Lyon brings back midfielder Tolisso after Bayern stint ends

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PARIS (AP) — Lyon brought France midfielder Corentin Tolisso back to the club on a five-year contract Friday.

The 27-year-old France international was out of contract with Bayern Munich, the club he joined from Lyon for 41.5 million euros ($43.4 million) in 2017.

“Lyon is my city, it's where I grew up and where I feel good,” Tolisso said Friday. “It's an immense pleasure and I felt an enormous amount of love from the fans.”

Tolisso won five Bundesliga titles, to add to the Champions League and the Club World Cup in 2020, scoring 21 goals in 118 appearances and impressing at times with his wide range of perceptive passing and crisp tackling.

Tolisso would have played more games for Bayern but, soon after winning the World Cup with France in 2018, he ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee early into the 2018-19 season.

Tolisso is a homegrown player and one of many local talents formed at Lyon's youth academy. It is one of the best in Europe and has also produced France and Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, Barcelona central defender Samuel Umtiti, standout Real Betis attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir and former Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette.

Tolisso scored 29 goals in 160 games in his four previous seasons with Lyon, and is reunited with his former teammate Lacazette after he left Arsenal last month.

Lacazette helped to convince him to return.

“I spoke a lot with Alex, to tell you the truth I think he wrote to me as much in the last month as in the past five years,” Tolisso joked. “Alex played a big part, he's a real friend for me away from soccer. The fact he's here was a bonus.”

Lyon has not won the French title since the last of its seventh straight successes in 2008 and has fallen way behind Paris Saint-Germain, finishing eighth in the season and 25 points behind a team with superstar forwards Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar.

But American investor John Textor became the main shareholder last month and immediately targeted the dominance of Qatar-funded PSG.

“I’m very happy to come back and invest in the club’s new project,” said Tolisso, who has 28 caps for France and hopes to earn a place in the World Cup squad later this year.

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Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press

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