Newsflash: Diego Costa is not an angel.
No, that’s not our assessment but straight from the horses mouth. Costa, 27, returned last weekend from a three-match ban for striking Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny in the face during a 2-0 Chelsea win in September.
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On his return to the Premier Leagu, Costa showed no signs of limiting his physicality as he scored one and forced an own goal for another in his first game back, a victory against Aston Villa.
Speaking in an interview with the BBC’s Football Focus show, Costa had the following to say about his aggressive style of play which has seen the Spanish international lose his place in the national team with Vicente del Bosque far from impressed.
“I’ve got this far thanks to the way I play the game,” Costa said. “I’m not going to change that because of what people may think of it… I think that football has always had a passionate, aggressive side, with players giving their all. People have to get used to this. Some people seem to think football is like theatre, and that everyone has to play the good guy.
“But I think that you transform when you cross the white line, you’re not the same person as off it. I give no quarter and I ask for none. Out there I’m going to fight for my team and do the best I can. Afterwards, when the match is over, I have my family and my friends. I have fun like a normal person. But on the pitch don’t try and put wings on me, as I am no angel.”
With Costa unwilling to change the kind of behavior which also saw him banned for three games earlier in 2015 for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can, what kind of message is this sending out? A lack of maturity or realization that he will be hurting his team in the long run? Or maybe that he knows if he takes the physical element out of his game, he doesn’t have much left. He isn’t the fastest or the biggest but he throws his weight around impressively and runs himself into the ground for the team.
He is one of those players who fans of opposition teams love to hate, but Chelsea fans adore him as he gives his all for the team and plays on the edge. Yes, that means he often boils over and his antics certainly aren’t in line with sportsmanship but he ruffles the feathers of defenders and if he’s not scoring the goals, his bullish forward play often opens up spaces for other Chelsea attackers to exploit.
Soccer is a contact sport, but I think we can all agree that Costa pushes, and oversteps, the accepted boundaries time and time again. Expect more red cards and bans to come his way.