Diego Costa marked his first appearance back with Atletico Madrid by scoring against third-tier side Lleida Esportiu in the last 16 of the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday evening.
Costa departed Chelsea back in September but the 29-year-old was only cleared to play for Atletico in the new year due to the Spanish club’s transfer embargo.
The gruff striker came off the bench on 64 minutes with the La Liga giants already 2-0 up at the Camp d’Esports.
Lo and behold, within five minutes of his second debut with Atleti, Costa was back in the goals, swiftly netting from a Juanfran centre.
That goal was Costa’s first for Atletico Madrid in 1,344 days, since he scored against none other than Chelsea in the Champions League in 2014.
1 – Diego Costa has scored his first goal for Atlético since April 2014 vs Chelsea in Champions League – he has scored 1344 days after and with his first shot. Prodigal. pic.twitter.com/QbSvDnzPZd
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 3, 2018
The Brazilian-born hitman looked to have injured himself in scoring the goal, but managed to finish the game.
Antoine Griezmann would add another late on, to add to the goals from Costa, Diego Godin and Fernando Torres, as Diego Simeone cruised to victory in the first leg of the tie.
Interestingly, while Costa was busy finding the back of the net in Spain, his £60million replacement at Chelsea, Alvaro Morata, was enduring a night to forget at the Emirates.
After the game, Simeone said:
Costa’s return has filled us with enthusiasm. He brings speed, strength and physicality, which is what we expected of him.
Costa himself was understandably pleased with his comeback, saying:
I’m really happy to feel like a footballer again and play once more with Atletico Madrid. It was very important for me.
I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to my second spell with Atletico.
Back in plenty of time for this summer’s World Cup as well!