Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has returned to Schalke, where he scored 126 goals across seven years between 2010 and 2017. - © /
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has returned to Schalke, where he scored 126 goals across seven years between 2010 and 2017. - © /
bundesliga

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar returns to Schalke from Ajax

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has returned to Schalke from Ajax until the end of the season in a boost the Royal Blues' attack as they look to stave off relegation.

The 37-year-old signed the short-term contract at Schalke on Tuesday, completing a return to the Veltins Arena, where he spent seven years of his career between 2010 and 2017.

"We need to win a lot of games and in order to do that we have to score goals to climb up the table," Huntelaar, who will now wear the number 21 shirt, told Schalke's official website. "I want to contribute my part to helping us avoid relegation. Schalke belong in the Bundesliga. Now it's up to us to make sure we stay there."

Huntelaar scored 126 goals in 239 competitive appearances for Schalke, helping them win the 2011 DFB Cup, while he also finished as the Bundesliga's top scorer in 2011/12 with 29 goals.

"When you've played for Schalke, you're infected by this Schalke virus. He's said himself that he looks back fondly on his time here, and has very, very good memories," said Schalke coach Christian Gross of Huntelaar's return. "My feeling from him is that he would love to take on this challenge, and that deserves a lot of respect.

"The man, his personality, his past at Schalke - I'm convinced he can help us in many ways, and he could certainly help [Matthew] Hoppe too – he could definitely learn a lot from him. It would do us the world of good."

The Dutchman originally made a name for himself in his homeland at both Heerenveen and Ajax, before joining Real Madrid in 2008. He was in the Spanish capital for just one season, scoring eight times in 20 league outings, before a one-year loan to AC Milan prior to his move to Germany .

Watch: Huntelaar's top 5 Bundesliga goals

After leaving Schalke almost four years ago, Huntelaar returned to Ajax in 2017, winning the Dutch league title twice.

He has been largely used as a substitute in 2020/21, however, and announced towards the end of last year that he would be retiring from the game for good at the end of the current season.

Following the arrival of Sead Kolasinac, Huntelaar is Schalke's second signing of the winter transfer window as they look to familiar and experienced faces to help them climb the table and avoid relegation.