Carlos Tevez has expressed an interest in bringing Angel Di Maria back to Rosario Central after being confirmed as their new head coach, as he pledged to emulate former Juventus boss Antonio Conte upon entering the dugout.

Former Manchester United, Manchester City and Juve forward Tevez was appointed as Central's new boss on Tuesday, having ended his illustrious playing career earlier this month.

Speaking at his unveiling after signing a one-year contract with the four-time Argentinian champions, Tevez revealed his interest in coaching his former international team-mate Di Maria. 

Di Maria – who made 39 appearances for Central at the start of his career before heading to Europe with Benfica - is leaving Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer and has attracted interest from the Bianconeri, but Tevez plans on speaking with him soon.

"I haven't spoken to Di Maria", he said. "I barely have time to speak to my wife! I haven't spoken to her. 

"But who wouldn't like to have him? Di Maria means a lot to this club. When the situation calms down, I'll call him and ask him what he wants to do.

"We know him. He would bring a lot. He would bring his experience to young players. In addition to experience, he has great technical quality. He has played in the biggest clubs, it would be easy to be his trainer."

Di Maria is the fourth-most capped player in the history of the Argentina's national team with 122 appearances (after Lionel Messi with 162, Javier Mascherano with 147 and Javier Zanetti with 145), and will hope to appear at his fourth World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Meanwhile, Tevez won a remarkable 26 titles during his playing career, and featured under a host of big-name coaches including Alex Ferguson, Massimiliano Allegri and Roberto Mancini.

But the 38-year-old says Tottenham boss Conte, who signed him for Juventus in 2013, is his foremost coaching inspiration.

"When you stand on the other side of the line, the player dies, that's one way of putting it." He said. "You start to think differently, much colder. Today I am a coach and I like this profession. 

"I have a great reference who was Conte at Juventus, he was one of those who taught me the most as a player.

"I'm going to try to get the team to play at least a little bit, or half the way his team played."

Carlos Tevez is back in football as head coach of Argentinian side Rosario Central.

Former Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus forward Tevez, who began and ended his playing career with Boca Juniors, hung up his boots in early June.

His appointment with Rosario Central was confirmed on Tuesday as the 38-year-old was handed his first coaching job by the top flight club.

Tevez won a remarkable 26 titles in his career and is among only four Argentine players to win both CONMEBOL's Copa Libertadores and the Champions League, lifting the biggest prize in European club football with United in 2008.

He was a regular member of the Argentina national team for many years, featuring alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain, but missed out on the squad for the 2014 World Cup where the team finished as runners-up to Germany.

Four-time Argentinian champions Rosario Central revealed on Tuesday that Tevez has signed a one-year deal, announcing on Twitter: "The Apache becomes the new blue-gold coach, after signing a contract with the club for 12 months."

Prior to Tevez signing his contract, goalkeeper Gaspar Servio told TNT Sports: "For me, it's something special that Carlitos [Tevez] can come here. 

"If he does come here, the group will back him to the death."

Carlos Tevez could be set to take up his first head coaching role with Argentinian side Rosario Central, with the club's vice-president aiming to appoint the former forward next week.

Former Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus forward Tevez announced his retirement last month at the age of 38, citing the death of his father as the reason why he turned down offers to continue playing.

Tevez won a remarkable 26 titles in his career and is among only four Argentine players to win both the CONMEBOL Libertadores Cup and the Champions League, lifting the biggest prize in European club football with United in 2008.

The former striker played his final game for boyhood club Boca Juniors in 2021, but could now be set to return to his homeland in a coaching capacity after four-time Argentinian champions Rosario Central confirmed their ambition to appoint him.

Vice-president Ricardo Carloni told TyC Sports: "The board accepted a proposal put forward by Tevez's staff, and we are now moving forward with the negotiations.

"We will discuss it this weekend. The proposal was approved by the board. The idea is that if all goes well, we could have him by Tuesday."

Goalkeeper Gaspar Servio, meanwhile, is enthused by the prospect of working under Tevez, telling TNT Sports: "For me, it's something special that Carlitos [Tevez] can come here. 

"If he does come here, the group will back him to the death. I hope he comes. He has a lot of experience as a player, and we are all ready to learn and to help Central."

Carlos Tevez has confirmed his retirement from football at the age of 38, citing the death of his father as the reason why he turned down offers to continue playing.

Tevez enjoyed a glittering career, particularly in England where he played for both Manchester United and Manchester City.

