Roma have announced the signing of Damien Delaney from Crystal Palace on a free transfer… to Cork City in a brand-new twist to their bizarre affection for the experienced defender.

Delaney’s departure at the end of this month was confirmed by Palace on Friday, but while Chung-Yong Lee and Diego Cavalieri will now consider their options, the veteran centre-back has already agreed to re-join Cork City, the place where his career began 20 years ago.

Having left their fans baffled by a tweet which paid homage to Delaney last month – with the hashtag “GrazieDamien” alongside an eagle emoji – Roma’s English Twitter account continued their strange association with the Irishman on Friday.

After his switch was confirmed, the Serie A club tweeted: “OFFICIAL: Damien Delaney is a Cork City player! The central defender has signed a contract with the League of Ireland champions until the end of the 2019 season! #GoodLuckDamien.”

Delaney made just four appearances for Palace this season, and while Roma will look to improve upon their Champions League semi-final appearance last term, the 36-year-old will be playing in front of far smaller crowds in his homeland.

While supporters of Palace and Roma alike will remain stumped by the confusing sequence of events, the social media team for the Italian giants have proved a massive hit with their slightly off-the-wall posts.

There could me a more sincere explanation for the show of appreciation, however. Could this be the reason behind one of the most unlikely love-affairs in modern football?