For a matter of less than €60M, Diego Costa has returned to his alma mater at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Costa’s playing style epitomises the pugnacious spirit and fight of the Atletico Madrid team, with occasional streaks of brilliant skill. But can he make a difference this season ?
Atletico manager Diego Simeone and the colchonero fans are licking their lips at the prospect.Why? Mainly the prospect of the Costa dynamite teaming up with the explosive (if sub-par this season) Antoine Griezmann (whose eventual replacement, admittedly, Costa may be). And not to forget TNT Torres (Fernando that is!). Costa resisted any temptation to slag off Chelsea (who reportedly paid him the compliment of hoofing the big guy out by WhatsApp….).
Atletico have been blessed with a seemingly never-ending stream of top strikers in the past few years (Griezmann, Costa, Agüero, Forlan, Falcao, Torres, Mandzukic…oh, not to mention Villa, Vieri, Hasselbaink and Futre). The most interesting cases (and most lucrative for the club) are the ones who made their names here at Atletico, almost always in astounding headline-grabbing fashion and leading a charge by the rojiblancos in La Liga or Europe.
Many of these stars who emerged here ended up as pretty much the hottest properties on the world’s market for strikers. Needless to say selling these players to the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United has provided a rather pleasant revenue stream (especially if the same player could be bought back a few years later at a relative snip !)
Maybe. Playing their first season at the new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, Atletico Madrid finished 2017 in second place, perched 9 points behind FC Barcelona and 2 points ahead of this year’s comeback kids Valencia CF. But this second position placing arguably says more about Real Madrid’s disappointing form this season than anything however.
Simeone’s team of European stalwarts departed at the group stage from the Champions League this season. A disappointment given their recent track record. The team are sure to give 100% playing in the Europa League. Even so, if anyone can catch Barcelona it is maybe Atletico.