As well as three separate spells at boyhood club Boca Juniors, he also spent time at Corinthians, West Ham United, Juventus and Shanghai Shenhua.

Tevez played his final game for Boca Juniors in 2021 before saying goodbye, though at the time he left the door open for a move to another team.

However, in quotes relayed by Mundo Albiceleste, Tevez said on Friday that even though he had received offers from Major League Soccer in the United States, he had stopped playing because he no longer had his "number one fan" after the passing of his father.

"I have retired, it's confirmed," he said. "They offered me many things, including from the United States. But that's it, I have given everything.

"Playing the last year was very difficult but I was able to see my old man. I stopped playing because I lost my number one fan."

Tevez won a remarkable 26 titles in his career and is among only four Argentine players to win both the CONMEBOL Libertadores Cup and the Champions League, lifting the biggest prize in European club football with United in 2008.

He also played at two World Cups for Argentina, in 2006 and 2010.

Real Madrid should be worried by the prospect of facing Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals, according to former Etihad Stadium hero Carlos Tevez.

City beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 on aggregate to tee up the last-four meeting with Carlo Ancelotti's men, who edged past Chelsea to move one step away from the final.

Madrid visit Manchester on Tuesday for the first-leg clash, having failed to win on any of their previous three trips to face City in European competition (D2 L1).

The most recent two clashes came in the Champions League knockout stages, with Madrid drawing 0-0 in the 2015-16 semi-final first leg and losing 2-1 in the 2019-20 last-16 second leg, and Tevez believes Pep Guardiola's side are in a strong position.

Madrid have won the Champions League/European Cup on 13 occasions, while City are chasing their first such title, but the Premier League side cannot be considered underdogs given their current strength.

"Nowadays it is completely different. Today, Real Madrid are the one that have to be concerned about facing City," former Argentina international Tevez told City's official website.

"This is the advantage that City now have. Today, the opponents have to look at what City are capable to do.

"With the players we have now and the infrastructure City have been building during the years we can fight as equals against any team in Europe."

Tevez scored 58 times in 113 outings for City between 2009 and 2013 after swapping Manchester United for the blue side of the city, and he is delighted to see his old team competing at the highest level in Europe.

"It's a 50/50 tie," he said of the clash with Madrid. "I'm very happy to see City in this position, fighting against the greatest teams in Europe.

"It has not been possible to win the Champions League yet, but I think the most important thing is that after 10 years City are playing as equals against teams like Real Madrid and as it did on the last tie against Atletico."

Tevez said such progress was "very gratifying".

"We have gone from fighting in the middle of the league table to doing on an equal footing with the biggest [in Europe]," he said. "It is an achievement that we all must feel proud."

Guardiola will be aiming to become the first manager to eliminate Madrid from the Champions League on three occasions, having previously done so with Barcelona in the 2010-11 semi-finals and at City in 2019-20.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing back at Old Trafford in 2021-22 after Manchester United confirmed his signing from Juventus.

The Portugal great has returned in a deal worth up to €23million (£19.7m), which was sensationally agreed with Juve on Friday.

For a short while, it looked as though Ronaldo – who had asked to leave the Bianconeri – was heading to Manchester City after they missed out on the signing of Harry Kane.

Instead, he is heading back to the red side of Manchester.

With the deal now finalised, Stats Perform takes a look at other greats who went back to their former homes, starting with the Portugal captain...

Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United

Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford during his previous spell, arriving as a lanky teenager who loved a stepover and leaving as a Ballon d'Or winner and ice-cold finisher. His then-world-record move to Real Madrid had been a long time coming and he spent nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu, becoming the club's all-time top scorer as he continued his transition from winger to out-and-out 'number nine'. There he won four Champions League titles before moving on to Juve, for whom he plundered 81 goals in 98 Serie A matches and picked up two Scudetti. But now he is returning to England. Whether he can match the standards he set last time remains to be seen, with his 31-goal haul of 2007-08 only bettered once in a 38-match season, but United fans will be convinced he can fire them to a first league title since Ferguson left.

