By Matt Storey
Just two years on from scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final, Mario Gotze’s career has stagnated.
The German international has returned to Borussia Dortmund for a deal believed to be £20 million, just three years after leaving them for arch-rivals Bayern Munich in a deal worth £30 million.
Gotze will be hoping to rekindle his partnership with newly appointed Dortmund captain Marco Reus, and the famous “Yellow Wall” are sure to welcome back one of their favourite sons with open arms.
Meanwhile Paul Pogba looks set to return to Manchester United for over £100 million, having left for free just four years ago.
Fans will have high hopes about the players returning for a second spell. For Dortmund it’s a case of one of their own returning, whilst United fans have the chance to see the player Sir Alex Ferguson deemed not good enough grace the Old Trafford turf.
On top of these two Real Madrid have activated the buy-back clause in Alvaro Morata’s contract, with the player returning from Juventus after two years and 63 appearances for the Italian club. It is unclear however whether Morata is indeed a part of Zinedine Zidane’s plans or if he’ll be sold on to another club for a healthy profit.
But it don’t always go to plan second time round, we look at some successful and unsuccessful stories of players returning to their old club.
Didier Drogba – Chelsea hero Drogba returned to Stamford Bridge in 2014 just two years after leaving the club as a European Champion. The chance to link up with Jose Mourinho again was to good for the prolific striker to turn down and his seven goals across the season helped Chelsea with their first Premier League title in five years.
Nicholas Anelka – French forward Anelka left PSG for Arsenal in 1997, before moving to Real Madrid two years later. After becoming unsettled at the Spanish giants, PSG forked out over £20 million for the international striker. Despite showing glimpses of his talent on the pitch, Anelka fell out with manager Luis Fernandez and was loaned out to Liverpool after just one season.
Diego Maradona – Maradona played just one season for Boca Juniors at the start of the eighties but developed a close relationship with the fans after scoring the goal that gave Boca the Metropolitano Championship. Maradona left for Europe after the 1982 World Cup but always expressed his desire to return to Argentina and play for Boca again. He returned to Boca in 1994 whilst serving a 15-month suspension for drug abuse and had to wait until July 1995 to make his second debut for the club. The return was also short lived as Maradona sought help for drug abuse in late 1996 and never played a professional game again.
Nemanja Matic– Matic left Chelsea for Benfica in 2011 as part of the deal that saw David Luiz join the West-London side. Just three years later Jose Mourinho brought Matic back to Chelsea for £21.5 million and he proved a key player in the title-winning season. Although the recent signing of N’Golo Kante means he may well find chances limited again at Stamford Bridge.
At just 24-years-old Gotze has time on his side to reignite his career and ensure that he is remembered for more than just the winning goal.
Pogba seems to have all the attributes to become one of the worlds best and could dominate the Premier League if he does return.
For Morata it’s a case of taking the chance if he gets it and if he is moved on, he’ll surely get an opportunity to show Madrid fans what they’re missing at some point in the future.
The struggles of talented players such as Anelka should serve as a reminder to all three players however, that they must work hard to achieve their potential and if they do the rewards at their old clubs will be plentiful.