The recently-retired striker was honoured as one of the MLS club's 20 best players in their 20-year history before Sunday's match with the LA Galaxy.
Former Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel returned to another of his former clubs on Sunday night, as the New York Red Bulls honoured the Colombian as one of the 20 best players in the team’s 20-year history before their 1-1 home draw with the LA Galaxy.
Angel, who finished his career with childhood club Atletico Nacional in December, first joined the Red Bulls from Villa in April 2007, before going on to establish himself as an MLS goalscoring legend.
The ex-River Plate man bagged a then-franchise record 19 goals in his debut campaign with New York and in his second season helped the club reach their first-ever MLS Cup final, losing 3-1 to the Columbus Crew.
With 58 goals in 102 regular-season appearances, he remains the club’s all-time leading scorer and his release following the 2010 season still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of supporters.
Speaking after Red Bull Arena’s 20,000-plus crowd gave him a huge ovation prior to the draw with LA, who he also spent one season with following his release, Angel told the club’s official website: “It’s emotional for me and I’m thankful. It’s everything, seeing a lot of people that still work for the club who worked when I was here.
“All my friends, the memories. I’m delighted to be back. It feels like home.
“I retired about three months ago and I miss the game. I really miss it,” he continued. “Although I am at peace with the decision that I made I miss the everyday stuff, the games on the weekend, the rush and the adrenaline to the buildup of the game. I miss that. Now, back here in this beautiful arena, I miss that.”
Since retirement, Angel has been exploring a number of new opportunities, including coaching, and the former Premier League and MLS hotshot suggested on the night that a reunion with the Red Bulls in some form could be possible in the future.
“Everyone knows my feelings about this franchise,” he added. “But you have to do it step by step and eventually when the time is right and the opportunity comes you will think about it differently.”