Juan Roman Riquelme – Boca Juniors

Synonymous with Boca Juniors, Riquelme made his professional debut for the Buenos Aires giants and returned to the club for the majority of his final years as a player, following spells with Barcelona and Villarreal. After a breakdown in his relationship with Manuel Pellegrini, Riquelme – the classic number 10 – returned to Boca initially on loan in 2007, going on to stay until 2014. He helped Boca win the Copa Libertadores in 2007, the Recopa Sudamericana a year later, Apertura titles in 2008 and 2011 and the Copa Argentina in 2011-12. He is currently Boca's vice-president.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Milan

After a difficult spell under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, Ibrahimovic – who had excelled at both Juventus and Inter – moved back to Italy, joining the Nerrazurri's city rivals Milan on loan for 2010-11. He became an instant star for the Rossoneri, picking up where he left off in Italy with 21 goals, a tally he bettered in 2011-12, scoring 35 times in all competitions. Paris Saint-Germain came calling and he went on to become the Ligue 1 giants' record goalscorer (a title now held by Edinson Cavani), before joining Manchester United and LA Galaxy. Despite being in his late 30s, Ibrahimovic still had more to offer and rejoined Milan for the back half of the 2019-20 campaign, netting 11 goals. He carried on his form into an injury hit 2020-21, scoring a further 16 times, and he is set to be a pivotal figure at San Siro once again this season.

Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea

Part of United's reasoning behind signing Ronaldo was to perhaps ensure they kept pace with their title rivals. For the past two seasons, Ronaldo has gone head-to-head with Lukaku in Serie A. Though Ronaldo won the battle last season, scoring 29 league goals, compared to Lukaku's 24, it was the Belgian who won the war by leading Inter to the title, and now the duo will face off again in the Premier League after Chelsea smashed their transfer record to re-sign the 28-year-old 10 years on from his initial arrival from Anderlecht. Lukaku did not manage to push himself into the starting XI back then and was loaned out to West Brom and Everton, before moving to Goodison Park on a permanent deal in 2014. He returns to Stamford Bridge as the complete package, however, and bullied Arsenal's defence on his second debut, scoring the opener in a 2-0 win for the European champions.

Didier Drogba – Chelsea

Part of the allure for Lukaku returning to Chelsea was to emulate his icon Drogba, who left Stamford Bridge after helping the Blues clinch a Champions League crown in 2012. The Ivorian went back to west London in the 2014-15 season, with Drogba explaining he could not turn down the chance to work with Jose Mourinho once again. He scored four league goals in 28 appearances to help Chelsea win the title, before heading off for a swansong in MLS with the Montreal Impact.

Thierry Henry – Arsenal

Another Premier League great, Henry rejoined Arsenal on a short-term loan deal at the start of 2012. He scored on his second debut against Leeds United in the FA Cup, converting his only attempt of the game in a 22-minute cameo from the bench. He went on to play a further six times, scoring in the Premier League against Sunderland, before he returned to the New York Red Bulls to round off a wonderful career.

Carlos Tevez – Boca Juniors

The Tevez-Boca love affair has dominated most of the striker's complex career. After coming through their youth ranks, the feisty forward was seen as the heir to Maradona. A brief stint in Brazil with Corinthians followed, but Europe had long since beckoned, even if West Ham were by no means the expected destination. He went on to play for Man United and City, increasing tension between the clubs, before then going to Juventus, but throughout this time Tevez seemed to long for a return to Boca. He went back to La Bombonera in 2015, his homecoming interrupted by a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in 2017 in the Chinese Super League, though even Tevez acknowledged he saw his time in China as a "holiday". "He filled Santa's sack with dollars and now he has returned to Boca," was Maradona's assessment upon the forward's return from the CSL. His third spell with Boca ended in June 2021 and it remains to be seen if he ever plays for another club.

Wayne Rooney – Everton

With Lukaku joining Man United in 2017, it opened the door for Everton to bring back Rooney, who had left his boyhood club in 2004 on the back of a stellar performance at Euro 2004. Then just 18, Rooney went on to become United's record goalscorer – and England's, too – and he returned to Goodison Park for the 2017-18 season. He scored on his league debut, heading in the winner against Stoke City, and though he netted 11 times in total for the Toffees, a difficult season saw Ronald Koeman sacked and replaced with Sam Allardyce, who was subsequently shuffled out of the door for Marco Silva. With Everton looking to go in a new direction, Rooney left to join MLS side DC United in 2018.

Gianluigi Buffon – Parma

Buffon likes a comeback. Having returned for a second spell at Juventus in 2019, the goalkeeping great departed the club for a second time at the end of 2020-21. The Italy legend had not finished playing yet, though, and Parma quickly emerged as a potential destination despite their relegation to Serie B. After a few weeks of contemplation, it was confirmed that Buffon was heading back to the club where he made his name. Now 43, the iconic stopper is wearing Gialloblu for the first time in 20 years, and he is set to remain with them until he turns 45, given he signed a two-year contract. What happens after that is anyone's guess, but calling it a day with his first club could be a satisfyingly romantic conclusion to a remarkable career – that or he ends up at Juve again!

