Football News

Diego Costa ban: Atletico striker’s season ended early by Barcelona incident

By Ben Green

Published: 12:03, 11 April 2019

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has been handed an eight-game ban by the Spanish Football Federation after his altercation with referee Gil Manzano. 

The former Chelsea marksman received a straight red after reacting angrily to a refereeing decision in Atleti’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona at the weekend.

Why did Costa see red? Five key things to know…

  1. With the match heavily poised in the first half at the Camp Nou, Costa was sent off in the 27th minute.
  2. The Spain international was angered by Manzano’s decision to wave play on after a coming together with Arthur.
  3. Costa immediately approached the referee and gestured angrily in his direction.
  4. Manzano swiftly brandished a red card and gave Costa his marching orders.
  5. It has since been revealed the striker insulted Manzano and the Spanish Football Federation have issued an eight-game ban.

Costa went to ground after a heavy challenge from Arthur in the opening exchanges at the Camp Nou, but referee Manzano allowed the match to continue, much to the disdain of the Atleti forward.

The 30-year-old approached Manzano in the immediate aftermath of his decision and appeared to tug at his arm, preventing the referee from brandishing further yellow cards to Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.

In his post-match report, Manzano confirmed that Costa had used derogatory language towards him, but the striker has since denied any wrongdoing and is set to appeal the ban.

His eight-match suspension will be broken up into two four-game bans; one for his alleged use of abusive language, and one for grabbing the referee’s arm.

The ban will rule Costa out for the rest of the season, and place his future with the club into further doubt, after enduring a difficult goalscoring season.

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Pique: “Do you want a four match ban?”‘

As Costa made his way off the pitch, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique could be seen whispering something in the striker’s ear.

There were suggestions the Spain international was trying to rub salt in the wounds by further winding Costa up, but he has since lifted the lid on his comments, explaining how he was trying to calm his international teammate down.

“All I said to Costa was to calm down and to stop talking to the referee,” Pique said.

“I asked ‘do you want a four match ban?'”

Ernesto Valverde’s men went on to win the match and have extended their lead at the summit of La Liga by 11 points, all but confirming another domestic title.