in 269 league outings for the Viola and even had a life-size bronze statue of himself built in 1996 for his contributions to the club.
But, having never won a league title with Fiorentina, Batistuta departed Florence for Roma, where he lifted the 2001 top-flight crown and along the way came back to haunt his previous club with a trademark screamer.
Robin van Persie v Arsenal, 2003
With Van Persie coming up against former employers Man Utd next after helping Fenerbahce overcome other past club Feyenoord earlier in their group campaign, the Dutchman will be seeking to make an impact on proceedings in front of the Old Trafford faithful.
It wouldn’t be the first time he has returned to haunt a former side, with the deadly Dutchman having delivered a bitter blow to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal back in 2013 when heading in the winner at Old Trafford during David Moyes’ short-lived reign. He had also netted the term prior on the way to their last title triumph.
Henrik Larsson v Celtic, 2004
Racking up an incredible 242 goals in 315 appearances for Celtic, Larsson wrote himself into the history books on the green half of Glasgow, earning four Scottish Premiership medals before a free transfer to Spanish giants Barcelona in 2004.
The Swedish sharpshooter soon returned to Parkhead in front of a rapturous crowd and he dealt the final blow in a 3-1 victory for the Catalans during a Champions League encounter. Of course, there was a limited celebration out of respect from the former Hoops hero.
Cristiano Ronaldo v Man Utd, 2013
Four years after Real Madrid made Ronaldo the world’s most expensive player in history at the time, the Portuguese superstar faced his former employers in a Champions League quarter-final clash at the Bernabeu.
The former Old Trafford hero leapt highest to head home the equaliser in an eventual 1-1 draw on home soil, before later netting the decisive strike in the return leg to send the Red Devils crashing out of Europe.
Frank Lampard v Chelsea, 2014
For 13 years Lampard was a key component for Chelsea as he rose from promising midfield talent to the club’s all-time goalscorer, helping the Londoners win no less than three top tier crowns, four FA Cups and their maiden Champions League trophy.
Although, after a breakdown in contract talks in 2014, Lampard soon joined rivals Manchester City and did the unthinkable the following campaign when scoring against Chelsea. The former England midfielder’s goal left the Stamford Bridge crowd in disbelief as he secured a late 1-1 draw for the Sky Blues.
Read our extensive Europa League section ahead of the latest set of midweek fixtures.
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