Luciano Figueroa plans playing comeback for JDT in 2018 season

In a move sure to stun Malaysian football, former Argentina international Luciano Figueroa will come out of retirement next season as Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) try to qualify for the AFC Champions League (ACL) for the first time.

Figueroa, who retired at the end of 2015 after JDT won the AFC Cup, had returned to the club in a sporting director role in September.

He was a talisman for JDT in the 2014 and 2015 seasons as they clinched the Malaysia Super League (MSL).

"He's our legend and also our club ambassador. It's an honour to have him with us," JDT spokesman Martin Prest told The Star.

"Figueroa's experience and hard work will be an example to all our players.

"We are glad to have quality players in our squad such as Figueroa, Natxo Insa, Marcos Antonio, Hariss Harun, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak, and Safiq Rahim as they can lead our young players and guide them to be top players in the future.

"We like how they do things in Juventus, Bayern Munich, and Paris Saint-Germain where there's a mix of experienced senior players and young talented players."

JDT have also signed have Mohamed Shamer Kutty Abba from relegated Penang and Adam Nor Azlin from Selangor for the new season. But the Southern Tigers have parted ways with wingers S. Chanturu and R. Gopinathan and striker Azamuddin Akil.

Despite flopping on the AFC stage, JDT won two trophies in 2017 -- a fourth consecutive MSL title and the Malaysia Cup for the first time since they were rebranded as a club.

After finding out their fate at next month's AFC draws in Kuala Lumpur, JDT are planning a preseason tour of Thailand in January. And despite one of the largest squads in Asian football, they are still on the lookout for new players.