Diego Costa is back, and nothing has changed. He’s in the goals and he’s in the wars.
It was 18 minutes into the second half of Atleico’s 4-0 cup win over third tier side Lleida when Atletico’s new No 18 trotted on followed by Antoine Griezmann – the dynamic duo Diego Simeone hopes will fire the club to trophies this season.
Right on cue a full moon had even come out from behind the clouds over Lleida’s 12,000 stadium to welcome Costa’s return.
Diego Costa celebrates after scoring Atleitco Madrid's third goal against Lleida on Wednesday
The forward is treated by medics after injuring his shin scoring the goal in the second half
Costa started on the bench before coming on in the 65th minute of the the Copa del Rey clash
It took him five minutes to score with almost his first touch and no sooner had he been mobbed by celebrating team-mates than he was being treated off the pitch.
He had sustained an injury to his right shin as he knocked into a defender in the area to convert from the edge of the six-yard box.
Costa hobbled around the perimeter and after consultation with Simeone and Atletico’s fitness coach Oscar Ortega he asked to be allowed to go back on.
It had been 221 days since he last walked off the field for Chelsea and it’s been a tough road back for the Brazilian who turned up in Madrid at the end of last September after three months spent in his home town of Lagarto in Brazil, in dispute with Chelsea.
He arrived in Madrid eight kilos overweight and a grueling specially designed pre-season overseen by Ortega even involved several boxing sessions in the Madrid gym owned by Fernando Torres.
Little surprise then that he delivered the knockout blow