GOAL - Chris Burton
Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has seen his season brought to a close after being stung with an eight-match ban for insulting and grabbing referee Jesus Gil Manzano during a defeat to Barcelona.
The fiery frontman saw red just 28 minutes into the La Liga fixture at Camp Nou on April 6.
Believing that he had been fouled, the Spain international launched into a furious tirade at the match officials.
He was shown a straight red card and had to be ushered from the field by Gerard Pique after initially refusing to walk.
Manzano revealed in his match report that Costa had said to him: "I sh*t on you wh*re mother".
The former Chelsea forward also grabbed hold of the referee’s arm during an angry confrontation.
He has paid the price for those actions, with the Spanish Football Federation having met on Wednesday to discuss what punishment to hand out.
They have determined that Costa must sit out eight La Liga fixtures.
He has been handed two four-game bans – one for insulting a match official and another for holding Manzano’s arm in an effort to prevent him from showing yellow cards to Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.
As Atletico only have seven more matches to take in this season, Costa’s campaign has been brought to a premature conclusion.
The 30-year-old has also been fined over his actions in his most recent outing.
He has been ordered to pay €6,010 to the relevant authorities and Atletico €2,800.
The sorry episode brings the curtain down on what has been a testing season for Costa.
Across 21 appearances, he has managed just five goals, with only two of those coming in La Liga.
Questions have been asked of his future as a result, with Diego Simeone having often favoured Alvaro Morata since adding another Spain international striker to his books.
Costa, who returned to Atletico from Chelsea in 2017, will have no further opportunities in which to prove his worth this term.
He does have a contract through to 2021 at Wanda Metropolitano, but it remains to be seen whether he will see that out.