Diego Costa scored for Atletico Madrid just five minutes into his return as the club cruised to a 4-0 win at Lleida Esportiu in the Spanish Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Costa, who rejoined from Chelsea in September but could not play until the transfer window opened this month, came on as a 64th-minute substitute and swept home Atletico’s third goal in the 69th minute in the first leg of a last-16 tie.
“I’m really happy to feel like a footballer again and play once more with Atletico Madrid. It was very important for me,” Costa said after the match.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to my second spell with Atletico. I was given the opportunity to play again, and I had the chance to score a goal. That makes me even happier.”
Spain international Costa started the move that led to his goal, driving forward before moving the ball wide, allowing Juanfran to whip in a low cross that Costa clipped past Lleida keeper David Oliveros.
Costa appeared to have injured himself stretching to score the goal, but carried on and finished the game.
“Costa’s return has filled us with enthusiasm,” said Atletico coach Diego Simeone. “He brings speed, strength and physicality, which is what we expected of him.”