VANCOUVER — Star striker Fredy Montero is returning to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Major League Soccer club announced on Friday that it has signed the 31-year-old Colombian forward to a two-year deal.

The news comes after Sporting CP of the Portuguese Primeira Liga issued a statement earlier in the day saying it had released Montero the from his contract.

Montero played for the Seattle Sounders from 2009 through 2012, tallying 47 goals and 34 assists across 119 regular-season games and becoming the club's career leading scorer.

He also spent the 2017 season with the Whitecaps, appearing in 33 regular-season games and putting up 13 goals and six assists.

Montero says in a statement that Vancouver is a special place for him and his family.

"I'm blessed and excited to be back," he said. "The city and fans welcomed us in 2017, and I'm ready to score goals and give my all to the club once again."

Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos said the five-foot-nine, 165-pound striker is returning to a city where he's had incredible success.

"He gives us a proven goalscorer and an important presence in our locker room," he said.

Because he holds a U.S. green card, Montero will not occupy an international roster spot. The Whitecaps have not yet determined whether he will be a designated player.

Dos Santos said Montero will join the team in California, where the Whitecaps are currently training and playing pre-season games.

The Whitecaps will kick off their season against Minnesota on March 2.