Diego Costa looks set to miss out on the Champions League final against local rivals Real Madrid after proving vital in Atletico Madrid’s successful La Liga quest. The Brazilian-born Spain international striker suffered a hamstring injury in the last league match of the season and could miss not only the European Cup final, but also the World Cup.
Despite Costa facing a race against time to be fit as Atletico seek their first Champions League trophy, manager Diego Simeone has a side capable of sealing an historic double without the presence of their 35-goal striker.
Madrid are favourites to claim a milestone 10th Champions League trophy, but Los Blancos have already struggled against Atletico this season. If Simeone’s side can impose their physicality on Real’s wingers, then they can shut down any threat and punish them on the counter-attack.
While Costa’s potential absence is a big talking point, it is a test for Atleti to manage without a player who looks set to leave the club this summer. And even without Costa, it should not be forgotten that Atletico still have a proven attacking force in former Barcelona star David Villa.
Villa has failed to score in Europe this season but still netted 13 goals in 36 La Liga appearances, as well as scoring in his previous Champions League final appearance against Manchester United in 2011.
Moreover, history is strongly in Atletico’s favour. In the past six years, the team who have beaten Barcelona have gone on to lift the trophy, with the Catalan giants claiming it twice during this period. Real will now be wary of the omens facing them, and one can be sure that Atletico will not go down without a fight.