Argentina defender Gabriel Milito has returned to Independiente after he was released by European champion Barcelona.

The 30-year-old centerback told the Independiente website it was a ''very emotional day'' after signing a three-year contract with the club he left in 2003 to play football in Spain.

Milito, whose contract was up in 2012, joined Barcelona from Zaragoza in 2006 and made 75 appearances over five seasons. He was often hampered by injuries after a serious knee injury in a Champions League semifinal against Manchester United in April 2008 led to surgery and forced him to miss the next 18 months.

Milito made 123 appearances for Independiente in his first spell at the club.