‘I missed Celtic, but never thought I’d return’ – Emilio Izaguirre

Emilion Izaguirre could be in the Celtic squad to face Hearts. Picture: SNS.
Emilion Izaguirre could be in the Celtic squad to face Hearts. Picture: SNS.
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It must have come as a culture shock for Honduras full-back Emilio Izaguirre when he swapped Central America for the central belt of Scotland in 2010 but he admits that, 
during his seven years as a Celtic player, he grew to love the Caledonian climate.

A year spent in Saudi Arabia
with Al-Fayha merely made him miss Motherwell and McDiarmid Park and he rejected a more lucrative offer to play in the USA once the possibility of a return to Paradise firmed up.

Izaguirre won 11 major medals during his first period at Parkhead but he claims it was the people there rather than the potential for further silverware which convinced him not only to turn his back on the American dream but also to rebuff a bid from former 
manager Neil Lennon to take him to Easter Road.

“I am happy to be back because this is my home,” he said. “I played seven years 
here so it is good to be back in Scotland.

“My daughter was born here and my son spent seven years growing up here. We have so many friends in Glasgow too.”

Izaguirre won six championship medals, three Scottish Cups and two League Cups between 2010-17 and, while he hopes to add to that tally this season, he claims that he always intended to settle in Scotland at some stage.

“For me it was difficult when I had to say goodbye,” he said. “I missed [the club and Scotland] a lot. I never thought that I could come back here. I was thinking about going to MLS because I had an offer there but then I heard from Celtic. It is a blessing for me to come back here.

“I signed for Celtic in 2010 and I started to love them. I won trophies and for five or six years I always played every
game. And even when KT came through, I was still very happy. I always try to be positive but, like a fan, I missed [being involved in] the games.

“Then, about two weeks ago, I was talking with them. I am happy that they asked me to come back. In a football squad, we have 24 players.

“You don’t know what will happen in the game. Maybe someone gets injured so you need all 24 players ready to play. Play or not play, I am here at Celtic to help the team.”

His time in the Middle East was successful but he did not need a great deal of persuading to re-sign with Celtic.

“I played all the games in 
Saudi – league and cup; I played 30 games,” he said. “The football is different, the weather is different, professionalism is different. I missed Scotland but I am just looking forward to the future now.

“When I was asked to come back, it took one minute – no, one second! I had an opportunity to go to the MLS but at the last moment my agent told me about this and I said: ‘Celtic.’ I think it is the best decision.

“I watched every game on Celtic TV last season because I’m a fan and I love the club.

“Scotland is my home. My kid missed it a lot and we were thinking about coming back to live in Glasgow anyway.

“It’s the people at Celtic which is most important for me. The love from the fans, the staff, everyone – I’m happy to see them every day. I won 11 medals here before but what’s more important is to win friends every day here in Glasgow.”