Kostas Mitroglou admitted that the lure of the UEFA Champions League was central to his decision to return "home" on Sunday as Olympiacos FC secured his services on a season-long loan from Fulham FC.
"I am very happy to be back at Olympiacos as I consider them my family," he told the Greek title holders' website. "I also want to thank Fulham for respecting my wish to play in the UEFA Champions League. To the fans of Olympiacos, who have expressed their joy of seeing me back here,
I can only promise to do what I do best: score lots of goals."
Mitroglou made headlines last season as he became the first Greek player to score a UEFA Champions League hat-trick in October's 3-0 victory away to RSC Anderlecht. It was his third of four three-goal hauls in six weeks and his rich vein of form continued into November as three goals over the course of Greece's FIFA World Cup play-off helped seal a 4-2 win against Romania and a place in Brazil.
Remarkably, the 26-year-old has not scored a competitive goal since. Injuries before and after January's move to a Fulham side on their way to relegation meant he lost all momentum – Olympiacos will hope he is quickly back up to speed. The side he rejoins is not the one he left, however. Míchel has brought in a host of newcomers, including the eye-catching captures of Ibrahim Afellay and Pajtim Kasami.
The forward line could therefore be entirely different. Likewise the defence where, with the departure of Kostas Manolas and José Holebas to AS Roma, a back line centred on Éric Abidal and Alberto Botía has emerged. They will take time to gel – Saturday's 1-1 draw against Panetolikos FC was evidence of that – though with Club Atlético de Madrid visiting Piraeus in two weeks there is not much to play with.
"I am back at home!" Mitroglou tweeted on Sunday. Indeed he is, even if they have redecorated in his absence.
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