It’s quite staggering, really, that Diego Costa never received a single red card during any of his 89 Premier League appearances for Chelsea.
He did get sent off in the FA Cup for confronting Everton’s Gareth Barry, but given the Spaniard literally never stopped fighting the opposition, his disciplinary record in England was actually rather impressive.
Remember him?
Costa, now 32 and rumoured to be leaving Atletico Madrid on a free transfer next month, will live long in the memory of Chelsea fans for helping the club win Premier League titles in 2015 and 2017.
He will be remembered by every other club’s fan base for being an absolute menace.
During his time in England, Costa was the pantomime villain, the master of the dark arts whose ferocious nature made him public enemy No.1 everywhere but Stamford Bridge.
Always keen for a fight, he developed a reputation for his constant scrapping with defenders as much as his goalscoring prowess.
Costa was always up for a fight
Like Luis Suarez, he’s one of those players that every supporter would want at their club, even though we love to hate them.
It’s no surprise Jose Mourinho chose ‘animal’ when asked for one word to describe his former striker in a 2019 interview.
His arrival, alongside Cesc Fabregas, all but won Chelsea the title under Mourinho during the 2014/15 campaign as Costa hit the ground running with 20 goals.
A below-par year followed, for all of the Chelsea squad, but Costa was back at it under Antonio Conte, bagging 22 goals as the Blues cruised to the title in the 2016/17 campaign.
But then his relationship with Conte turned sour after the Italian sent a text message informing Costa he was not part of Chelsea’s future plans.
Conte and Costa fell out in dramatic fashion
After spending the first half of the season exiled in Brazil, Costa forced through a move back to Atletico in September, which went through officially in January once the club’s transfer ban expired.
But three years later, it seems something similar is happening in Spain.
Costa has told Atletico to terminate his contract and allow him to leave on a free transfer next month, according to Marca.
The Spain international was absent for training on Monday and reportedly cites ‘personal reasons’ as the cause behind his request.
Costa still has plenty to give
With Costa one of the club’s highest earners and having become surplus to requirements behind Luis Suarez and Joao Felix, Atletico are thought to be tempted by the idea.
Could the former Chelsea man be on his way back to England? Spanish outlet AS reports that the Gunners have been following Costa’s situation for some time and remain very attentive to events.
Watch this space.