Costa was our Messi – Simeone

Diego Simeone has defended his decision to start Diego Costa in the 2014 Champions League final and compared him to Atletico Madrid’s Lionel Messi.

The striker started the final in Lisbon amid fitness concerns and he was substituted off in the ninth minute to be replaced by Adrian Lopez, having undergone horse placenta treatment for a hamstring injury suffered in the last league match the previous Saturday.

“If I had it all over again, he'd play the final from the start again. How could our best player not play?” Simeone explained in AS.

“He wasn't injured! Did you see the 100m sprints he was doing out on the pitch? I said: ‘If this lad can give me 45 minutes in the Champions League final…’ It's Diego Costa!

“It's like Lionel Messi being at 50% and not playing for Barça in the Champions League final. For us, Diego Costa was our Messi.

“But it's also worth pointing out that, having taken the risk I took, we took Real Madrid to the 93rd minute. I'd like to ask those who wonder about [what would have happened] if I'd done something [different]… And if I'd done something [different] and we hadn't even taken them to the 93rd minute? We lost two finals against Real Madrid, eh! Let's not forget that: they're 11-time European Cup winners.”

Tags Chelsea Diego Simeone