The highlight of the first full weekend of hot Premier League action was not Manchester United flushing West Ham down the toilet, Wayne Rooney rescuing Everton, nor American ex-pat community Huddersfield Town winning their debut Premier League match 3-0. No, it was Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side eating shit in hilarious and futile fashion to fucking Burnley, the team who scored the fewest goals of any top-flight team that escaped relegation last year. After dumbass Gary Cahill picked up a red card just 14 minutes in, Burnley turned on the jets and bagged three goals within halftime. Chelsea ended up scoring twice, losing Cesc Fabregas in the 81st minute, and eventually falling to the Clarets, 3-2. It owned so hard.
Notably absent from the party was disgruntled Brazilian/Spanish striker Diego Costa. When he’s on, Costa is a terrifying maniac of a striker, capable of wrecking defenses with thunderous runs and strong finishes. He scored 20 goals last season and was the top forward in the league for a good chunk of time.
However, he’s also a notoriously difficult personality who loves to fight and even as Chelsea were cruising to a league title last season, Costa was already butting heads with manager Antonio Conte. He got into a “row” with a fitness coach, then was dropped from the lineup before a marquee matchup with Leicester and reportedly told to take his ass to China. Costa got “excused” from preseason training while Chelsea spent the summer making eyes at every available striker in the world before finally signing young Spanish star Álvaro Morata for £58 million.
Which brings us to this weekend, which Costa apparently spent watching Chelsea play while relaxing at his home in northeastern Brazil until a reporter from the Daily Mail just sort of showed up and got to watch it all unfold with him. Adam Crafton says he arrived at Costa’s house in Lagarto right after Burnley scored their third goal, and got to hang with the Costa family. The results were delightful.
‘It’s going well for Chelsea, isn’t it?’ he grimaces. ‘The red card changed the game but anyway, you’ve come a long way and I have nothing to hide. Come on in.’
Costa, who hasn’t been with Chelsea since May, is all set to leave the club however he can, and he’s been training by himself in Brazil while waiting for a transfer (ideally to Atlético Madrid). Costa would rather take the bath that comes with skipping out on his contract than train in London. He is no fan of Antonio Conte and didn’t say he’d rule out legal action against the club, while also excoriating the manager.
Costa’s summer began with a text message from Conte, informing him his Chelsea career was over. Costa has not been at Chelsea since the FA Cup final in May and, during a half-hour conversation, the striker delivers a blistering retort.
He accuses Chelsea of treating him ‘like a criminal’ and refuses to rule out legal action. He says he will always keep Conte’s text message on his phone and claims the Chelsea manager ‘lacks charisma’. Costa also accuses Conte of blocking his contract negotiations in January.
Costa said he respected Conte’s soccer mind but basically called him a moron, a dick, and a coward.
‘What is happening now with Chelsea is sad,’ he says. ‘The text message — I understand it when a coach wants a different player.
‘Alvaro Morata is a great player. He had a great season in Madrid and actually with the way this crazy transfer market is, I think they got a good price for a young and talented forward. He will triumph at Chelsea, but there are ways of going about it. You don’t do it by text message. You should be honest and direct to someone’s face.
‘I was with the Spain national team, alone in my room, when it came through. It was a shock to get it like that. I was showing it to my team-mates and they could not believe how he had done it.
‘I was angry at the time. Now I am more calm. I have not deleted the message. If people accuse me of lying, I can show them. It was clear, saying that he didn’t count on me and wishing me the best for the future. Full stop.’
But it wasn’t all shit talking and chest-puffing from Costa. He misses his buddies! They love him!
‘If you were to ask all my team-mates, they’d say the same. They send messages saying “I miss you” and that they love me.
‘I am always talking with the boys — particularly Cesc Fabregas, David Luiz and Willian. We have banter over WhatsApp.
‘They ask how I am. They really love me for the person I am. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be saying they miss me and love me.’
In the end, Diego Costa just loves sports and wants to play soccer again.
As the final moments of Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat by Burnley play out, his father peeks round the door. Zeinha shakes his head. Costa says: ‘They are two players down, to be fair, Dad.’ Another friend pops by: ‘Bring back Diego!’ he laughs. Costa grimaces.
As Chelsea chase the game, Costa’s intensity builds. David Luiz makes it 3-2 with two minutes left. Costa is off the settee and celebrating, dropping his phone.
‘The Premier League is the top. These moments, chasing a game, with seconds to spare. It’s what we live for. You saw Arsenal against Leicester? Madness. Then Liverpool? 3-3, last minute! Rooney has scored for Everton! I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t miss those moments.’
See, he’s just like you and me.