Returning Premier League legends - more memories made or legacies tarnished?

After Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Man Utd was confirmed, we look back at five legends who had unfinished business at the clubs where they made their names.

Cristiano Ronaldo's dramatic return to Manchester United is one for all the soccer romantics out there - a legend in his twilight years winding down his career at the club which made it all happen.

It's a move expected to end in titles rather than tears but only time will tell if United's CR7 nostalgia should have remained firmly in the past.

So in light of Ronaldo's return to the Red Devils, Planet Sport takes a look at how five other club legends fared on their return to the clubs where they made their names.

Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry is Arsenal's greatest ever striker, and has cemented his place in the club's history books.

After spending eight years in north London, Henry left for Barcelona and then the New York Red Bulls before returning to the Gunners on loan in 2012.

It was a move no one saw coming, with Henry seeming happy to wind down his career in the US. But after Arsenal's striking duo of Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh were both ruled out by injury, the Arsenal legend stepped in for a short-term loan.

With just two months to shine, no one was expecting Henry to set the world alight, but the Frenchman still popped up with some crucial goals.

On his second debut, Henry came off the bench to score the winning goal against Leeds United in the FA Cup, before also netting a last-gasp winner against Sunderland in the league.

His return to north London saw Henry only make four further appearances for Arsene Wenger's side, but the short-term stint turned out surprisingly well for the Gunners.

Didier Drogba

Drogba's first stint at Chelsea couldn't have gone much better. He won 10 trophies, including three Premier League titles, and won the Blues their first ever Champions League with his last kick at the club.

As far as legacies are concerned, Drogba couldn't have done much more during his time at Stamford Bridge.

After eight years at the club, Drogba left in 2012 to join Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua and then Galatasaray in 2013.

However, Drogba's former boss Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea in 2013 and Drogba couldn't resist the temptation to reunite with the Special One in 2014.

The 36-year-old spearheaded Chelsea to yet another league title upon his return with four goals in 28 appearances, further cementing his status as a club legend.

Robbie Fowler

After breaking through to the first team aged 18, winning a cup treble in 2001 and earning the nickname 'God' around Anfield, it goes without saying that Fowler was loved by the Liverpool faithful.

Eight years, 339 appearances and 175 goals later, Fowler departed Merseyside for Leeds United. Despite his move, he was still held in the highest regard by fans.

The Liverpool-born striker then made a £3million switch to Manchester City, where he stayed for three years before making a return to Liverpool in 2006.

Even when not at the club, Fowler remained a fan of the Reds, and was famously seen in the crowd of Liverpool fans during the club's 2005 Champions League final.

Supporters were keen to see him back, and banners stating "God, welcome back to heaven" were seen around Anfield after his move.

Upon his return, Fowler had three goals ruled out for offside but eventually found the net legally in a home game against Fulham - the same team he scored his first goal against.

Fowler's next goal against West Brom meant he overtook fellow Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish in the all-time scoring charts at the club, and his total of eight goals that season took his tally to 183.

Liverpool came close to sending Fowler off in style after reaching the final of the 2006/07 Champions League, but Rafa Benitez' side were unable to replicate their 2005 heroics against AC Milan.

With a third-placed finish in the Premier League and a Champions League runners-up medal, Fowler left Liverpool for Cardiff City in 2007 amid reports of injuries and poor fitness.

Gareth Bale

Although he came through Southampton's academy, it was at White Hart Lane with Tottenham Hotspur where Bale truly shined.

Bale's £5million move to north London initially saw him join as the side's new left-back. However, after showcasing his keen eye for goal in his debut season, which included scoring a free-kick against Arsenal, Bale was pushed forward as a winger.

It turned out to be a masterstroke and Bale quickly transformed into one of the league's best forwards.

Under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, Bale played a pivotal part in Tottenham's rise to the top four.

Already a fan-favourite at the club, Bale enjoyed a remarkable season in 2012/13, going on to score 26 goals, including 21 in the Premier League.

As a result of his outstanding performances, Bale caught the eye of Real Madrid, who signed him for a world record-breaking £85million in 2013.

Spurs fans took the news well, understanding Bale's reasons for wanting to leave, and they continued dreaming of a future reunion.

After years of speculation and rumours, Bale finally returned to north London in 2020, joining on loan after reportedly falling out with Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.

Under new boss Mourinho, and with a newly built stadium to experience, Spurs fans were hopeful that Bale could fire Tottenham to silverware.

But Bale's return didn't exactly go to plan, and the Welshman found himself sitting on the bench more than most anticipated.

However, he still made 20 appearances throughout his loan spell, scoring 11 goals in the process.

Wayne Rooney

Although the name Rooney will forever be associated with Manchester United, he first made his name at boyhood club Everton.

After working his way up through the academy in his youth, Rooney burst onto the scene at Goodison Park as a teenager, and it didn't take long for the world to take notice.

He made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2002 and went on to make 33 appearances and score six goals in his first season.

Billed as a soccer prodigy, Rooney proved in his second season that it was more than just a flash in the pan, scoring a further nine goals in 2003/04.

However, with Everton struggling financially, the Toffees decided that the best course of action would be to cash in on their young star, and Rooney made the move to Manchester United in 2004 for a record-breaking £25million.

It's well known that he went on to achieve great things with the Red Devils during his time at Old Trafford, but Rooney was fondly remembered by Everton fans for his service to the club.

Additionally, as an avid Everton fan, Rooney admitted to still owning and frequently wearing slippers with the club's badge on during his United stint, and always talked emotionally about one day returning to Merseyside.

After 13 years in Manchester, Rooney's homecoming eventually came in 2017, after signing a two-year contract with Everton.

He was handed the iconic No. 10 shirt and scored an identical number of goals to help Everton to an eighth-placed finish.

Despite signing for two years, Rooney only spent one season back home before moving on to DC United in 2018. A brief return, but a romantic homecoming nonetheless.

READ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo's 10 most iconic club moments for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus

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