Club legend, Attilio Lombardo, known fondly among Palace fans as 'The Bald Eagle', made a visit back to Selhurst Park last Saturday when Crystal Palace played host to Tottenham Hotspur.
His appearance on the pitch where he made his name stick in south London was met by rapturous applause from fans, many of whom watched him excel throughout his 49 games for the Eagles.
Lombardo was voted into the Palace Centenary XI, despite having featured in relatively few matches overall. His impact was strong and lasting in SE25 and he says returning was a special experience.
"It’s just nice for me because I remember a lot about playing here," the Italian explained. "If I played only for one year, it’s enough. It’s a beautiful atmosphere here. But everything’s new! It’s very different now, it’s improved a lot. I think it’s deserved for these supporters at Crystal Palace."
Reflecting on his time with the club, Lombardo put into words just what it meant to play for Palace as well as how it felt when he arrived.
"Everything is a good memory. I played here for one year and I love the fans, I loved the job, I put everything into the pitch for this team. It was my first experience outside of Italy, which wasn’t easy for me because I didn’t know my teammates.
"I didn’t understand when Steve Coppell, my manager, spoke. But it didn’t matter if I didn’t understand, it’s important to put everything into the football."
Shortly after joining Palace, Lombardo was made player-manager but couldn't stop the Eagles from being relegated to the First Division in 1998.
"When Mark Goldberg said to me, ‘do you want to become manager for Crystal Palace?’, it was difficult for me to say yes. I called my friend Gianluca Vialli, and I said to him, ‘Luca, what do you think about this?’. He said, ‘Attilio, player-manager is a very difficult job. It’s a beautiful moment in your life but remember, yesterday they were your teammates, now those days are finished because you’re manager. This was a bit difficult.
"I stayed because I wanted to bring Palace up again. I wanted to stay."
Watch the full interview with Lombardo below, where he discusses his career today, Palace in greater detail and more.