El Shaarawy returns to Roma for second spell after 18 months in China

The Italy international forward is back in familiar surroundings, with the 28-year-old heading back to his homeland as a free agent

Stephan El Shaarawy has completed his return to Roma after 18 months spent in China with Shanghai Shenhua.

The Italy international spent the best part of three years at Stadio Olimpico between 2016 and 2019 before the decision was taken to head to Asia.

That adventure has now come to a close, with the 28-year-old heading back to familiar surroundings as a free agent.

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El Shaarawy has told Roma’s official website of joining the club for a second spell: “When I arrived in Rome the first time I realised how little time it takes for this club and this city to make a deep impression on you.

“When I left I quickly realised that both would always be in my heart. Now I cannot wait to be once again representing this club and these colours.”

El Shaarawy took in 139 appearances for Roma during his initial stint in the Italian capital, with 40 goals recorded across those outings.

He is a proven performer at the highest level and the Giallorossi are delighted to have him back on their books.

Tiago Pinto, the Serie A club’s general manager, has said: “Everyone knows the quality El Shaarawy has, but few are aware of the full extent of his desire to come back and wear the Roma shirt once more – and it is that desire and belief in our project that made all the difference.

“Today we are delighted to welcome him back to the club once again.”

El Shaarawy finds himself signing for Roma exactly five years to the day that he recorded his first goal of the club – with that effort hit on debut against Frosinone at Stadio Olimpico in January 2016.

He rejoins a side that have forced their way into title contention this season.

Paulo Fonseca’s team sit third in the Serie A standings at present, nine points adrift of leaders AC Milan but boasting a game in hand on the Rossoneri.

They will be back in action on Sunday when playing host to Verona, with a trip to reigning champions Juventus set to be taken in next weekend.

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