Two days after being sent off in an FA Cup quarterfinal for administering what’s been described as everything from a bite to a “sensual nibble” to Everton midfielder Gareth Barry, Chelsea’s Diego Costa is being linked to reports of returning to Atletico Madrid. Allegedly, the Brazilian-born striker has found it difficult to settle in London and is growing frustrated with the English media.
Saturday’s exit from the FA Cup now guarantees Chelsea will finish the season without a trophy. The London outfit are looking to shake things up in the summer transfer window and getting rid of Costa, a player who’s allowed controversy to over-shadow his talent since moving to English footballs, could be in the cards.
Meanwhile, Atletico was previously hit with a transfer ban that’s since been suspended. With Jackson Martinez having been sold to a club in the Chinese Super League and Fernando Torres’ contract ending, the La Liga outfit will be in the market for a striker. Bringing back Costa, who won a La Liga title with Atleti and has been linked to a return in the past, makes sense.
Costa has been a constant source of controversy since moving to the Premier League in the summer of 2014. But Saturday’s strange confrontation with Barry was perhaps the most disturbing on-pitch incident we’ve seen to date from the striker, who earlier in the same match was shown a yellow card for another confrontation with Barry and then appeared to spit at referee Michael Oliver’s feet. However, Saturday was the first red card Costa had been shown since arriving in English football, which is surprising considering how often the Spain international has made headlines for his antics and dirty tricks rather than his footballing talent.
In spite of his willingness to play the pantomime villain, Costa remains a supremely talented footballer and is known as a gentleman off the pitch, even though winding up opponents has always been part of his game. In Spain, the media are less prone to seize upon these types of incidents, however, the English media and fans have a particularly low tolerance for such behavior. This might be another reason Costa seems to be considering a return to Atleti and La Liga – a place where he could potentially return to the business of playing football and scoring goals rather than constantly courting media controversy.
If you missed Chelsea taking on Everton in the FA Cup this weekend, you can catch the rebroadcast this week on ONE World Sports.