With just 28 minutes played in a crucial Spanish La Liga match pitting first-place Barcelona against the only team with a chance to catch the defending champions, second-place Atlético Madrid, 30-year-old Atléti star Diego Costa unleashed a profanity-laced tirade at the match referee, according to The Independent newspaper. As a result, Costa received a red card from the ref, ejecting him from the game and forcing Atlético Madrid to play the remaining 62 minutes with only 10 players.
Barcelona went on to win the match 2-0, and stretch their lead at the top of Spain's first division to 11 points, per ESPN, where a win by Atlético would have slimmed the Barca lead to just five, with seven games remaining on the league schedule for each of the two teams.
After taking a rough tackle from Barcelona defender Jordi Alba, Costa become infuriated at referee Gil Manzano, 35, a six-year veteran of the Spanish league's officiating corps. Costa reportedly believed that Manzano should have penalized Alba with a foul on the play, and according to Manzano's post-match report, took out his frustration verbally on the ref.
"In the 28th minute the player Diego Da Silva Costa was sent off for the following motive," write Manzano in his report, according to Reuters correspondent Richard Martin, via Twitter. "He shouted loudly at me the following words: 'I S**T ON YOUR W***E MOTHER, I S**T ON YOUR W***E MOTHER.'"Costa is a native of Brazil, but was granted Spanish citizenship in 2013 and chose to play for Spain's national team, rather than for his native country, causing a bitter controversy in Brazil, according to an ESPN report.
Following his ejection by Manzano on Saturday, Costa continued to verbally abuse the official until his Spanish national teammate, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, intervened, grabbing Costa by the face and admonishing him, "Stop talking now! What do you want, a four-match ban?" according to The Mirror newspaper.Though Costa appeared to regain his composure after the scolding from Pique, the 10-year veteran, who has scored 136 goals in 308 career matches according to WhoScored stats, appears likely to face a suspension lasting multiple matches, regardless. In fact, according to the Mirror report, Costa could face a ban lasting eight matches — which would not only end his 2018/2019 season, but keep him out of next season's opener as well.
Costa has played in only 13 of Atlético Madrid's La Liga matches this season, sitting out much of the campaign after undergoing surgery on his left foot in December, according to Goal.com.