Eight of Diego Costa's most iconic moments for Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Spain

The fiery Spaniard has long been the dynamite in many a fixture across the continent. Here’s a look back at some of his unforgettable moments in Spain and England.

He's a player that you would rather on your side than not.

Diego Costa divides opinion but his scoring acumen is undeniable, boasting 193 career goals.

Currently clubless after a mutual agreement was arranged to terminate his contract at Atletico Madrid, Planet Sport reflects on an at times tempestuous yet trophy-laden career so far.

Beginnings at Atletico

A young Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid in 2007
A young Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid in 2007

A tumultuous start to life in Europe with Portuguese giants Braga saw Costa have spells at six different clubs in four years, including Atletico Madrid.

The Madridian outfit even sold Costa to Real Valladolid before purchasing him in the following summer transfer market through a buy-back clause established in the initial move.

The unsettled nature of his time thus far in Europe was only compounded by a knee injury that not only kept him out for the season's majority but also put the brakes on another move in 2011, this time to Besiktas.

After a successful loan move to Rayo Vallecano in 2012, where he netted 10 times in 16 appearances, Costa began establishing himself for the Rojiblancos for both good and bad reasons.

He was red carded after headbutting Viktoria Plzen's David Lambersky in the Champions League and received a four-match ban from UEFA, but also netted in the Copa del Rey final victory over Real Madrid the same season.

Brazil and switch to Spain

Costa caused controversy after swapping Brazil for Spain
Costa caused controversy after swapping Brazil for Spain

Costa's ability to switch national allegiances was enabled after only playing in friendlies for his native Brazil.

He was born and raised in Lagarto, Brazil, residing in the country for the first 17 years of his life before his first big move over the Atlantic Ocean to Braga in 2006.

After obtaining Spanish citizenship in July 2013, Costa submitted his application to switch sides in October of the same year and was included in the national squad of friendlies five months later.

Then-manager of Brazil Luiz Felipe Scolari scorned at the decision, commenting '(Costa) is turning his back on a dream of millions'.

He has since represented them in two World Cups, amassing 22 caps and 10 goals.

First League title, 2014

Costa's 27 goals propelled Atletico to the La Liga title
Costa's 27 goals propelled Atletico to the La Liga title

Costa and co. were able to deliver Atletico's first La Liga title in 17 years in 2014, beating the famed Messi/Ronaldo monopoly on Spain's premier competition.

The Colchoneros beat the other big two by three clear points to take home the crown, but it was also a season of personal accolades for the then 23-year-old in Costa.

He was the club's top goalscorer in the league with an astonishing 27, only beaten by the aforementioned lethal pair in the league's top scorer standings.

Becoming the first La Liga Player of the Month in September 2013, while also being nominated for the 'Best Forward' award at the LFP awards and the Puskas Award, only heightened the massive sense of achievement for him and his side.

The white half of Madrid exacted revenge a month later by beating Atleti in the Champions League final with a 4-1 victory in extra-time.

PFA Team of the Year

Costa's credibility went up another level in his first season with Chelsea.

The Blues secured his services after being impressed by the season previous outing in Spain's capital, matching his £32million buy-out clause.

The large fee very much paid dividends as Costa featured in the PFA Team of the Season, breaking the 20 goal-a-season mark for only the second time in his career.

He also aided in picking up more silverware by completing Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Tottenham at Wembley and winning the League Cup.

Gabriel confrontation, 2015

Diego Costa and Gabriel came to blows during a match between Chelsea and Arsenal
Diego Costa and Gabriel came to blows during a match between Chelsea and Arsenal

Chelsea could walk away high-spirited after their 2-0 triumph of Arsenal back in the infancy of the 2015/16 campaign, but ugly scenes from the likes of Costa and Gabriel marred the match-up.

El Cholo's initial confrontation came with Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny, who was slapped and puched onto the ground by the Spaniard before Gabriel intervened with an apparent kick.

Gabriel's action resulted with an immediate red card from referee Mike Dean, with the Chelsea starlet and Koscielny only both receiving yellows.

The FA charged Costa for violent conduct and was handed a three-match suspension and Gabriel with improper conduct, with the latter's initial red card rescinded.

The Costa soap opera continued not long after, nonetheless…

The bib incident, 2015

Throwing a bib at your manager might not be the best idea...
Throwing a bib at your manager might not be the best idea...

When Jose Mourinho elected to bring on the young Ruben Loftus-Cheek over the more experienced Costa to break the deadlock against fierce rivals Tottenham, the latter's reaction was furious to say the least.

After making his way back to the subs' bench from a warm-up, stripped the bib off and threw it in the direction of the manager in typical nonchalant fashion, much to the surprise of the surrounding press.

Costa, despite having only scored in one in their last eight games at that point, had indeed bagged the winner against Norwich the previous week - but Mourinho brushed off the situation, commenting 'For me his behaviour is normal. A top player on the bench will not be happy'.

Costa's career at Stamford Bridge survived the best part of another two years and was able to pick up the Premier League in the 2016/17 season, this time with Antonio Conte at the helm.

UEFA Super Cup, 2018

Beating your biggest rivals to win the UEFA Super Cup is iconic by anyone's standards
Beating your biggest rivals to win the UEFA Super Cup is iconic by anyone's standards

Costa's return back to Madrid for the second time brought with it a revival in career prospects.

His goal against Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals proved pivotal en route to securing their third competition win in 2018, meaning they met city rivals Real Madrid in the summer for the UEFA Super Cup.

A vintage display included a brace from the striker to secure a 4-2 win after extra-time in Tallinn, Estonia, breaking the record for the fastest goal in a UEFA Super Cup final after a mere 50 seconds.

It was the first time Atletico had beaten their rivals in a European final.

Eight-match ban, 2019

Costa has never been too far from the headlines
Costa has never been too far from the headlines

Referee Jesus Gil Manzano was the target of apparent shocking abuse from the bullish striker during his side's 2-0 loss against then runaway leaders Barcelona.

Manzano suggested that Costa insulted his mother, and in turn he was handed an eight-match suspension.

The suspension, which included four games missed for the insult and the other four for grabbing Manzano's arm, ruled out Costa for the remainder of the league season.

The following season was capped with a top-four finish but 'El Cholo' only had five league goals to his name. Costa's contract was terminated in December 2020 by mutual consent.

READ MORE: Lucas Moura's eight iconic moments for Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham Hotspur, Brazil and Sao Paulo

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