Former Atletico Madrid star Luis Garcia believes returning hero Diego Costa can fire the club to UEFA Europa League glory.
The Spain international re-joined the club from Chelsea in the January transfer window and has had an immediate impact following his return to the Spanish capital.
Atleti carry a 3-0 lead into their Round of 16 second-leg in Moscow against Lokomotiv on Thursday and are now outright favourites to take the crown – and Luis Garcia believes Costa can make the difference.
“Diego Costa has been the signing that everyone was expecting,” Luis Garcia told Goal.
“Since his arrival, he has scored goals and has given a new character to the team. When he is playing, anything can happen thanks to his determination and effort.”
Garcia also believes coach Diego Simeone helps tip the balance in Atleti’s favour.
Simeone guided the club to its last Europa League success, in 2012, and to two UEFA Champions League finals in the six years since – and Luis Garcia believes the Argentinian can repeat his success.
“Atletico have a good chance to win the Europa League. They may well have the strongest squad in the competition.
“Anything can happen, but if we remember how well Simeone does in the knockout stage, I think they have the chance of taking the trophy.”
Atleti will certainly face some stiff competition, however, with a number of European heavyweights still vying for the title, but Garcia believes they have enough quality to see them through.
“There are other big teams: Borussia Dortmund, Milan, Arsenal, Olympique Marseille,” he said.
“They can all make things difficult for Atletico, though I think Atleti are the most powerful of all."
Luis Garcia was in Madrid with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to meet fans ahead of Atletico Madrid’s UEFA Europa League fixture. Visit www.enterprise.co.uk to enjoy special rates on car hire for your UEFA Europa League journey.