Out of the crop of new arrivals in the Premier League at the start of the season, none went on to have an impact as big as Diego Costa. The Spaniard arrived at Stamford Bridge from Atletico Madrid for the tidy sum of £32 million.
He wasted no time making a name for himself and settling in, unlike many other players, and his future looks very bright at Chelsea for the 26 year old. From the get-go, Costa started scoring goals left, right and centre, and he proved himself to be more than a handful for the opposition. No other player has managed to ruffle feathers quite like Costa this year, seeing him often make headlines for his antics which saw him get under the skin of almost every defensive line in the country.
Considering Costa spent lengthy spells on the sidelines (a combination of suspensions and a niggling hamstring issue), the forward had a remarkable season leading the line for Chelsea. It is partly due to his goal scoring ability, physical strength and work ethic that Chelsea largely dominated the league and also lifted the Capital One Cup.
He may be hated by many and involved in every controversial moment on the pitch, but there is no denying his ability and it will be intriguing to see how teams try to contain Costa next season.
Here are 10 interesting facts about the aggressive, hard nosed and skilled Chelsea striker.
He was not coached until the age of 16
Costa first learnt the game on the streets of his hometown playing against those much bigger than him. He then moved to Sao Paulo, where his uncle encouraged him to join the local team where he became an instant success despite never receiving any coaching. His physical style may well come from this early introduction he had to the game.
He was 18 when he joined his first professional club, Braga in Portugal
Whilst in Sao Paulo, Costa met agent Jorge Mendes who took the teenager to Europe where he would sign for S.C Brage in Portugal. He would join the reserves before being loaned to F.C Penafiel in the second division, but he would soon be snapped up by Atletico Madrid in 2006. Costa would be loaned out over the next few years before returning to Atletico in 2010, as back up for Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan.
Costa vs. Martin Skrtel. Image Source: Telegraph
In domestic leagues he has picked up 64 yellow cards
Costa has a habit of getting under opponents skin and he is famous for his hard nosed, physical play. This sees him clash with the opposition (and the referees) often, and this means that he is booked on a regular basis. In domestic leagues, Costa has picked up a whopping 64 yellow cards but has only been sent off 3 times in league play. This includes 8 yellow cards in the league this season, and this will be something that Mourinho tries to address this summer to avoid another suspension.
He and Jose Mourinho have the same agent
After a breakout season at Atletico Madrid, Diego Costa became a target for many of the top clubs in Europe. He would end up at Chelsea, and the fact that he and Mourinho share the same agent may have aided in this. Both are represented by influential agent Jorge Mendes, who has other clients that include Cristiano Ronaldo, David De Gea, Angel Di Maria and Pepe.
He played 2 games for Brazil before changing to the Spanish national team
Costa was born in Brazil before moving to Europe when he was a teenager, and he was granted Spanish nationality in July 2013. He played 2 games for the Brazilian national team, but upon being granted Spanish nationality he requested a change and now has made 7 appearances for the Spanish team (and 1 goal). He is consequently not popular in Brazil, and was booed by the fans at the World Cup last summer.
Costa and his Atletio teammates back in 2013. [Dani Pozo/AFP/Getty Images]
He has won 6 trophies with Atletico Madrid and Chelsea
The 26 year old looks set to have a very bright future ahead of him and you can see him lifting plenty more trophies in the next few years. He already has 6 trophies to his name, doing the league and domestic cup double this season. Prior to this, Costa had lifted the La Liga title (2013/14), the UEFA Super Cup (2010 & 2012) and the Copa Del Rey (2012/13). Like most top players, Costa will look to add the Champions League trophy to his collection next season, having come close in 2013/14 when Atletico fell to Real Madrid in the final.
He fired Atletico to their first La Liga trophy since 1996
2013/14 proved to be a breakout season for Diego Costa, and his excellent goal scoring helped fire Atletico to their first La Liga trophy since 1996. Costa scored 27 league goals, making him the 3rd highest scorer in the division. He would also score against his current employers in the Champions League, helping Atletico advance to the final for the first time since 1974. It was quite a year for Diego and Atletico, and he has not looked back since.
This season he had a minute per goal ratio of 104.1
Although Costa contributes more than just goals, this is a large reason that Chelsea spent so much money on the striker. In the league this season Costa managed an impressive minutes per goal ratio of 104.1, making him one of the deadliest and most efficient players in the league. He managed 37 shots on target and created 41 chances in domestic competition, and you can expect much more of the same next season.
He scored 20 goals in his first season in the Premier League
Many strikers take time to adjust to the Premier League (Soldado being the obvious example), but not Costa. He scored in his first 4 competitive matches for Chelsea, including a hat-trick in the 4th game, and also picked up Player of the Month in August. He would go on to net 20 goals in the league in 26 appearances, earning him a selection to the PFA Team of the Year along with 5 of his teammates.
He is Chelsea’s joint 2nd most expensive signing
Diego Costa joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid in July 2014 for a tidy sum of £32 million. This makes him the joint 2nd most expensive signing for the Blues along with Eden Hazard, with fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres topping the list at £50 million in 2011. Torres managed 20 league goals in 4 years at Stamford Bridge, with Costa matching that total in just 26 league appearances.