Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has heaped on praise on their returning star Diego Costa, claiming that he believes that the Spanish international is the most important player in recent years for the club. 

Costa returned to action for Atletico on Saturday when he scored and was sent off in their 2-0 win over Getafe. The Brazilian-born striker then went on to lay an assist for Yannick Carrasco as Atletico beat Lleida 3-0 on Tuesday to wrap up a 7-0 aggregate triumph in the Copa del Rey. 

Following the cup tie, Simeone told FourFourTwo: "I have no doubt that Costa was the most important player that has played for Atletico in recent years.

"He had a very good game and is integrating little by little to the needs of the team." 

Costa scored 64 goals in 135 games in his first spell with Atletico Madrid, which saw the club win the La Liga title in 2013/14, their first title since 1996. 

He would also score eight goals in nine games as Atletico made the Champions League final, but they would lose 4-1 in the final to city rivals Real Madrid. 


Costa then moved to England and join Chelsea and he became an instant hit at Stamford Bridge as 20 goals in his debut season helped the Blues to the Premier League title. 

The West Londoners won the title again in 2016/17 with Costa again being a star player with 22 goals, but a falling out with manager Antonio Conte paved the way for the striker to return to Atletico Madrid. 

Simeone seems delighted to have him back at the club and he will hoping Costa can help cut Barcelona's nine point lead at the top of La Liga.