GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Veteran Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar rejoined struggling Schalke from Ajax on Tuesday.
Schalke said the 37-year-old Huntelaar, who scored 126 goals in 240 competitive games in his previous stint at the German club between 2010-17, signed a deal to the end of the season. Schalke did not give financial details of the move
Schalke is hoping Huntelaar can help it avoid relegation. The Gelsenkirchen-based club is last in the Bundesliga with just one win nearly halfway through the season.
“His sporting qualities are undisputed. He showed that again last week with a brace,” Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider said. Huntelaar grabbed two late goals in Ajax’s 3-1 win at Twente on Thursday.
“His personality, experience and connection with Schalke are just as important,” Schneider said. “He showed the latter with his return and desire to play his part in helping us achieve survival.”
Huntelaar had mostly a substitute role at Ajax, and his chances of playing were diminished by Ivory Coast striker Sebastien Haller’s arrival from West Ham. Haller scored on his debut at Twente before Huntelaar came on as a substitute to win the game.
Huntelaar faces a different challenge at Schalke, which only recently ended its 30-game run without a win in the league.
“We have to win games and need to score goals to get away from the bottom of the table,” Huntelaar said in Schalke’s statement. “Schalke belongs in the Bundesliga. It’s up to us that it stays.”
Huntelaar won the German Cup with Schalke in 2011 and rejoined Ajax after his contract expired in 2017. He had previously played for Ajax before spells at Real Madrid and Milan.