After Carlos Tevez's Possible Return Here's Some Other Great Footballing Comebacks (VIDEO)
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini today said Carlos Tevez could return to face Chelsea next weekend, ending his six-month exile.
Tevez has not featured in a City squad since he refused to warm up during the Champions League group stage defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. The Citizens' Munich misery on the pitch (they lost 2-0) was compounded when Tevez finally broke the camel's back with his disruptive straw.
Now however, Ciy need him. Defeat at Swansea City saw neighbours United usurp them in to top spot with 10 games remaining, and they have scored just four goals in their last eight away league fixtures.
Mario Balotelli is nomadic and Edin Dzeko has been woeful up front lately, shifting the burden on to the shoulders of Sergio Aguero. And Kun's frame isn't the burliest.
And since Tevez has apologised and Mancini's made a U-turn after vowing he would never play for him again, it looks likely that "El Apache" could be instrumental to the Citizens' title charge.
So it's time to recall football's other great - and belated - comebacks...
Eric Cantona v Liverpool, 1995
Roi or dieu, Eric Cantona was Manchester United supporters' icon for his rebellious subversiveness, brilliance and catalytic effect in ending the club's 26-year title wait. So when he literally went over the edge to kick Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons in January 1995, he received a lengthy ban - ultimately extending into next season.
So cometh 1 October, one month and six days after his madness, he strutted out of the Old Trafford tunnel to face Liverpool. Less than two minutes in, he had provided an assist for Nicky Butt. Seventy minutes in, he equalised from the penalty spot, pole dancing in celebration. The return of the king.
Owen Hargreaves v Birmingham City, 2011
No, really. City have already witnessed one comeback this campaign in the guise of the oft-forgotten England international. Hargreaves took to YouTube in the summer after being released by Manchester United after just 187 minutes in three seasons, and surprisingly it was their rivals who snapped him up on a free transfer.
Hargreaves' pearler against Birmingham:
He made his City debut in a League Cup tie against holders Birmingham in September, and just 17 minutes into his Eastlands career, struck a terrific 20-yard effort past Craig Doyle to give his new club the lead. Unfortunately for the Canadian-born midfielder, he has only made three appearances since - with just one start to his name - as his troublesome knees seem destined to shorten his career.
Paolo Rossi, 1982 World Cup finals
While at Perugia, Rossi was involved in the infamous 1980 Totonero Italian betting scandal, and was subsequently banned for three years, although later reduced to two. Rossi always claimed to be innocent and in his autobiography, one of the people who accused him in 1980 admitted they had fabricated the claims.
Rossi puts Brazil to the sword:
Nevertheless, Rossi returned just in time for the 1982 World Cup, hosted by Spain. Rossi scored a hat-trick against Brazil in one of the greatest games of the finals before hitting a brace against Poland in the semi-finals. He then opened the scoring in the 3-1 final victory against West Germany to claim the Golden Shoe for top scorer and Golden Boot for best player, to mark a Hollywood ending.
Ronaldo, 2002 World Cup finals
Although Ronaldo had played regularly for Internazionale throughout April and May, this was a mental comeback which exorcised the demons of four years previously. At France '98, Ronaldo suffered a convulsive fit and was subsequently withdrawn from the starting line-up before being restored at his own request. The Ronaldo who strode onto the turf appeared to be his inferior twin or a cloning experiment gone badly wrong.
In 2002, he was back with a bang. He scored against every opponent, with the exception of England, with the crowning glory a brace against Germany in the Yokohama final. Ronaldo, like Rossi, was the Golden Boot winner, with eight goals, and that sullen expression in Paris had been replaced with his beaming smile.
Fraizer Campbell v Middlesbrough, 2012
Ring-rustiness is the regular excuse afforded returning players from injury, but Campbell made a mockery of such an assumption earlier this season. He hadn't played since an August 2010 home win against Manchester City for Sunderland when he sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Campbell capitalises against Middlesbrough:
Rather than given a substitute appearance, he was listed as a starter for January's cup tie against Middlesbrough. Exactly 17 months on from when he waas injured, he equalised against the Championship club, but it was set to get better three days later. A phenomenal volley against Norwich City effectively earned him a call-up to Stuart Pearce's England squad.