Diego Costa’s first professional Coach, Rui Bento, claims the Brazilian was the same aged 17 as he is now.
The Portuguese plucked Diego Costa from the Braga youth team and introduced him to the Second Division on loan at Penafiel, after which he was snapped up by Atletico Madrid, and says he could see how good a player he would become even then.
“He was the same as he is now. Look at me, a player who shared success in the lower leagues in Portugal with the likes of Luis Figo, Joao Pinto and Rui Costa. We won the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
“You see those kind of players at 17 or 18 and they have exceptional quality. That’s what Diego Costa was like. He wanted to be somebody in football.
“He was very strong, with or without the ball, and quickly understood what was needed to become a centre-forward, because you need space to work in. He knew how to hold the ball up and worked well in leading the attack.
“He was, and still is, a fighter, someone who at times was misunderstood, but inside him he is a warrior. He displays the same attitude now,” explained Rui Bento in an interview with AS.
The former Boavista, Portugal Under-17 and Beira Mar Coach told of how he initially discovered Diego Costa.
“Some colleagues had told me about him, former players who had seen him in action, and I spoke to other people before going to watch him.
“I saw he was somebody who was trying to make himself different, an unpolished diamond, and I had also been told about him by some people at [football agency] Gestifute.
“I needed a player of that quality at Penafiel and that’s why I took him there,” he explained.