For those who thought that Diego Costa would hobble off into the night, nursing the bumps and bruises of battles for Atletico Madrid and Chelsea over the years, the Spanish-Brazilian is looking to set the record straight.
Diego Costa is far from done.
Last month, the 32-year old Diego Costa - with the battered body of a 55-year-old wrestler - swapped one Atletico for another by heading to Brazil for the first time in his career to join up with Atletico Mineiro, just in time for a huge set of Copa Libertadores semifinals against fellow Brazilian side Palmeiras starting tonight on beIN SPORTS.
Costa has already gotten off to a flying start with two goals for his new team and the footballer who plays like Hulk is forming quite the mean-team alongside a player who is literally called Hulk. As well as now fielding quite the fearsome forward line, Atletico Mineiro has a watertight defence that has not conceded a single goal in the past six Copa Libertadores matches.
That's going to be a challenge for the defending champions of Palmeiras in an all-Brazilian Copa Libertadores battle where Diego Costa says that "we are going to play with intelligence knowing the importance of the game."
There may be some elbows involved as well.
Catch the Copa Libertadores semifinal first-leg between Palmeiras and Atletico Mineiro live on beIN SPORTS from 8PM ET / 5PM PT.
Koeman has pretty much had it with Barcelona
While Ronald Koeman's PR campaign of 'well what do you expect?' with his current Barcelona side is a perfectly accurate one, it probably isn't a long-term solution to the team's current issues.
A 1-1 draw against Granada in the Camp Nou on Monday had watching fans down in the dumps all over again, a week after the Bayern Munich loss. A shortage of attacking talent saw the team playing two centerbacks up front for the final minutes of the match, although it did pay off with Roland Araujo getting a late equalizer.
To be fair to Koeman, the Dutch coach had Lionel Messi and then Antoine Griezmann snatched from under him. Sergio Aguero fell to injury as did Martin Braithwaite. Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele are still sidelined. As Koeman pointed out after the game "if you look at the list…you think you can play tiki-taki?"
The criticism against Koeman clearly stings, with the Barca boss trying to explain that the club is charting a course on very different waters these days. "We don't have players one-on-one or with speed," explained Koeman, "we're talking... I'm not going to say more because it seems I have to argue about everything."
Turkish Super Lig returns today on beIN XTRA
👉 Meanwhile, one of those banished by Barcelona but flourishing elsewhere is in action on beIN SPORTS today with Miralem Pjanic turning out for Besiktas against Adana Demirspor live for free on beIN XTRA at 12:50PM ET / 9:50AM PT. 🔥🇹🇷⚽️
No Messi-Metz match up
If Lionel Messi was watching the Barcelona from Paris on Monday then it might have been with a sense of relief. At least some other headlines were being written aside from Monday's obsession over whether the footballer's substitution on Sunday against Lyon was Pochettino "Soft Power" as described by today's L'Equipe or simply a precaution due to a knee knock suffered by Messi.
The latter seems to be the case with Messi now officially sidelined with an injury to his left knee to see the player missing Wednesday's Ligue 1 match at bottom-of-the-table Metz. An evaluation will be taken on Wednesday to see if Messi is available for Saturday's home match against Montpellier.
That certainly hampers Pochettino's mission to get Kylian Mbappe, Messi, Neymar and Angel di Maria all gelling. "It takes time to find the rhythm," said Pochettino in today's press conference.