Two years ago, on May 18th 2014, Juan Sebastián Verón played his last game for Estudiantes and called time on a glittering 20-year playing career. Months later, he assumed the role of club president which he still occupies to this day.
Last year after Verón’s beloved Estudiantes qualified for the Copa Libertadores, Verón announced that he was considering a return to action on the field, promising that he would play in the international cup if the club successfully sold 65% of the stadium’s executive boxes. “La Brujita” is sticking to his word and is currently preparing for a return in 2017, by which time the Estudiantes legend will have celebrated his 42nd birthday.
— Estudiantes de L.P. (@EdelpOficial) November 23, 2016
Although Verón had previously only stated that he would return for the Copa Libertadores, today he declared that he is currently preparing to compete in all Estudiantes’ competitions. “Now I’m going to play in the league. Yes, both: the championship and the cup,” said a confident Verón. He also has every intention of continuing his role of president. That’s why in the video above he’s not with the squad. In the morning, when squad trains, he’s been carrying out his administrative duties. In the afternoon, he trains alone with the club’s personal trainer.
A return to the field, while retaining the role of club president, is a huge ask but the 41-year-old is confident he can do it. “The truth is I’m doing really well. I started off pretty slowly, but I’ve been raising the bar little by little. I’ve already told the trainer that this is a huge challenge for me and I want to prepare myself the best way possible.”
Certainly makes for a pretty story, doesn’t it? But realistically, will Verón be able to cut it at the top level two years after his last game? These would-be fairy-tale comeback stories don’t usually go as planned. And even at the peak of his powers, the ex-Manchester United star had a career blighted with injuries. A successful return would be astonishing but you can’t knock the guy for giving it a go.