Liverpool are looking to seal a £22million deal for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa. We look at what the 24-year-old can bring to Anfield, including the baggage he brings with him.
Name: Diego da Silva Costa
Date of birth: 7 October 1988 (age 24)
Place of birth: Lagarto, Brazil
Height: 1.88m (6ft 2in)
Playing position: ST / LW / RW
Should Liverpool complete the £22million signing of Atletico Madrid attacker Diego da Silva Costa, they will have a beast on their hands in no need of taming.
His temperament is part of his game and what makes him such a handful to La Liga defenders. More on that later.
Born in Lagarto, on the East coast of Brazil, Costa grew up playing mainly beach football until he was signed up by Portuguese side Braga at the age of 17.
He was immediately loaned out to Portgueuse Segunda Liga side FC Penafiel, where he made 13 appearances, scoring 5 times.
By 2007, Costa had caught the eye of Atletico Madrid as an emerging talent for the future. He continued to play for Braga until the end of the season, with his ownership shared.
He then spent loan spells at Celta Vigo (5 goals in 30 appearances) and Albacete (9 goals in 35 appearances), before being sold to Valladolid in 2009. Again the economics of his ownership were somewhat hazy.
Despite a good start for Valladolid, the club were relegated from La Liga and Costa had scored 7 in 24 appearances, still fairly low for a striker.
He was taken back to Atletico Madrid, and after a bad knee injury played a brief loan spell at Rayo Vallecano, where his career career came alight, scoring 9 times in 16 appearances.
In his second spell at Atletico, to date, he has scored 16 times in 59 league appearances.
Of course, all this history spouting is pretty irrelevant and can probably be found in a simple list on his Wikipedia entry.
He’s a controversial figure in Spain, very much a Marmite type player. Footballing style and technique aside, you could forgive anyone wishing to compare him to Suarez.
During the 2012/13 campaign he was involved in a series of controversial incidents which prompted Spanish newspaper Marca to run the headline, “Dr Jekyll and Mr Costa” – loved by his own fans, hated by rivals.
Guardian columnist Sid Lowe sums up his on-the-field personality perfectly:
Diego Costa says that he never takes his work home with him. Which is probably a good thing. If he did, the Atlético Madrid striker might walk through the door, goad the dog with a stick, surreptitiously elbow his wife out of the way on the stairs, shrug his shoulders innocently as she lay in a crumpled heap at the bottom and whisper insults to his children, look the other way and whistle when they burst into tears. He might stroll into the living room and dramatically collapse on the floor, roll around the rug holding his head and appeal for a penalty. He might even get it too.
In December 2013, he was involved in a literal spat with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos in a fiery derby in the Spanish capital, though no disciplinary action followed for Costa.
In the same month his temperament got he better of him as Atletico slipped up in Europe, going down 1-0 to Viktoria Plzen in the Europa League. He was sent off for pushing over a player just seconds from full-time. He was later handed a four-match ban from UEFA.
Costa has had a stuttered start to his career over in Europe. His goal tally through the six clubs he’s represented isn’t one to shout home about too much, but he has an animal magnetism that has certainly kept Atletico and La Liga interested through the years.
His physical strength is one to torment the most confident of Premier League defenders, who will certainly not be looking forward to facing him should Brendan Rodgers pull of this signing.
On the international stage too, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has noticed a quality in Costa worth having, recently calling him up for international friendlies against Italy and Russia. To date he has won those two caps for his country.
So hit and miss, good days and bad days, loved and hated, Jekyll and Hyde – that’s Costa in a nutshell. If Anfield bound, expect a series of fireworks, groans and strategic analysis of whether he’s doing the job he should – scoring.