Diego Costa: The villain who plays victim
Why Antonio Conte was right to ask Diego Costa to leave Chelsea...
"Conte sent me a message saying he does not count on me for next season, so I’ll have to find a way out."
Those were the exact words of Diego Costa in a post match presser after he featured for Spain in a friendly last month.
If I were to write a book on Costa's time at Chelsea, it would be titled "The villain who played victim". On and off the pitch, that would be the apt way to describe him.
If you still don't know or understand why, things will be obvious once you are done reading this article. It's not going to be in the style of '13 Reasons Why', but still, it feels right to say "Diego Costa, welcome to your tape!"
The constant threat
3 seasons, 2 Premier League trophies, 1 League Cup (not mentioning the sponsors as it might change every time you read it). Well, that's not all. He also handed in 3 transfer requests, all of which were rejected.
Rewind to January 2016, Chelsea are struggling in the league, Jose Mourinho has just been sacked, and there is a lot of negativity in the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. While players like Eden Hazard, Cesar Azpilicueta and even the rarely used Cesc Fabregas were trying to keep their heads straight, there was Costa trying to force a move away.
Skip to the summer, Antonio Conte arrives, and the first thing he hears from Costa is that he wants to leave! This is not something made up by the media, it was revealed by Costa himself.
Imagine yourself being appointed as the head of a group project and the first thing you hear is that one person does not want to be a part of it.
"The relationship with Conte did not begin well because on arrival I told him that I wanted to go to Atletico. I did everything possible to return to Atletico. I won't fight like that to return again. When Atletico had to wait for me, they didn't. There was still a month of the market to go." Costa told Cadena Ser.
But when he could not move back, he begged to stay. Chelsea had a bid rejected for Alvaro Morata that time and were plotting a move for Romelu Lukaku. As soon as he knew that Conte had decided to sign a replacement, he went and spoke with the manager and convinced him to give him a chance.
"When Atletico did not wait I went with the tail between the legs to speak with Conte." said Costa.
Conte listened, and things were going great. Chelsea were on a stunning unbeaten run and were cruising to the Premier League title... and that's when the Spaniard decided to show his dirty side once again.
An offer from China was on the table, and as Chelsea could not afford to lose him, they rejected the bid. A bust-up with Conte in the training ground followed this, and the striker was made to sit out for a couple of games.
And now, when Conte is asking him to leave; he's acting as if he wanted to stay and he's being thrown out. Costa is acting like a particularly petulant dog who kept barking when he was chained, and when the chains are taken off, he feels helpless and insecure.
Playing the victim card has not helped him one bit. Chelsea fans turned out to be smarter than what he thought. No one has turned against the manager and taken the side of the striker. Maybe not all the fans, but yeah, the 90% of them who are actual fans of the club.
Spreading negativity; nothing else...
Now that the transfer request part is over, I want everyone to take a moment and think of what Costa has done at Chelsea. If you are thinking about just the goals scored and the trophies he has won, you may be missing out on a lot more...
Let's go to the very start of his Chelsea career. Under Jose Mourinho, he started off well but soon after he began to show his true colours. Fights with opponents got him unnecessary cards and suspensions.
The 'dirty tactics' of Mourinho got a lot dirtier. It was so bad that Jose confronted Costa once in the dressing room, but instead of listening, he shouted back.
That is not the kind of atmosphere you want in the dressing room, and that's exactly why Conte has decided to let him go.
More than anything, the Chelsea manager understood how much of a negative influence Costa could be on the players. And this is the actual reason why Costa has been told to stay away from the Chelsea squad this summer.
Just look at what Costa did last night. Going live on Instagram while partying back home isn't a bad thing at all. Many footballers have done that, but none of them have worn the jersey of another club while doing it. Not a one.
I understand the 'love' Costa has for Atletico, but that does not mean that you disrespect your current club. What will a man who never gets any respect know anything about respect anyway?
From Villain to Hero and again to a Villain...
Honestly, I have never been a fan of Diego Costa. When Chelsea were first linked with him, he came with Atletico Madrid to Stamford Bridge, got involved in a fight with John Terry and that was the point when I understood what this guy actually was.
After the match, I got to know that Jose Mourinho was interested in signing him in the summer. About 2 am here; I got on YouTube to see a little more of Costa.
FIVE of the seven videos I saw of him that night had nothing but negative things to point out about him along with his hamstring issues. And trust me, I did not pick those seven videos, they were the first seven that showed up when I searched for Diego Costa.
When he started punching and scratching opponents and also handing in transfer request after request, it was not just his image that he was tarnishing, it was of the club as well. A few fans were still defending him, but things were decided in March that Costa would not be at the club next season.
Thanks, Costa! But it's time to move on. Stop playing a victim, this is a hole you dug for yourself, not something you accidentally fell into!