Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone expects Raul Garcia to receive a rousing reception on his return to the Vicente Calderon and says his partnership with Aritz Aduriz at Athletic Bilbao is one of the best in La Liga.
Garcia departed the capital club for San Mames a little over three months ago and his return is an intriguing sub plot in Sunday’s encounter.
The 29-year-old is held in high regard by the Atletico faithful after he helped them win the Liga title and reach the Champions League final in 2013-14, while he also counts the Europa League, Copa del Rey and two Super Cups on his list of achievements.
Garcia’s arrival at Athletic has helped bring the best out of experienced striker Aduriz and the 34-year-old has 10 goals in 14 league outings this term.
And Simeone is wary of their partnership, saying: “We always try to pay attention to important players like him [Aduriz].
“The presence of Raul Garcia has further enhanced his qualities. Aggressiveness, talent, movement, it is arguably one of the most important offensive duos.”
On Garcia’s contribution to Atletico, he added: “Raul Garcia is a guy loved dearly by the group, he’s left a great memory.
“Our support is grateful to people who left a mark on the team and it will be a special moment for him. He deserves it [a good reception] for everything he gave on the field and in the locker room.
“[He will be] welcomed in the best way because he deserves that reception.”