Diego Costa is a man against the world. The Chelsea and Spain striker appears to thrive off driving people up the wall whether that be Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista or Stoke's Ryan Shawcross.
His on-field antics have left him deeply unpopular with a number of fan bases across the Premier League and Europe so he is, naturally, the biggest target when either he or his team do not perform.
But just because he looks tough, it doesn't mean Costa is completely immune to the criticism he receives, especially when said criticism is unfairly dished out.
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That happened on Thursday evening after the former Atletico Madrid striker was thrown into the mix against Belgium following an injury to Alvaro Morata. And it seemed to be for the better as he provided an assist for David Silva's opening goal.
According to the man himself, it was one of his best games for the country but there is no getting around the fact that, as a striker, he has scored just once in ten caps.
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When asked about his worsening goal record, Costa hit back with venom. He claimed the media was discriminating against him because he is Brazilian-born and doesn't play for either Barcelona or Real Madrid.
“They criticise me a lot and if I played for Real Madrid or Barcelona and was a natural Spaniard they’d say I had a good game, possibly my best for the team,” Costa said on Thursday.
“I didn’t score but I can be useful to the team. I participated a lot in the game and I leave here happy, unlike in other games.“
Character in question
Costa received a three-game ban for an alleged slap on Laurent Koscielny last season and, in the campaign prior to that, was also suspended for stamping on Liverpool's Emre Can. These are just two incidents that have had plenty of critics questioning his character.
But the £32m man doesn't believe his character should be called into question when he has proven his quality on the pitch.
“I haven’t done great things for Spain, I can’t lie, but when I play well they should say so. They criticise me for my character, but I also have quality,” said Costa.
Costa finished on a positive note, ringing in a new era under new manager Julen Lopetegui, who was in charge of his first game since succeeding Vicente del Bosque. The 27-year-old was out of favour under Del Bosque and failed to make the cut for Euro 2016 but was recalled by Lopetegui.
“A new era has started. I have faith in my team mates,” said Costa. “It’s true that I have unfinished business with scoring but today I felt good and the goals will come.
“I’d be more concerned if I didn’t have chances, but the team is creating them and that’s good. I will score soon.”
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