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 By Ben Gladwell

Alberto Gilardino returns to Fiorentina on loan from Guangzhou Evergrande

Fiorentina have completed the loan signing of Alberto Gilardino from Guangzhou Evergrande, bringing back the striker who scored 59 goals for the club between 2008 and 2012.

Gilardino, 32, has signed a short-term contract with Vincenzo Montella's side running until the end of the season, with an option to then make the move permanent in the summer.

He will provide competition to Mario Gomez as the Viola face key Serie A, Europa League and Coppa Italia games in the final four months of the campaign.

"It's a big day for me today to come back to Florence and I'm delighted to be here," Gilardino told the club's official website. "Some of my former teammates are still here -- [Juan] Vargas, [Manuel] Pasqual, and my friend 'Alino' [Alessandro Diamanti]. I'm delighted to be back and I'm really motivated.

"I'd like to express my thanks to the club, the president and the staff who all wanted me, and thanks to all Viola fans.

"Of course motivation is fundamental and I have lots of it. I want to put myself back in the Serie A window. I've been away for five months, but I'm really hungry and feel very fit. I'd love to score my 200th Serie A goal with Fiorentina."

Gilardino, who will wear the No. 9 shirt in Florence, returns to Italy after five months spent in China with Evergrande.

"It was a very quick experience," he added. "We won the league; it was a different experience. It was very hot and humid, but it was nice to give it a try."

Gilardino, who has also played for Bologna, Hellas Verona, Genoa, Parma and AC Milan, has found the back of the net 174 times in Serie A.

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