Diego Costa finally gets his team and the saga that has been rolling along since January and probably before that has finally ended.
We will miss him. He was undoubtedly a beast of a striker and contributed significantly to two title wins in three years. Last season his 20 goals contributed 15 points more than any of the leagues top strikers and more than enough to deliver Chelsea the title.
He was undoubtedly the kind of striker that Chelsea supporters love. In your face, balls out, a warrior, a fierce competitor and a winner. He would berate the fans and get them up when needed and he reveled in doing what he did best – bullying the opposition and putting the ball in the back of the net.
He also wound up…everybody. Referees, journalists, pundits, opposition managers, players and supporters the list seems endless. He was a bastard but he was our bastard and we loved him for it. After all, he walked the line with his behaviour on the pitch but with a streetwise nous he usually got away with it.
All of which makes his ending at Chelsea all the more frustrating. Had he stayed I firmly believe that he could have made an impact on the club as great as Didier Drogba’s.
That it is not to be is I’m afraid very much down to what modern football has become. It is a game ruled by money and there is absolutely no loyalty. Even loyalty from supporters is no longer a given judging by the abuse dished out to the players, board and manager at the slightest hint of disappointment.
Instead we have an influx of players who come as hired guns and mercenaries. They’ll do the job, the dirtier the better, provided the price is right. If some other club offers them more then their head will turn and off they go quickly proclaiming their undying love for the shirt and the supporters who eagerly chant their name.
Of course, this appears to have happened to Costa when a Chinese club came offering millions to him. The relationship between Club, Manager and Player soured soon afterwards and things were never really quite the same. Supporters can be more forgiving and in a game devoid of strong characters and personalities its easy to understand why.
Yes, he could be frustrating. Yes he could be downright bonkers. Yes he was perhaps disruptive of team spirit especially during Mourinho’s ‘annus horribilis’ and latterly by showing the club and the supporters downright contempt by effectively going on strike in Brazil until he got his way. But ultimately he gave us three years and some great goals. Modern football increasingly dictates that our relationship with players is becoming more transitory.
We shouldn’t be too downhearted by this. It’s human nature. It would be naive to believe that a game so rampantly commercial and selfish would throw up anything else.
Better to enjoy these hired guns while they are with us knowing that it will be better to savour them than sulk when they depart.
Sadly it’s another part of our football history and culture that is disappearing. I wonder how many of our current players in 20 years time would be willing to spend time with and engage with the supporters like so many former Chelsea greats still do.
Farewell Diego Costa and thanks for the memories. You were mad, bad and dangerous to know and I for one loved you for it.
As Pink Floyd would put it: “shine on you crazy diamond”