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Guillermo Ochoa returns to Club America

Herculez Gomez explains why the new Leagues Cup is a first step toward more direct competition between MLS and Liga MX.

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa is set to return to Club America from Standard Liege, the Liga MX side announced on Tuesday evening.

Ochoa was thought to be intent on staying in Europe, but offloading Agustin Marchesin to Porto last week left America in need of a starting goalkeeper and the 34-year-old has chosen to return to the Mexico City club he made his professional debut for in 2004.

"'Memo' Ochoa is without doubt one of our fans most beloved players and one of the references of Club America in recent years," read an club statement, which didn't give details of the length of contract or transfer fee.

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"Home sweet home," tweeted the player.

The Guadalajara native played 281 times for Club America before moving to French side Ajaccio in 2011. Ochoa became the first Mexican goalkeeper to play top flight football in Europe, but he never managed to play in the Champions League, leaving Ajaccio for Malaga, then Granada and finally on to Belgium's Standard Liege.

Asked about bringing Ochoa back to Mexico, America manager Miguel Herrera said the club were fortunate there wasn't a bigger market overseas for the goalkeeper.

"I think that if Memo had've had offers from teams in Europe with a bigger stature without any doubt I think he would've stayed over there, we wouldn't have even been able to start the negotiations," Herrera told ESPN on Wednesday morning. "But there's no doubt Club America is bigger than Standard Liege, with respect to Standard.

"The Mexican league is strong, it is solid. The club he loves came in for him and he didn't have a doubt. It's not a step back. I think Memo is thinking about getting to Qatar in good shape and at America he can do well. Didn't have a bigger offer in Europe."

Ochoa is regarded as one of the Mexican national team's most popular figures and the keeper starred at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, earning plaudits for El Tri while his club career failed to spark.

Guillermo Ochoa makes a save during Mexico's friendly against Croatia.
Guillermo Ochoa has returned to Las Aguilas after seven seasons in Europe.

America is Liga MX's most successful club on 13 titles and bringing in Ochoa is a significant coup for an institution that has had a turbulent last few weeks, with Marchesin and Colombia international Mateus Uribe sold to Porto, Edson Alvarez leaving for Ajax and Chile striker Nico Castillo fracturing his fibula last Saturday.

Ochoa could travel to Mexico as early as Friday and could potentially make his first appearance back against Atlanta United in the United States in the Campeones Cup on Aug. 14.

America made headlines earlier this summer, when it signed Ochoa's international teammate Giovani dos Santos, who scored and assisted on his Estadio Azteca debut in the team's 3-1 win over Club Tijuana last Saturday.

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