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Eight of Europe's finest homecoming heroes

Published: Friday 6 January 2012, 13.36CET
Thierry Henry has rejoined Arsenal FC but he is by no means the first club stalwart to head back to the scene of past glories. remembers eight other returning heroes.

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Published: Friday 6 January 2012, 13.36CET

Eight of Europe's finest homecoming heroes

Thierry Henry has rejoined Arsenal FC but he is by no means the first club stalwart to head back to the scene of past glories. remembers eight other returning heroes.

Thierry Henry has rejoined Arsenal FC on a short-term deal, but the former Gunners captain is not the only club stalwart to have returned to his old stomping ground. takes a look at a few returning heroes, including Andriy Shevchenko, Marius Lăcătuş and Lukas Podolski, who have found the lure of their first love too strong to resist.

Fabien Barthez (Olympique de Marseille)
In his first spell at the Stade Vélodrome between 1992 and 1995 Barthez became France's No1 and won the 1993 UEFA Champions League. His maverick behaviour made him a fans' favourite before he left for AS Monaco FC and Manchester United FC, where he won a host of trophies and also claimed the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000 with Les Bleus. In January 2004 Barthez was loaned back to Marseille just in time to help them to the UEFA Cup final. They lost to Valencia CF, with the 'Divine Bald One' sent off late in the first half. Barthez remained for two further seasons, retiring after a brief spell at FC Nantes.

Marius Lăcătuş (FC Steaua Bucureşti)
In his first seven-year stint at Steaua, Lăcătuş won five league titles, three Romanian Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and the 1986 European Champion Clubs' Cup, when he scored the first penalty in the decisive shoot-out. In 1990 he moved to ACF Fiorentina and joined Real Oviedo the following season but by 1993 he was back with Steaua, remaining until the end of 1999 and winning five further championship titles and three more national cups.

Henrik Larsson (Helsingborgs IF)
Larsson's professional career began and ended at hometown club Helsingborg. His 34 goals in 31 games helped HIF back to the Swedish top flight in 1992 after a 24-year absence. A year later he left for Feyenoord and moved on to Celtic FC in 1997, where he won the 2001 Golden Shoe as Europe's leading scorer. Two glittering seasons at FC Barcelona brought a pair of Liga titles and the 2006 UEFA Champions League, before Larsson returned home. 'Henke' was still up for one more foreign challenge, spending ten weeks on loan at Manchester United FC in 2007 and helping them to the Premier League crown, though it was at Helsingborg that he played his last game.

Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
'Mr Köln' joined the club aged ten and scored ten goals in his first 19 games – a Bundesliga record for an 18-year-old. Though he could not prevent relegation, his 24 goals the next season led Köln back to the top flight. Podolski moved to FC Bayern München but despite helping the Bavarian giants clinch the 2007/08 league and cup double he never truly felt at home. Köln went to great lengths to help bring back 'Prinz Poldi' in 2009, raising €200,000 through a website on which fans bought pixels of his image. Further finance came from Podolski T-shirts and a choral recording of a song in his honour. After a underwhelming first season back at Köln, Podolski produced 13 goals and seven assists in his second and this term has been his best yet: 14 goals in 16 league fixtures.

Frank Rijkaard (AFC Ajax)
Rijkaard made his Ajax debut at 17 and went on to win three Eredivisie titles and the 1987 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. He left for a highly productive six-season spell at AC Milan where, along with Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten, he won successive European Champion Clubs' Cups, scoring the winner in the 1990 defeat of SL Benfica. Rijkaard, part of the Netherlands' 1988 UEFA European Championship-winning team, returned to Ajax in 1993 and forged an experienced partnership with Danny Blind in Louis van Gaal's young team. Two Dutch league titles followed but the icing on the cake came in 1995 when he set up Patrick Kluivert for the only goal of the UEFA Champions League final against Milan.

Ian Rush (Liverpool FC)
In seven years at Anfield Rush grew into one of the most lethal strikers to grace the English top flight. The Welsh international's goals were instrumental in Liverpool's domestic domination throughout the 1980s, helping the Reds clinch four league titles, one FA Cup and the 1984 European Champion Clubs' Cup. Rush endured a difficult season at Juventus before returning for eight more years, including Liverpool's last title in 1990 and two more FA Cups, taking his final goals to a record total of five and his overall total to a club record 346 goals in 660 appearances.

Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan/FC Dynamo Kyiv)
Between 1999 and 2006 Shevchenko became Milan's second-highest scorer, underlining his name in the club's annals by converting the deciding penalty in the 2003 UEFA Champions League final against Juventus. 'Sheva' helped Milan clinch the Scudetto in 2004, leaving two summers later for Chelsea FC. After a disappointing spell in England the Ukrainian international returned to the Rossoneri on loan in 2008/09. With Pato now sporting his old No7 shirt, the striker wore No76, but it brought no luck. Shevchenko failed to score in 18 Serie A matches and briefly returned to Chelsea before a more heralded comeback: for his first club, FC Dynamo Kyiv.

Hakan Şükür (Galatasaray AŞ)
In his prolific 20-year playing career Hakan became footballing royalty in his homeland; his 249 goals remain a Turkish Süper Lig record. After joining Galatasaray in 1992, his goals helped land back-to-back league titles and a Turkish Cup. A four-month stint at Torino FC preceded his best spell at Gala, where the 'Bull of the Bosphourus' won four successive league titles, three Turkish Cups and the 2000 UEFA Cup with the 'Dream Team'. After short-lived spells at FC Internazionale Milano, Parma FC and Blackburn Rovers FC, and having helped Turkey finish third at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Hakan returned for a third stint with the Istanbul giants, winning two more Süper Lig crowns and a Turkish Cup. Hakan is still Turkey's top scorer with 51 goals in 112 internationals.

Last updated: 06/12/13 3.25CET