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Diego Costa: The fiery individual the Premier League won’t forget

Saturday 23rd September 2017
Diego Costa is set to re-join Atletico Madrid in January after a deal was seemingly agreed by the Madrid club and Chelsea for his transfer. The Spanish frontman has been surrounded by speculation for months after being told by Antonio Conte he was no longer needed at Stamford Bridge.

Costa has netted 52 Premier League goals during his three seasons in English football, and in just 89 appearances as well. A goal return any striker would be proud to boast no doubt and he has been a success at Chelsea from a footballing perspective. However, he is a notorious handful and has a knack of getting into trouble. Whether it be with the opposition, his fellow teammates or even his own manager, Costa has been no stranger to bust-up and on more than one occasion has been forced to suffer the consequences of his actions. He is the definition of a fiery character who is difficult to manage and maintain, but if he is happy and enjoying his football, he is a fantastic asset up top. You could argue that the Premier League is better off without him, that his bust-ups and altercations are not something the game needs which is a fair point. But, he was a rather entertaining figure when all's said and done. Granted he didn't cause any real harm of course!

His early days at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho provided a fruitful goal run. He took no time in finding his goalscoring touch in England with four in his first three games and being named Player of the Month in the process. It seemed that his battling, robust style was a perfect match for the Premier League and was quickly being seen as a potential Player of the Year candidate. He was remotely incident free until the new year struck and in January 2015 his first run-in with the FA disciplinary panel occurred. After seeming to intentionally stamp on Liverpool's Emre Can in his side's 1-0 league cup he was charged with violent conduct, a charge which he denied and was subsequently banned for three games. To add to the spice of everything he also clashed with Martin Skrtel who had taken a disliking to Costa's actions.

Costa kept his nose relatively clean for the remainder of the season and went on to win both the League cup and Premier League trophy. However, within the first few games of the following season, Costa's temper and notoriety for trouble once again reared its ugly head. Costa clashed with Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny; when he rather aggressively shoved the Frenchman in the face off the ball. This was missed by referee Mike Dean and the FA once again had to step in. He was banned, yet again, for three matches, the game heated up even more after a red card in the game for Gabriel that also involved Costa. Controversy galore and his behaviour on the pitch even led to Arsene Wenger blasting the Chelsea centre-forwards action, deeming his behaviour “disgusting.”

This early season ban kicked off a rather torrid season for Costa and Chelsea. The returning champions suffered an awful defence of their title and ultimately failed to even qualify for Europe, Costa's form and frosty relationship with those around him coincided with this. In a game away at White Hart Lane in November, Jose Mourinho opted not to bring Costa on from the bench in a decision which angered the former Atletico Madrid striker incessantly. Costa replied to the news by throwing his substitutes bib at Mourinho, not too painful an act of course but a mini tantrum none the less. This incident sparked a fallout between player and manager that would never seem to be fully resolved right up until Chelsea sacked Mourinho the following month. Costa did pick up a degree of form in the second half of the season during Guus Hiddink's return to Stamford Bridge but it wasn't without incident. He received a red card for an altercation with Everton midfielder Gareth Barry in an FA Cup quarter-final defeat and was initially given a two-match ban before having it increased by a further game.

Throughout his year under Antonio Conte, the incidents surrounding him were mainly to do with his new Italian manager. During January speculation of him joining the increasingly popular Chinese Super League rich list was rife and after a row in training, in which Conte reportedly told Costa to go to China, he was subsequently dropped for Chelsea's trip to Leicester the following weekend. The pair however quickly kissed and made up and Costa returned to the team for the remainder of the season. As the season came to a close and Chelsea cruised to the title again the speculation on Costa's future was still in the air and in an interview whilst on international duty he revealed that Conte had informed him via text message that he would no longer be required at Stamford Bridge. Perhaps a face to face meet was a bit too intimidating for the Italian manager after knowing full well how aggressive his centre-forward can be.

Ever since the revelation of the text message Costa's time at Chelsea has seemed all but over but he will still have to wait until January to get his move back to Atletico under beloved boss Diego Simeone. He was named in Chelsea's Premier League squad but the likelihood of him putting on the blue shirt of Chelsea ever again seem all but nil. Instead, the league will lose one of its most controversial characters to date and, despite his goals, will always be remembered as a man who simply couldn't stay out of trouble.
Ryan Stewart

23 years old, Sport Journalism graduate living in Salford. Work in web content in Media city and always looking to break in to sports writing. Manchester United season ticket holder.

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