Diego Costa turns 33 today and has had a glittered career as known for goal scoring and winning trophies as for red cards and controversial moments
“Don’t put wings on me; I am no angel,” said the Brazilian-born, Spanish international named after an Argentinian legend.
Diego Costa at his peak was one of the best strikers in Europe.
He terrified defenders in his two spells at Atletico Madrid and his time at Chelsea.
However, the star, named after Diego Maradona, was as known for controversial moments where he lost his temper as much as for scoring goals.
From accusations of biting, to being called a “cheat” by his own teammate, Costa brought more than goals to a team.
The star turns 33 today, as he continues to ply his trade back in his home country of Brazil for Atletico Mineiro.
Here, Mirror Football have gone back through his career and picked out three of his most controversial moments.
London derby “cheat”
London derbies can often be heated affairs, but Costa bought an added edge to the matches.
In fact, Arsenal had their own player, Gabriel, sent off.
Costa and Koscielny clashed on the field, with the striker pushing at the defender’s face before swinging a hand backwards and slapping him.
This led to a confrontation in which the ref thought Gabriel had kicked out at Costa in the ensuing fracas.
Costa for his part went down extremely easily and ‘simulated’ the foul, leading to Gabriel’s red card.
After the game, Gabriel’s red card was rescinded.
Rival manager Arsene Wenger called Costa’s conduct “disgusting” and even his teammate Kurt Zouma called him a “cheat”.
Zouma later backtracked and apologised, saying Costa is in fact, “not” a cheat.
Bite of the Barry
Despite his sometimes questionable conduct, Costa went almost two years without getting sent off during a game for Chelsea.
The inevitable red card eventually came on March 12th 2016 in a 2-0 loss in the FA Cup quarter-final.
It happened after repeated clashes between Costa and Everton ’s Gareth Barry until the two squared off.
Camera footage appeared to catch Costa trying to bite Barry but both later denied a bite happened.
Reuters / Phil Noble)
Nevertheless Costa was sent off for his actions, and then, after refusing to leave the pitch, given a three-match ban by the FA and dropped from the Spanish national team by Vincente del Bosque.
The event led to comparisons to Luis Suarez.
Barry’s intervention saying Costa did not bite him meant there was no possibility Costa would face anything similar to Suarez’s ten match ban.
As if there was not enough happening in one game, at half-time, prior to being sent off, Costa made an alleged gesture towards the Everton supporters where he appeared to swear at them.
Just because you Can, does not mean you should
When Chelsea and Liverpool met, Costa once more brought an added edge to the already intense games.
During the match, Costa stamped on Emre Can’s ankle whilst the Liverpool midfielder was on the floor.
Costa was slapped with a violent conduct charge and three-game ban he unsuccessfully appealed.
However despite this not being Costa’s first accusation of stamping on players, the striker maintained his innocence throughout.
Costa admitted he was “no angel” but he claimed he could sleep easy at night knowing he had not meant to stand on Can.