He is back where he belongs.
He is back home. #SupermanReturns @gianluigibuffon @Kyle_J_Krause @ParmaCalcio_en pic.twitter.com/bh2FO6P8YX

— Parma Calcio 1913 (@1913parmacalcio) June 17, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to be playing back at Old Trafford again in 2021-22 after Manchester United confirmed they have reached an agreement with Juventus for the transfer of the Portugal great.

While personal terms, a medical and visa are still to be sorted out for Ronaldo, it would take something remarkable to stop him from joining now after a deal reportedly worth up to €23million (£19.7m) was agreed with Juve on Friday.

For a short while it looked as though Ronaldo – who had asked to leave the Bianconeri – was heading to Manchester City after they missed out on the signing of Harry Kane.

But apparent interventions from Ronaldo's former United manager Alex Ferguson and old team-mate Rio Ferdinand may have swung the race in the Red Devils' favour.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemed to open the door to Ronaldo during his news conference on Friday, and just a few hours later United confirmed a deal had been struck with Juventus.

Following confirmation of the deal, Stats Perform takes a look at greats who went back to their spiritual home, starting with the Portugal captain…

Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United

Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford during his last spell, arriving as a lanky teenager who probably averaged four stepovers per minute before leaving as a Ballon d'Or winner and an ice-cold finisher. His then-world record move to Real Madrid had been a long time coming and he spent nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu, becoming the club's all-time top scorer as he continued his transition from winger to out-and-out 'number nine'. There he won four Champions League titles before moving on to Juve, for whom he plundered 81 goals in 98 Serie A matches and picked up two Scudetti. But now he is all set for a return to England – whether he can match the standards he set last time remains to be seen, with his 31-goal haul of 2007-08 only bettered once in a 38-match season, though United fans will be convinced he can fire them to a first league title since Ferguson left.

 

Arjen Robben – Groningen

Robben's first retirement lasted just a single season, having announced last year he would be returning to his boyhood club Groningen for the 2020-21 campaign. Robben, now 37, initially brought an illustrious playing career to an end in July 2019 shortly after his 10-year spell with Bayern Munich finished. Although at the time he was linked with a potential return to the team that gave him his professional debut, Robben – who suffered with numerous injury problems throughout his career – opted to retire. He then caused something of a shock as he finally went back to the place where it all began, but once again injuries blighted his availability, restricting him to just seven Eredivisie appearances in 2020-21. Club director Mark-Jan Fledderus wanted him to stay on for another year, but when Robben said at the end of the season that he was going to have a long think about his future, the writing was seemingly on the wall. Another U-turn appears unlikely.

Juan Roman Riquelme – Argentinos Juniors

Perhaps more synonymous with Boca Juniors, where he made his professional debut and also spent most of his final years, Riquelme also had a strong affinity with Argentinos Juniors. He came through the club's academy in the early-to-mid 1990s, before then finishing his immense career at Estadio Diego Maradona in 2014, having also played for Barcelona, Villarreal and Argentina. Although the iconic attacking midfielder appeared close to joining Paraguay's Cerro Porteno the following year, the move never materialised.

Dirk Kuyt – Quick Boys

Kuyt briefly came out of retirement three years ago to help Quick Boys, with whom he spent 13 years as a youth. Playing in the Derde Divisie Saturday league, Kuyt was already working as assistant at the time, but made himself available for selection during a striker shortage and he made three appearances. The former Netherlands and Liverpool forward had retired the year before following a second spell with Feyenoord, where he had made his initial breakthrough in the mid-2000s, his form at the time earning a move to Anfield.

Rafael Marquez – Atlas

One of Mexico's greatest players, Marquez's longevity at such a high level was nothing short of incredible, as he accumulated 147 international caps. After breaking into the Atlas team as a teenager having come through their academy, the elegant centre-back enjoyed a sparkling career in Europe, winning 14 titles across spells with Monaco and Barcelona. Time with New York Red Bulls, Leon and Hellas Verona followed, before a final two-year stint back at the Jalisco ended in 2018. Although plagued by off-field allegations towards the end of his career, Marquez went on to become the club's sporting president, before standing down last in 2019 to focus on other areas of the sport. He was expected to be taking up a youth coaching role at Barca this season, but the deal ultimately fell through.

