BUENOS AIRES - Argentina defender Gabriel Milito said on Thursday he had ended his contract with Barcelona a year early and was returning to his first club Independiente.
"I took the decision because I felt a great need to return to my country and Independiente," said the 30-year-old centre-back, who remained in Buenos Aires after the Copa America.
"This is a very special day. I left the club eight years ago and I always dreamt of coming back," Milito, who played at the 2006 World Cup finals and has 42 caps, told a news conference.
Milito, part of the Argentina side that failed as hosts to get past the Copa America quarter-finals last month, could make his debut in the first leg of the South American Supercup against Brazil's Internacional next Wednesday.
Having made his first division debut with Independiente in 1997, Milito joined Real Zaragoza in 2003 after a transfer to Real Madrid was aborted when he failed a medical. He moved on to Barcelona in 2007.