El Shaarawy returns to Roma after leaving Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua

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FILE PHOTO: Champions League Round of 16 First Leg - AS Roma v FC Porto

(Reuters) - Italy international Stephan El Shaarawy has returned to AS Roma after leaving Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, the Serie A club announced on Saturday.

El Shaarawy left Roma for China after three years in the Italian capital between 2016 and 2019, but returns as a free agent after terminating his contract with Shanghai Shenhua.

The 28-year-old made 139 appearances for Roma in his first spell, scoring 40 goals.

"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," El Shaarawy said.

"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."

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Toby Davis)