Henrik Larsson – Hogaborgs

While the Swedish club most may associate with Larsson is Helsingborgs, he actually made the breakthrough at a smaller side – Hogaborgs. It was here where he trained from the age of six, before eventually becoming a regular in the senior side and earning a move away. A trophy laden career followed, taking him to Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United. Although he retired in 2009, he returned to the pitch for Raa in the Swedish third tier three years later, before then finding himself back in the team at Hogaborgs in 2013, helping out due to an injury crisis despite him only previously being registered to a casual team for 'seniors'. This gave him the chance to play alongside his son, Jordan.

Carlos Tevez – Boca Juniors

The Tevez-Boca love affair has dominated most of the striker's successful and complex career. After coming through their youth ranks, the feisty forward was seen as the heir to Maradona. A brief stint in Brazil with Corinthians followed, but Europe had long since beckoned, even if West Ham was by no means the expected destination. He went on to play for Man Utd and City, increasing tension between the clubs, before then going to Juventus, but throughout this time Tevez seemed to long for a return to Boca. He went back to La Bombonera in 2015, his homecoming interrupted by a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in 2017 in the Chinese Super League, though even Tevez acknowledged he saw his time in China as a "holiday". "He filled Santa's sack with dollars and now he has returned to Boca," was Maradona's assessment upon 'El Apache's' return from the CSL. His third spell with Boca ended in June 2021 and it remains to be seen if he ever plays for another club.

Gianluigi Buffon – Parma

Buffon likes a comeback. Having returned for a second spell at Juventus in 2019, the goalkeeping great departed the club for a second time at the end of 2020-21. The Italy legend suggested he had not finished playing yet and Parma quickly emerged as a potential destination despite their recent relegation to Serie B. After a few weeks of contemplation, it was confirmed that Buffon was heading back to the club where he made his name. Now 43, the iconic stopper is wearing Gialloblu for the first time in 20 years, and he is set to remain with them until he turns 45, given he signed a two-year contract. What happens after that is anyone's guess but calling it a day with his first club could be a satisfyingly romantic conclusion to a remarkable career – that or he ends up at Juve again!

He is back where he belongs.
He is back home. #SupermanReturns @gianluigibuffon @Kyle_J_Krause @ParmaCalcio_en pic.twitter.com/bh2FO6P8YX

— Parma Calcio 1913 (@1913parmacalcio) June 17, 2021

Arjen Robben's playing days are officially over (again), with the Bayern Munich and Netherlands great confirming on Thursday that he is hanging up his boots.

Of course, this is not the first time Robben has made such a decision – he initially retired in 2019 after a decade with Bayern before returning to his first club Groningen.

Although the fairy-tale conclusion he may have hoped for never quite materialised, ending his career where it all began has seen his playing days come full circle.

In honour of Robben's retirement, Stats Perform takes a look at greats who have gone back to their spiritual home in the twilight stages, starting with an overview of the king of inverted wingers…

Arjen Robben - Groningen

Robben's first retirement lasted just a single season, having announced last year he would be returning to his boyhood club Groningen for the 2020-21 campaign. Robben, now 37, initially brought an illustrious playing career to an end in July 2019 shortly after his 10-year spell with Bayern finished. Although at the time he was linked with a potential return to the team that gave him his professional debut, Robben – who suffered with numerous injury problems throughout his career – opted to retire. He then caused something of a shock as he finally went back to the place where it all began, but once again injuries blighted his availability, restricting him to just seven Eredivisie appearances. Club director Mark-Jan Fledderus wanted him to stay on for another year, but when Robben said at the end of the season that he was going to have a long think about his future, the writing was seemingly on the wall. Another U-turn appears unlikely.

Juan Roman Riquelme - Argentinos Juniors

Perhaps more synonymous with Boca Juniors, where he made his professional debut and also spent most of his final years, Riquelme also had a strong affinity with Argentinos Juniors. He came through the club's academy in the early-to-mid 1990s, before then finishing his immense career at Estadio Diego Maradona in 2014, having also played for Barcelona, Villarreal and Argentina. Although the iconic attacking midfielder appeared close to joining Paraguay's Cerro Porteno the following year, the move never materialised.

Dirk Kuyt - Quick Boys

Kuyt briefly came out of retirement three years ago to help Quick Boys, with whom he spent 13 years as a youth. Playing in the Derde Divisie Saturday league, Kuyt was already working as assistant at the time, but made himself available for selection during a striker shortage and he made three appearances. The former Netherlands and Liverpool forward had retired the year before following a second spell with Feyenoord, where he had made his initial breakthrough in the mid-2000s, his form at the time earning a move to Anfield.

