Diego Costa is a Brazilian-born Spanish international professional footballer who opted to switch allegiance to Spain after being granted citizenship, despite having already played twice for his native country.
Costa is best described as a confrontational, tough, mind-game playing, win-at-all-cost player who could be the kindest friend one could have but mostly a terror to an opponent on the pitch. He is well known around the world from his time in England representing Chelsea Football Club as well as in Spain representing Atletico Madrid.
Here is all you need to know about Diego Costa, his rise from being a teenage truck driver in Brazil to becoming one of Europe’s most feared strikers.
Diego Costa was born Diego da Silva Costa on the 7th of October, 1988 in Lagarto, Sergipe, Brazil to José de Jesus and Josileide Costa. His father was an avid football fan and chose to name his son after Argentine legend Diego Maradona. His other son, Jair, was named after Brazilian footballer Jairzinho.
Costa played a lot of street football while growing up. He has attributed his mental toughness to having excelled in street football. Costa started going for trails when he turned 15-years-old. After failing to impress at his hometown teams’ trials, Costa moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, to live and work with his uncle while also trying out at the football clubs in the city.
Through his uncle’s connections, Costa was able to land a contract with a team in the south of the city called Barcelona Esportiva Capela. His performances got the attention of one of the most influential football agents in the world, Jorge Mendes, who offered him a contract with Portuguese club Sporting de Braga. Costa took the opportunity despite objections by his father who was wary of him going to Europe at a young age.
In February 2006, Costa made his first appearance for Braga’s reserves. He was later loaned out to second division Portuguese side F.C. Penafiel where his performances continued to impress his coaches and scouts. In December 2006, Atletico Madrid came calling for the striker’s signature and he joined the Spanish capital club for a fee of €1.5m and 50% of the player’s rights.
Costa was, however, immediately loaned back to Braga for the remainder of the season. He most notably scored a last-minute winner against Parma for the Portuguese side in a UEFA Cup round of 16 matches.
In July 2007, Costa was presented to Atletico Madrid fans as the new Kaka. Later that month, he was loaned out to Spanish second division side Celta de Vigo for the season. His disruptive character was evident for everyone to see while he was at Celta as he got sent off a number of times for diving, dissent, showboating/celebrating in front of opposition players and fans, and fighting.
Despite all the negative sides to his game, Costa was still wanted by many teams. In 2008, he was again sent out on loan by Atletico to another Spanish second division side, Albacete. There he became a central figure in their battle to avoid relegation. He also became something of a cult hero when he threatened to go on strike unless all the club’s non-playing staff were paid in full.
Diego Costa spent the 2009-2010 season with Valladolid which ended in them being relegated from the Spanish first division. He returned to Atletico in the summer of 2010 to be used as a back up to Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan. However, under the guidance of manager Quique Sanchez Flores, Costa became a starter, notching up a total of 64 goals in 135 appearances in both sides of a half a season-long loan spell to Rayo Vallecano and a knee injury.
Having orchestrated the semi-final defeat of Chelsea in the Champions League, the Blues made Costa a transfer target and in the summer of 2014, they triggered his £32 million buy-out clause. He immediately became a nightmare for Premier League defenders as he forged a partnership with Cesc Fabregas to lead Chelsea to a Premier League and League Cup double.
Costa’s antics followed him to the Premier League in 2015, where he was dubbed Premier League’s dirtiest player and was named the most hated footballer by French newspaper L’Equipe. He played a total of 120 games and scored 59 goals before falling out with Chelsea coach Antonio Conte.
In 2017, Diego Costa returned back to Spain to continue his longtime love affair with Atletico Madrid.
Diego Costa’s Family – Brother, Girlfriend, Wife
Diego Costa’s brother, Jair Costa, has in the past been a spokesperson for his brother. The older Costa brother, who at a younger age played football in Brazil and earned a three-month trial at Basque club Salvatierra, did not become a professional footballer like his brother.
Costa previously dated Brazilian clothing store owner and model Michele Zuanne whom he met at a party in February 2010 in Madrid. The relationship, which looked like it was made in heaven, began to unravel when Costa allegedly tried to make a pass at her younger sister a few months later. The two immediately went their separate ways following a confrontation.
The Spanish international has since gotten married and has a daughter. It is not clear who the wife is.
Height, Weight, and Body Stats
Diego Costa’s height is recorded at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88m). The star striker, who has had issues with his weight in the past, is currently weighing in at 85kg (187.5lbs). Other body statistics are chest – 42 inches (107cm), arms/biceps – 15 inches (38cm), and waist – 33 inches (84cm).