Thursday, August 18 – 1988
Ian Rush sensationally come back to Liverpool from Juventus last night for a British record fee of £2,8 million. The shock return of the homesick Welsh goalscorer smashes the ambitions of Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton.
The Goodison Park club were understood to be poised for a massive move for Rush, despite manager Colin Harvey#s £4,3 million summer outlay on new players.
Rush wore a black Italian designer suit with red zip-up casual shirt for his grand Anfield re-entrance, 15 months after his £3,2 million transfer to Turin.
“The first I knew about coming back here was a telephone call from Juventus last weekend … and the next thing it was all over,” he said.
“I have had a year’s valuable experience in Italy, and I hope it had made me a better player.
“Until last Saturday, I thought I would be playing in Italy this season, and I was prepared to see out my contract there.
“I enjoyed my time in Italy and the stories saying differently were lies.
“But I missed most the place and the people at Liverpool.
“At Juventus the crowd is well away from the pitch but when I came back to play for Liverpool against England last May, in Alan Hansen#s testimonial, the fans chanted for me to come back. It was great to hear that.
“I watched some of Liverpool’s performances at Anfield last season and they were magnificent. I don’t know if I’ll get into the team because they’ve just won the Championship in style.
“Maybe I’ll have to talk to reserve team trainer Phil Thompson about getting a game.
“I hope I can produce for Liverpool what I did when I was here last time but words can’t describe how I feel now.”
But even after his reunion with the club for whom he made his name and reputation, Rush still paid tribute to Juventus.
“I don’t regret a minute of it and if any player was going abroad, I would say go to Juventus because they are the Liverpool of Italy,” he said.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said: “The people who come to watch us will be delighted and so will English football.”
Welsh striker Rush signed off his last season at Liverpool with 40 goals – 30 in the First Division – and his overall tally at Anfield was 207 goals in 331 Liverpool appearances.
The trigger to Liverpool’s success in re-signing one of the most dazzling strikers in football history, was pressed by the Juventus moved to sign Portugeese star Lui Barros and Alexander Zavarov from Russia and their decision to keep Danish forward Michael Laudrup, after his prospective move to European European champions PSV Eindhoven of Holland collapsed last week.
With their quota of foreign players restricted to three, Juventus promptly kept their promise to contact Liverpool about the availability of Rush, who scored 14 times for them in his one-season Italian job – eight in the League and six in the Cup.
And Liverpool chairman Smith praised Juventus when he said: “They promised that if Ian became available, they would let us know and they kept their word.”
Rush has spent a large part of the summer recovering at his North Wales home from chickenpox and kidney and liver infections, which have prevented him from playing for Juventus in their pre-season build up.
But he said: “I’m fine now and looking forward to playing games.
“I’ve just got to go back to Italy to sort out a few things and then come back to Liverpool next week.”
It means Rush will miss Liverpool’s Charity Shield match against their FA Cup final conquerors Wimbledon, at Wembley tomorrow.
But he will make his reappearance as a Liverpool player in their opening League game at Charlton next Saturday.
(Copyright: Daily Express, 19-08-1988)