Rafael Marquez - Atlas

One of Mexico's greatest players, Marquez's longevity at such a high level was nothing short of incredible, as he accumulated 147 international caps. After breaking into the Atlas team as a teenager having come through their academy, the elegant centre-back enjoyed a sparkling career in Europe, winning 14 titles across spells with Monaco and Barcelona. Time with New York Red Bulls, Leon and Hellas Verona followed, before a final two-year stint back at the Jalisco ended in 2018. Although plagued by off-field allegations towards the end of his career, Marquez went on to become the club's sporting president, before standing down last in 2019 to focus on other areas of the sport. He is expected to be taking up a youth coaching role at Barca next season.

Juan Pablo Angel - Atletico Nacional

Angel perhaps never quite lived up to the expectations he set during his early days as part of River Plate's so-called 'Fantastic Four' with Javier Saviola, Ariel Ortega and Pablo Aimar, having joined from Colombia's Nacional. Nevertheless, he became a fan favourite at Aston Villa in the Premier League, before spending six years in MLS with New York Red Bulls, Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. In 2013 he returned to Nacional for two seasons, having left them in 1997. He called it quits in late 2014, just a few days after losing to his former club River in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. "I am ending my career with a final between the two clubs I love the most," he said.

Henrik Larsson - Hogaborgs

While the Swedish club most may associate with Larsson is Helsingborgs, he actually made the breakthrough at a smaller side – Hogaborgs. It was here where he trained from the age of six, before eventually becoming a regular in the senior side and earning a move to Helsingborgs. A trophy-laden career followed, taking him to Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United. Although he retired in 2009, he returned to the pitch for Raa in the Swedish third tier three years later, before then finding himself back in the team at Hogaborgs in 2013, helping out due to an injury crisis despite him only previously being registered to a casual team for 'seniors'. This gave him the chance to play alongside his son, Jordan.

Carlos Tevez - Boca Juniors

The Tevez-Boca love affair has dominated most of the striker's successful and complex career. After coming through their youth ranks, the feisty forward was seen as the heir to Maradona. A brief stint in Brazil with Corinthians followed, but Europe had long since beckoned, even if West Ham was by no means the expected destination. He went on to play for Manchester United and Manchester City, increasing tension between the clubs, before then going to Juventus, but throughout this time Tevez seemed to long for a return to Boca. He went back to La Bombonera in 2015, his homecoming interrupted by a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in 2017 in the Chinese Super League, though even Tevez acknowledged he saw his time in China as a "holiday". "He filled Santa's sack with dollars and now he has returned to Boca" was Maradona's assessment upon 'El Apache's' return from the CSL. His third spell with Boca ended in June 2021, though it remains to be seen if he ever plays for another club.

Gianluigi Buffon - Parma

Okay, he is not technically retired yet, so perhaps Buffon does not strictly qualify here. However, after departing Juventus for the second time at the end of 2020-21, the Italy great suggested he had not finished playing just yet. Parma quickly emerged as a potential destination despite their recent relegation to Serie B, and after a few weeks of contemplation, it was confirmed that Buffon was heading back to the club. Now 43, the iconic goalkeeper will wear the Gialloblu for the first time in 20 years, and he is set to remain with them until he turns 45, given he signed a two-year contract. What happens after that is anyone's guess but calling it a day with his first club could be a satisfyingly romantic conclusion.

He is back where he belongs.
He is back home. #SupermanReturns @gianluigibuffon @Kyle_J_Krause @ParmaCalcio_en pic.twitter.com/bh2FO6P8YX

— Parma Calcio 1913 (@1913parmacalcio) June 17, 2021

Liverpool are reportedly leading the race to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez.

Saul has five years remaining on his contract with the LaLiga champions, but could be on the move ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Jurgen Klopp may have competition to land the 26-year-old, with Barcelona said to be interested in a stunning swap deal which would see Antoine Griezmann return to the capital.

 

TOP STORY - SAUL IN DEMAND

Liverpool have lined up a move for Saul Niguez and are willing to fork out £35million to get their man, according to AS.

The Reds are in the market for a central midfielder after losing Georginio Wijnaldum, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain after his contract expired.

Saul is thought to be the man Jurgen Klopp has identified to fill the void left by Wijnaldum, although Football Espana claim Atletico Madrid and Barcelona could be open to a swap deal, with Antoine Griezmann returning to his former club and Saul joining the Catalan giants.

