Diego Costa has fallen far from the heights he set himself last season. Not only have the goals dried up but his controversial behaviour on the pitch has invited plenty of criticism, not to mention a three-match ban.
But Wayne Rooney has given the striker one reason to be cheerful after admitting he voted for him to be the PFA Player of the Year last season.
Costa scored 20 goals in what was his debut season in English football, helping Chelsea to a fourth Premier League title. Eden Hazard would go on to claim the award, but the Manchester United striker believe Costa's contributions were superior to that of his Belgian team-mate.
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Rooney has had to take a fair share of flack for his own aggression over the years – he is one of only two players to be sent off twice while playing for England – and has plenty of respect for the way Costa goes about playing football.
Speaking ahead of England's friendly against Spain, Rooney admitted: "I actually voted for him as player of the year last season because I think he was a huge player for Chelsea.
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"I think what Chelsea missed the season before was that fight up front and he gave them that and I strongly believe that's why they became champions. Obviously it hasn't gone as well as it did last season for him but I think he is a fantastic player.
"He's a fighter and I think that's part of his game, and it's going to be very difficult for anyone to ask him not to do that. I feel that's in him - that fight. He thrives on that and that gets his team-mates going as well."
Drop in form
Costa is unlikely to inspire any votes if his form does not pick up in the near future. The Spain international has just three goals in all competitions this term and was found guilty of violent conduct last month after clashing with Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny last month.
Another clash with Stoke's Ryan Shawcross last weekend as well as a kick on Liverpool's Martin Skrtel the week before has kept him in a bad light amongst Premier League fans with another charge from the FA looking inevitable.
The worst of Costa this season
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