- 78 kg
- October 7, 1988
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Jose Mourinho finally got the striker that he had been craving when Chelsea paid Atletico Madrid £32 million to secure the services of Brazil-born Spain international Diego Costa in July 2014.
Named "Diego" after Maradona by his football-loving parents, Costa grew up playing a brutal version of street football in Brazil where he honed his physical attributes. Beginning his footballing life at Barcelona Esportivo Capela in Sao Paulo, he moved to Portugal to play for Braga in 2006 on the advice of super-agent Jorge Mendes, who had noticed his talent.
However, bureaucracy limited his spell there and he was forced to move to join manager Rui Bento at Penafiel on loan. There, in 13 games, he netted five goals and attracted the attention of Atletico Madrid.
After his arrival for €1.5 million, Costa had to wait for his chance. He played for Sporting Braga, Celta Vigo and Albacete on loan before, having failed to impress on those spells, he was sold to Real Valladolid as part of the deal that took highly-rated young goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to the Vicente Calderon.
But he would be back within a year. Costa netted six goals in his first 12 games for Valladolid and, although he only added a couple more before the side were relegated at the end of the season, he had shown what he could do. It was enough for Atletico to activate the buy-back clause in his contract and he netted six goals in 28 games upon his return, before suffering a cruciate ligament injury the following season.
Needing time to heal, he was lent to Rayo Vallecano in 2012 and he blossomed during his time there, netting 10 goals in 15 games. But he also unleashed another side of himself. "On the pitch I fought with everyone, I couldn't control myself," he revealed. "I insulted everyone, I had no respect for the opposition. I thought I had to kill them."
Diego Simeone took him under his wing back in Madrid, paired him with Falcao and the result was there for everyone to see. The Colombian netted 34 goals and Costa got 20, and praise was forthcoming for both. When Falcao left for Monaco, Costa stepped into his shoes and scored 27 goals in 35 league matches, while also scoring eight on his club's way to the Champions League final. Injury hampered his participation in both competitions towards the end of the season, but he bagged himself a La Liga title winners' medal before a poor 2014 World Cup with Spain saw him return home after the group stages.
Starting a new chapter in his career with Chelsea, Costa's determination and goalscoring prowess saw him a perfect Premier League addition and he scored 20 goals in his first season in England, winning the Premier League and League Cup.
Strengths: Powerful and strong, Costa can bully defenders and then use his pace when a change is required. Incredibly competitive, his passion and will to win is second to none and his finishing is improving all the time.
Weaknesses: Injury and fitness concerns have hindered him somewhat, while his ability to influence big matches -- most notable in his showing at the World Cup -- can still be improved. His fiery temperament has also got him in trouble in the past.
Career high: Scoring 36 goals in all competitions in 2013-14, Costa helped Atletico to win a surprise La Liga title.
Career low: His performances helped Atletico reach the 2013-14 Champions League final, but he lasted just nine minutes before coming off with a recurring hamstring injury and then had to watch from the bench as Real Madrid won.
Style: Strong, fast, athletic, a striker with a good finishing touch.
Quotes: "He's at an age where he can continue to improve so let's hope he can develop further. I'm sure he'll be a success. I'm always going to be thankful to the players that give all their best. He had excellent performances while he was with us." Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, July 2014.
Trivia: Costa was born in Brazil, and chose to spurn his homeland to represent Spain at the 2014 World Cup. Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil's coach, said he had "turned his back on a dream of millions, to represent our national team, the five-time champions in a World Cup in Brazil."
- A: GoalAssists
- Appear: Appearance
- Comp: Competition
- FC: Fouls Committed
- FS: Fouls Suffered
- G: TotalGoals
- Oppo: Opponent
- RC: Red Cards
- Res: Result
- SG: Shots On Target
- SH: Total Shots
- YC: Yellow Cards