 

ROUND-UP

- Juventus will step up their attempts to sign Manuel Locatelli are are will to pay €40m for the Sassuolo and Italy midfielder (La Gazzetta dello Sport).

- Arsenal have raised their offer for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White to an initial £48m plus a possible additional £6m in add-ons, according to The Star.

- Chelsea outcast Emerson Palmieri is a target for Napoli and Roma, but Calciomercato say the Serie A clubs are not willing to pay the €20m asking price.

Felipe Anderson is poised to rejoin Lazio from West Ham and will undergo a medical on Saturday. (Sky Sport Italia, Sportitalia and Tuttomercatoweb).

- Former Argentina striker Carlos Tevez has received three offers to finish his career in the MLS following his Boca Juniors exit. (ESPN Deportes) 

In a move that football purists, romanticists and aficionados of 1990s Serie A will be excited by, Gianluigi Buffon is returning to Parma after 20 years away.

Buffon came through the club's academy in the early '90s and made 220 appearances for them in all competitions, winning the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and UEFA Cup during a six-year spell in the first-team.

Juventus made Buffon the world's most-expensive goalkeeper at the time when they paid €52million for him in 2001 and he played 685 times for them across two spells, 20 short of Alessandro Del Piero's club record.

Nevertheless, Buffon's longevity has ensured he is the record holder for the most Serie A appearances (657) and titles (10) in the league's history.

After leaving Juve at the end of the 2020-21 season, it was unclear what would be next for Buffon, but links with Parma began to stir despite their relegation to Serie B.

And on Thursday the club confirmed Buffon is back. While the days of challenging for major honours are long gone for Parma, the goalkeeping great represents a coup and the kind of transfer that tugs at heartstrings.

In honour of Buffon's momentous return, Stats Perform takes a look at other greats who've gone back to their spiritual home to close out their career.

Arjen Robben - Groningen

Arjen Robben's retirement lasted just a single season, as the Netherlands and Bayern Munich great announced last year that he was returning to his boyhood club Groningen for the 2020-21 campaign. Robben, now 37, initially brought an illustrious playing career to an end in July 2019 shortly after his 10-year spell with Bayern finished. Although at the time he was linked with a potential return to the team that gave him his professional debut, Robben – who suffered with numerous injury problems throughout his career – opted to retire. He then caused something of a shock as he finally went back to the place where it all began, but once again injuries blighted his season, restricting him to just seven Eredivisie appearances. It's unclear if he'll play on into 2021-22, though either way it's safe to assume Groningen will be where he retires once and for all.

Juan Roman Riquelme - Argentinos Juniors

Perhaps more synonymous with Boca Juniors, where he made his professional debut and also spent most of his final years, Riquelme also had a strong affinity with Argentinos Juniors. He came through the club's academy in the early-to-mid 1990s, before then finishing his immense career at Estadio Diego Maradona in 2014, having also played for Barcelona, Villarreal and Argentina. Although the iconic attacking midfielder appeared close to joining Paraguay's Cerro Porteno the following year, the move never materialised.

Dirk Kuyt - Quick Boys

Kuyt briefly came out of retirement three years ago to help Quick Boys, with whom he spent 13 years as a youth. Playing in the Derde Divisie Saturday league, Kuyt was already working as assistant at the time, but made himself available for selection during a striker shortage and he made three appearances. The former Netherlands and Liverpool forward had retired the year before following a second spell with Feyenoord, where he had made his initial breakthrough in the mid-2000s, his form at the time earning a move to Anfield.

Rafael Marquez - Atlas

One of Mexico's greatest players, Marquez's longevity at such a high level was nothing short of incredible, as he accumulated 147 international caps. After breaking into the Atlas team as a teenager having come through their academy, the elegant centre-back enjoyed a sparkling career in Europe, winning 14 titles across spells with Monaco and Barcelona. Time with New York Red Bulls, Leon and Hellas Verona followed, before a final two-year stint back at the Jalisco ended in 2018. Although plagued by off-field allegations towards the end of his career, Marquez went on to become the club's sporting president, before standing down last in 2019 to focus on other areas of the sport. He is expected to be taking up a youth coaching role at Barca next season.

