Diego Costa is the worst kind of footballer, FA showed negligence in Mark Sampson saga

ANTONIO CONTE has held firm in his conviction throughout all the temperamental outbursts and verbal spats and provocative behaviour that Chelsea will be better off without Diego Costa.


Posted Sunday, September 24, 2017 by Express.co.uk

Diego Costa is the worst kind of footballer, FA showed negligence in Mark Sampson saga
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte dealt perfectly with Diego Costa

He is 100 per cent correct.

Rarely can a major transfer away from a major Premier League club be such a relief to all concerned --- and such a delight to those of us who care about how the game is played.

Costa is a consistent goal-scorer, which is significant in football. He is a striker of immense physical strength, another crucial attribute.

The player from Brazil, who decided to switch national allegiance to Spain, is also a moody, malevolent, much-disliked figure. A couple of years ago the prestigious French daily sports paper L’Equipe named Costa as the most hated footballer in the world.

Why?

That’s simple. It was the way he deliberately tried to wind up opposition players, with sly off-the-ball antics or rather more obvious violent stamps. Costa is an agent provocateur of football, and his success in getting players like Arsenal defender Gabriel sent off for retaliation in one particularly notable incident.

Chelsea supporters celebrated his goals that helped to capture two Premier League titles in three years, but they also saw the flip side of his nature, and singled him out with angry jeers for being one of the players they felt was responsible for the departure of previous manager Jose Mourinho.

If that was one power struggle in which Costa could egotistically perceive himself as the victor, he found an implacable foe in Conte.

The Chelsea manager had his first test early last season when Costa theatrically demanded to be substituted during a home match against Leicester.

Conte ignored the nonsense, and insisted that his player stay on the field. There can only be one boss.

The striker stirred far more trouble in training as a mega-money transfer offer landed from China in the winter transfer window. Conte dropped him from the team, triumphed in another power wrestle, and then negotiated a truce until the end of the season with gritted teeth diplomacy. 

Costa was always being marched out of the exit door in the summer, but his fate was surely sealed on the night Chelsea won the title away to West Brom.

After the game, Conte had all the duties of a modern manager --- talking to TV stations from around the world, radio interviewers and then the newspaper briefings.

Costa burst into the last of these, shouting and wailing like the worst spoilt brat in the playground. He wanted to end the briefing so he could hurry off to a party. The manager kept talking. So the player picked up a fire extinguisher and threatened to start it spraying. The manager kept talking and talking.

It was an absurd piece of theatre, but Conte’s face told you everything about his distaste for the Chelsea striker he had inherited and would never pick again.

There was one final attempt at disruption by Costa during the summer when he revealed a private text from Conte that he would not figure in Chelsea’s future plans.

The player’s desire was to embarrass the manager --- and it prompted headlines that Conte faced trouble with the club because the farrago might mean a diminished transfer price.

Oh really?

A couple of days ago Costa was sold to his former club Atletico Madrid for a £58million fee that could rise to £67m, even though he cannot play until January because the Spanish club have a ban on transfer purchases until then.

Chelsea had not casually thrown away a fortune at all; they had actually doubled their money on a player who had been too much trouble for too long.

Nobody should be sorry to see him go. Costa is the worst kind of footballer; one who believes he can play to his own demonic rules, whether in provoking opponents to misdeeds on the pitch, or whether treating some of the finest managers of our time with rotten disdain.

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