Diego Costa was signed by Wolverhampton Wanderers in September on a one-year deal after he was released by Atletico Mineiro after falling out of favour in Brazil. Since touching down in England he has struggled to mount any sort of form and is yet to find the net for Wolves. It is possible that Costa could be playing his final season in professional football, he is well into his thirties and has accumulated a number of injury issues over the past few years.
His prime days
Costa has of course not been the most successful coup for Wolves, after all, he has received more red cards than he has scored goals. Wolves in general have struggled to score goals this season and have found themselves battling towards the bottom of the league as a result. In the football odds Wolves are now odds on at 1/33 to finish in the lower half of the league, as they look set to compete for little more than Premier League survival this term. Wolves hoped that Costa could have found some of the form he displayed earlier in his career to help them in front of goal this season, but he has been a shadow of his former self. However, Costa in his prime was one of the most deadly strikers on the planet.
Diego Costa receives his first-ever Premier League red card for a headbutt ? pic.twitter.com/tvyyfBAfHW— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) October 29, 2022
Costa was at his greatest during his time at Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, the Spaniard was the complete forward. He had pace and physicality in abundance, and he could hold the ball up or run in behind opposition defences. One of his most crucial albeit controversial traits was his ability to rile up opposition defenders. Costa often sought to play a mental game with his opponents aside from the physical one being played out on the pitch.
His most impressive days certainly came in the Premier League with Chelsea where he built an incredible partnership with his compatriot Cesc Fabregas who often provided assists for the frontman. Costa managed a hat-trick just four games into his Premier League career against Swansea alongside numerous other goalscoring records he broke. His struggles this season for Wolves indicate the level of physical decline that he has suffered since his peak ability at Chelsea. Costa was a huge factor in leading Chelsea to the title in his debut season, he scored 20 goals in 26 appearances. In 2016/17 he was again vital as he netted 20 times again to secure his second Premier League winners medal.
What caused his decline?
While Costa was an incredible footballer at the peak of his abilities his prime was not particularly long. In truth, he had regressed physically by the time he returned for his second stint at Atletico Madrid. A number of injuries had begun to take their toll and Costa had lost yards of pace and was much less of a threat for defences. He has still made himself an adequate target man at the latter end of his career but the explosiveness to get in behind has been lost and the goals have dried up as a result.
Costa could likely retire from football following the end of the current season in May, as there is unlikely to be a long line of potential suitors for a forward that is well past his best and has a growing list of injury issues. One of the greatest forwards of the past generation could be set to retire at Molineux, however, it could be an end to his career that he would rather forget, due to his poor form this season.