Diego Costa is racing against time and return from injury to lead Madrid Atletico against Arsenal in next week’s Europa Cup final. A win by Atletico will deny Arsene Wenger a farewell trophy as he prepares to leave Arsenal at the end of the season.
Costa has been side-lined since Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 defeat to Sporting CP in the last round of the Europa League, where he was forced off with a hamstring issue.
The 29-year-old, according to 90 min, will continue to play no part in the Spanish capital outfit’s encounters, including their LaLiga clash with Real Betis on Sunday evening.
The publication, quoting UK’s Daily Mail remarked, the former Chelsea man is aiming to feature at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday with the motivation of frustrating Wenger again his main inspiration.
Costa was with Chelsea when he provoked the sending off of Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista in 2015 at Stamford Bridge, a clash the hosts would go on to win 2-0.
Several encounters, including a pushing contest with Laurent Koscielny in the first half, had seen the Brazilian-born front-man get under the skin of the French manager leading up to the dismissal.
Although his somewhat overdramatic reaction as Gabriel stepped on his foot, which catalysed the now-Valencia man’s exclusion through a second bookable offence, was something Wenger took issue with post-match.
“He hits him [Koscielny] in the face on purpose. In every game there is aggravation, but he gets away with it because of the weakness of the referee”, the 68-year-old, who announced he will be leaving Arsenal at the end of this season, said at the time.
“We are guilty because we responded. We knew before the game that he was only looking for that and when he gets touched he goes down like he has been killed. It’s a big injustice. Twice he [Costa] should have been sent off.”
However, despite the striker’s personal motivation to break back into Atletico Madrid’s starting XI ahead of the trip to London, boss Diego Simeone told Metro ahead of his side’s clash with Betis that he sees his talisman having more of an impact on the second leg than next week’s contest
“The doctors will keep us informed, but I think it’s unlikely that he will play on Thursday”, the Argentine said. “He’ll be back for the second leg, but I don’t think he’ll have a chance for the first.”