Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has announced a return to the Gabon national team a year after he retired from international football, citing the influence of the country’s president Ali Bongo Ondimba in his decision to make a comeback.
The Chelsea forward, who as a youngster was also eligible to play for France or Spain, has long had a testy relationship with the Gabonese Football Association since making his national team debut in 2009 and called it quits in May last year after netting 30 goals in 72 appearances.
But the 33-year-old, by far the most accomplished player Gabon has produced, announced on Tuesday he has made himself available again for the national side and spoken to coach Patrice Neveu.
“A few days ago I had the immense honor to be received by the President of the Republic (of Gabon) Ali Bongo Ondimba and at the same time listened to the wise words he said to me as a father talking to his son,” Aubameyang posted on his official Instagram account.
“Following this, I therefore put myself at the disposal of my country and of the coach Patrice Neveu.”
Gabon currently tops its qualification pool for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast next January with two rounds to play and can book their place at the finals when they host the Democratic Republic of Congo next month.
The striker has seen his club fortunes dip in recent times having made five Premier League starts for Chelsea this season, netting once against Crystal Palace in October.
He looks set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the campaign having been strongly linked with a return to Barcelona, where he started the 2022-23 season.
The Catalan club confirmed Aubameyang will get a La Liga winners medal from their title win this season despite playing only eight minutes before his move to Chelsea.
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