Let us take a look at some players who returned to their old clubs as massive flops. The dream for most players is to eventually go back to the club they became famous at. The one thing most do not want though is to go back after failing to make an impact at the team you moved to.
These are 10 Players Who Returned To Their Old Clubs as massive flops
1. Jadon Sancho
First, we have the most recent addition to this list as Jadon Sancho will be on his way back to Borussia Dortmund. The move may have already become official when this is out. The winger was a big-money signing in the summer of 2021 and was thought to be someone Manchester United would build their team around.
He failed to make much of an impact since then as his performances left many people asking for more. He has only played 76 minutes of competitive football this season and fell out with Ten Hag leading to United having no other choice but to move him on. Dortmund on loan seems the most logical solution as it might help reignite the Englishman.
2. Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku was in the conversation of the best striker in the world in 2021 as he helped lead Inter Milan to a Serie A title. This prompted his move back to Chelsea for an eye-watering €115 million looking to take them back to the top.
It didn’t go to plan though as despite starting out fairly well, the Belgian found life very hard back at Stamford Bridge. Scoring just 8 goals in 26 appearances, he was soon on his way out the door back to Inter on loan.
3. Timo Werner
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Another player ruined by Chelsea is Timo Werner. He was heralded for his hard work but never reached the goal-scoring heights he had back at Leipzig. As such, Chelsea fans grew increasingly tired of him leaving his confidence as low as ever. This eventually led Tuchel to make the decision to move Werner on just two seasons after they initially signed him.
RB Leipzig jumped back in to acquire the German for half the price they sold him for thinking they could get him back to his best. That hasn’t happened though as he is already on the move again this January, back to the Premier League.
4. Fernando Torres
We’re not done with Chelsea yet as their biggest flop of all time is up next, Fernando Torres. After beginning his career at the club, Fernando Torres left Atletico Madrid as a 23-year-old before returning eight years later after a rollercoaster career. The Spaniard spent time in England, winning a host of trophies before injuries took their toll, prompting Torres to wind down his career back where it started.
He had a great time at Liverpool but then after joining Chelsea, it all went downhill for him. He would leave the club as a massive flop before eventually finding his way back to the Spanish capital where he spent another four seasons.
5. Antoine Griezmann
A player who probably wishes he never left Atletico is up next in Antoine Griezmann. He decided to join league rivals Barcelona in 2019 for a large fee thinking he would be able to win even more silverware there. His dreams were quickly dashed though as it became apparent he and Messi had trouble playing in the same team.
He ended up scoring just 35 goals for Barca in 102 appearances and only won the Copa Del Rey. He would soon find his way back to Atletico first on loan and then permanently where he has gone back to being one of the best players in the league.
6. Luka Jovic
Now on the other side of Madrid, we have Luka Jovic who joined Los Blancos in the summer of 2019 from Eintracht Frankfurt. He made only eight starts and played just 806 minutes in total during the 2019-20 campaign, scoring a meager two goals and assisting twice more. Injuries, off-the-field problems, and a lack of opportunities also hurt the Serbian massively under Zidane.
This eventually led him back to Frankfurt on loan where he failed to find the form that had made him a phenomenon. Moves to Fiorentina and now AC Milan beckoned and at 26, he finally seems to be getting back into good form.
7. Wilfried Zaha
Back to England now as in 2013, United moved to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace for £15m – Sir Alex Ferguson’s final acquisition for the club. A year later he found himself out of favor under new boss David Moyes and was loaned out to Cardiff City. Zaha would later say he never felt he was given a fair chance at Old Trafford.
He was then later loaned to Palace and then re-signed permanently, becoming an icon at the club across a decade at Selhurst Park – earning a status he was never offered the opportunity to achieve at Old Trafford.
8. Radamel Falcao
Another player who suffered at the hands of Manchester United was Radamel Falcao. On loan from Monaco, Falcao really struggled at United as he managed just four goals in 29 games, although a serious knee injury and a struggle to return to fitness hindered him.
After his Old Trafford nightmare, a poor spell at Chelsea followed leading many to believe the Colombian was truly past it. He returned to Monaco in 2016 with his confidence at rock bottom but was able to pick himself back up and find his best form again. He scored 70 goals in three seasons with the French giants to re-establish himself as one of the best forwards in Europe.
9. Leonardo Bonucci
To Italy now as in 2017, Juventus lost a key part of their defense in Leonardo Bonucci. He left for AC Milan due to his deteriorating relationship with manager Max Allegri. At the time it was thought he would become a cornerstone of Milan’s back line for years to come, giving players that added experience, but that did not happen. Even after being handed the armband he struggled massively and after just one forgettable year in Milan, he returned to Turin where he stayed until 2023.
10. Mario Gotze
Last but not least we have a player who can best be remembered for scoring the winning goal in a World Cup final, that’s right it’s Mario Gotze. A year before this though, he made the move from Dortmund to Bayern and started off well, scoring 15 and giving 13 assists in his first season. Many people including Guardiola believed this was just the beginning but found out soon it was actually his peak at club level.
His output continued to reduce as seasons progressed and he began picking up injuries which also didn’t help. By 2016, Bayern were desperate to let him go and Dortmund were ready to take him back. He would later say he regretted his decision to leave in the first place.
Sadly for Gotze, he never really got back to the form of his younger years and struggled at most clubs he’s played at. At 31, he’s now at Eintracht Frankfurt.
What other players do you think returned to their old clubs as flops?
Let us know down below in the comments.