Chelsea’s bad boy is way out of form at the moment, and I am quite sure there are many who, like me, relish the fact he is miserable.
I never knew who Costa was until he started playing for Cholo’s Atletico Madrid and I have to admit – he started annoying me the first time I laid my eyes on him. Diego Costa is just one of those mugs you love to hate! Always provoking, always performing foul play, always pressuring the referees, taunting his opponents, spitting, hitting…. I never looked at his goals, I looked at his behavior on the pitch and I simply hated it!
The making of a monster
At first, I thought that this had to be a part of Simeone’s tactics, since, one has to admit, his entire team played the game in this manner. Cholo always defended his forward, attributing his shocking actions on the field to immaturity, juvenile temperament, etc. But, Costa’s behavior either side of the Atletico spell was no better. On the contrary.
His loan stint with Celta de Vigo was more remembered for his disruptive influence than for his goals. The team barely avoided relegation, while Costa earned four red cards and, possibly, several serious enemies. Later, in his Albacete episode, he was named “that fucking Brazilian”, because of his practical jokes and confrontations with referees, opponents, and even his teammates. His coach at Valladolid once said that Diego has a little “mala leche” about him, bad milk that fuels his play, but which can also spill over. During his spell at Rayo Vallecano, Diego himself admitted that he had to fight with everyone on the field, that he lost control, insulted everyone, and had no respect for the opposition. The sentence that caught my eye was: “I thought I had to kill them”.
It seems that his impudence is not a matter of the moment, it is an image carefully constructed for a long period of time. Costa was well aware that, if he produces well on the pitch, he can squeeze through his bad temper as a “boys will be boys” thing.
And he was doing great, starting from that loan in Rayo. He returned to Atletico, became the most lethal weapon in Simeone’s armory, his goals and performances propelled Atletico to a first La Liga title in 18 years. But all I could think of was him pushing and slapping Sissokho, the infamous spitting incidents with Sergio Ramos, the headbutting of David Limbersky, confrontations with Pepe, and the entire Real Madrid team, truth being told. His biggest success was probably the incidents in the match against Sevilla when both Gary Medel and Geoffrey Kondogbia were sent off with a big help from Diego Costa.
Mixed success in England
His arrival to England, Chelsea that is, was greeted with delight, numerous ex-professionals, such as Gary Neville, stated that Costa was perfect for English style of play with his fierce competitive spirit, that he would be an exceptional substitute for Drogba, which he was in his maiden season, scoring 20 league goals and winning the Premier League.
Once more Costa’s aggressive side came to light. His stamp on Emre Can brought him his first ban in England, and the monster was back, especially if we look at the current season, only this time – there are no goals to cover for his impudence. The UK newspapers turned their stories around. What once was a centre forward similar to classic England attackers, became the Premier League’s dirtiest player. The famous skirmish with Skrtel, repetitive slapping of Koscielny and the epic argument with Gabriel all lead to him becoming a Chelsea bad boy. And don’t make me start on his foolish argument with Iker Casillas in the match against Porto. No wonder that Everton manager Roberto Martinez stated that Diego Costa must learn respect.
Master of provocation
But, we have to admit one thing – Diego is a master of provocation. Apart from the abovementioned Medel and Kondogbia, the more recent incident with Gabriel show how Diego manages to provoke red cards for his opponents, while receiving no penalty for his shameful behavior.
Why coaches like him, I will never know. If the reason is goals – there are plenty of strikers who can score as much as him. I would never pay 32 million pounds for a player who has a disruptive influence on the team, who always puts himself in the first place and is a constant red card threat.
I often wondered how can he sleep at night, but Costa had yet another legendary statement: “The main thing is when I get home and I can sleep knowing I’ve not done anything wrong, because I never meant to do that and it was not on purpose”.
My dear Diego, I do not know who are you trying to deceive, but my advice to you is to always sleep with one eye open.