Diego Costa has told ESPN he feels he is being unfairly targeted in England after the latest controversy surrounding his tackle on Adrian during Chelsea’s win over West Ham on Monday.
Chelsea emerged 2-1 winners on Antonio Conte’s Premier League debut courtesy of Costa’s 89th-minute winner, but much of the postmatch analysis focused on whether the 27-year-old should have still been on the pitch after catching West Ham goalkeeper Adrian with his studs midway through the second half.
By the time Costa slid in on Adrian he had already been booked for approaching referee Anthony Taylor to protest a decision in the first half — an offence that has this season been made automatically punishable by a yellow card in a bid to stamp out disrespect for Premier League officials.
Speaking to ESPN Brasil about the rule change after the game, he said: “I’m finding this out now, because it was the second time I went to speak to him [the referee] that he gave me a card straight away.
“I found it a bit strange but later on I understood and after the first half I apologised.”
Sources told ESPN FC last season that a key factor in Costa’s wider discontent in England is a sense of persecution by the British media as a result of his abrasive playing style, and he added: “Here I’m marked by referees, I’m going to be honest.
“People always have — if I do anything, it’s different to what any other footballer does, and we need to see this because people marked me and I have to deal with it and ask God that these things don’t mess me up or take away opportunities of the game that happens with suspension.”