Aubameyang announces Gabon retirement U-turn

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Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is to return to the Gabon side a year after announcing his international retirement.

The 33-year-old retired as his country’s record scorer, with 28 goals in 68 appearances, in May 2022.

The forward said the return was prompted by a meeting with the African country’s president Ali Bongo Ondimba.

“(I) listened to the wise words he said to me as a father talking to his son,” Aubameyang posted on Instagram.

Gabon, led by former La Rochelle defender Patrice Neveu, are currently top their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification group.

They can seal their place at the tournament in Ivory Coast next January, with a game to spare, when they host Democratic Republic of Congo in June.

“A few days ago, I had the immense honour to be received by the President of the Republic (of Gabon) Ali Bongo Ondimba,” Aubameyang’s post added.

“Following this, I therefore put myself at the disposal of my country and of the coach Patrice Neveu.”

The French-born forward, who made his debut for Gabon in 2009, has endured a number of difficult club campaigns in recent seasons – including being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy in December 2021 before moving to Barcelona in the following transfer window.

He has now been linked with a summer move back to the Nou Camp, where he started the 2022-2023 season.

The Catalan club confirmed Aubameyang will get a La Liga winners medal from their title win this season despite playing for only eight minutes before his move to Chelsea.

Aubameyang was first brought to the Premier League from Borussia Dortmund in 2018 by then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and scored 92 goals in 142 starts for the Gunners.

However, he has only scored once in the Premier League for Chelsea this season and, despite scoring in both the home and away matches against his first club AC Milan in their Champions League group, was dropped by the Blues for the knock-out stages.


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