It may have been in the closing stages of his career but Jermain Defoe’s time at Ibrox was a very fond one for the highly decorated England international.
Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger is the mantra and that is what Defoe confirmed following his weekend appearance in the legends game which provided him with the opportunity for a more fitting farewell after his hasty exit from Glasgow last season.
With all his time in the Premier League most notably with Spurs, West Ham and Sunderland as well as going to major tournaments including the 2010 World Cup with England, the London-born player had almost seen and done it all, or so he thought. The call from Steven Gerrard to bring him to Ibrox in 2019 would put the spark back into his late career and make an impression that still burns bright to this day.
An almost three year stay north of the border was cut short following Gerrard’s move to Aston Villa. Several weeks into the reign of Gio van Bronckhorst, it was clear that things had ran the course. That was OK for Defoe to deal with but not being able to bow out in front of the fans didn’t sit easy with him.
He reflected on his love for the club, as well as revealing his Mum’s adoration too – as told by the Glasgow Times:
“My mum has come to almost every game I’ve played in and she’s been everywhere, at every club. I remember we played here in my first Old Firm and she said to me”, ‘You know what, I now know why you love it here.’
Defoe typically made his presence felt at the weekend with a double strike in the game against the World Select team, in which he relished the change to grace the pitch once again:
“It was really nice to be back because I don’t feel like I got a proper chance to say goodbye. I sort of left and didn’t feel like I’d got the chance to say goodbye to the fans properly.”
“It just happened so quickly when Gio was here. So that’s when Boydy sent me the message asking if I wanted to play in this game that I was like 100 percent!”
A goal against Celtic, a historic league winners’ medal and memories that will endure.
Jermain Defoe has of course left Ibrox in the truest sense but Rangers has certainly not left him.