Juan Pablo Angel - Atletico Nacional

Angel perhaps never quite lived up to the expectations he set during his early days as part of River Plate's so-called 'Fantastic Four' with Javier Saviola, Ariel Ortega and Pablo Aimar, having joined from Colombia's Nacional. Nevertheless, he became a fan favourite at Aston Villa in the Premier League, before spending six years in MLS with New York Red Bulls, Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. In 2013 he returned to Nacional for two seasons, having left them in 1997. He called it quits in late 2014, just a few days after losing to his former club River in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. "I am ending my career with a final between the two clubs I love the most," he said.

Henrik Larsson - Hogaborgs

While the Swedish club most may associate with Larsson is Helsingborgs, he actually made the breakthrough at a smaller side – Hogaborgs. It was here where he trained from the age of six, before eventually becoming a regular in the senior side and earning a move to Helsingborgs. A trophy-laden career followed, taking him to Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United. Although he retired in 2009, he returned to the pitch for Raa in the Swedish third tier three years later, before then finding himself back in the team at Hogaborgs in 2013, helping out due to an injury crisis despite him only previously being registered to a casual team for 'seniors'. This gave him the chance to play alongside his son, Jordan.

Carlos Tevez - Boca Juniors

The Tevez-Boca love affair has dominated most of the striker's successful and complex career. After coming through their youth ranks, the feisty forward was seen as the heir to Maradona. A brief stint in Brazil with Corinthians followed, but Europe had long since beckoned, even if West Ham was by no means the expected destination. He went on to play for Manchester United and Manchester City, increasing tension between the clubs, before then going to Juventus, but throughout this time Tevez seemed to long for a return to Boca. He went back to La Bombonera in 2015, his homecoming interrupted by a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in 2017 in the Chinese Super League, though even Tevez acknowledged he saw his time in China as a "holiday". "He filled Santa's sack with dollars and now he has returned to Boca" was Maradona's assessment upon 'El Apache's' return from the CSL. His third spell with Boca ended in June 2021, though it remains to be seen if he ever plays for another club.

Carlos Tevez says he has played his last game for Boca Juniors as the striker has nothing more to give his boyhood club.

Tevez returned for a third spell with Boca in 2018 and helped the famous club win the Argentinian Primera Division title last year.

There were reports that Tevez, who was rocked by the death of his father in February, would retire on Friday but the 37-year-old revealed he was leaving Boca rather than calling time on his career.

The former Argentina international, who made his Boca debut aged 16, said: "I thought this moment would never come, but here I am. It will be very difficult to speak to them [Boca fans], but here I am to tell them that I will not continue at the club.

"It is not a farewell, but a see you soon, because I will always be there for the fan and for the Xeneize people, no longer as a player, but as the Carlitos of the people.

"Tell them that I am full and full with this decision because I no longer have anything else to give, as a player I gave it and for that I am happy. Boca always needs me 120 per cent and I am not mentally prepared to give them that.

"For me Boca is the best club in the world, my dad, my brothers, my mom, my wife and my children are from Boca and I can't lie to them and neither to the fans. For all this it is my decision, purely and exclusively mine, this is the truth of my decision."

Tevez, who scored three goals for Boca last season, said he has not had time to mourn the passing of his father.

"Boca leads you to give much more than the maximum and I am not in a mental condition to give it, because the truth is that I did not have time to do the duel for my father and I was already playing again, that is the requirement of Boca," he said.

"I want to thank the leadership, my team-mates and all the people of the club who work to make this club bigger and bigger.

"Many people asked me to stay until December and wait for people to return to the stadiums, that that would fill me up a little more, but that is what they want and it was very difficult for me.

"My greatest joy and satisfaction is the best memory I can have, the last time we saw each other and people shouted like crazy 'Boca Champion' and the children, parents and grandparents hugged, there is nothing more beautiful than that image.

"The last ovation to [Diego] Maradona on a pitch and the last time my dad saw me playing ball and become champion, the last time I saw my dad cry with joy because always and since the day I was born, I was born from Boca and I will die from Boca.

"There is nothing more beautiful and I do not need anything else to be happy. Xeneizes people I have no words to thank you. So much affection that I do not know if I deserve, the only thing I know is that my blood is not red, my blood is blue and yellow."

Former Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus frontman Tevez won 11 major titles for the Xeneize, the latest at the start of this year in the Copa Diego Armando Maradona where he created the decisive goal.

He is seventh on the list of most titles won for Boca and the club's 10th-highest scorer of all time with 94 from 279 matches.

Tevez has won a staggering 26 titles in his career and is among only four Argentine players to win both the CONMEBOL Libertadores Cup and the Champions League, lifting the biggest prize in European club football with United.

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