Getafe defender Cala had no hard feelings after Saturday’s personal battle with returning Atletico Madrid centre-forward Diego Costa — a game which saw the ex-Chelsea player score on his La Liga return but then immediately shown a second yellow card for celebrating with the fans.
Costa’s first booking on Saturday came for catching marker Djene in the face with a raised arm, and the Brazil-born Spain international was lucky to escape punishment after a similar tangle with Getafe’s other centre-back Cala soon afterwards.
Experienced defender Cala had also been involved with Costa just before half-time, with the pair appearing to continue their disagreement in the tunnel as the teams went off at the break.
However he clarified on Twitter afterwards that while he and Costa had taken their physical battle to the limit during the game, it was all forgotten on the final whistle.
“Just to clarify – Diego Costa and I have faced off from an Albacete-Sevilla Atletico until today, many games already, we both defend our interests until the limit, we know each other well, and go for everything, but we at the end of the game we always hug each other tight.”
Por cierto una aclaracion @diegocosta
y yo nos hemos enfrentados desde un Albacete-SAT hasta hoy, muchos partidos ya, los dos defendemos nuestros intereses hasta el limite, nos conocmos bien y vamos a todas pero al final del partido siempre nos enfundamos en un abrazo. ?ﾟﾘﾜ pic.twitter.com/BnPP0HpOFo
Juan Torres Ruiz (@JuanCala_16) January
Costa’s first two games back in an Atletico shirt, following his six months on the sidelines due to the club’s FIFA imposed transfer ban, have both been full of incident.
The 28-year-old also scored in Wednesday’s 4-0 Copa del Rey win at third tier Lleida, with his 30 minutes as a substitute also including an injury scare amid a trademark battle with his marker.
Rojiblanco coach Diego Simeone is clearly enjoying having Costa back on his side, telling reporters on Saturday that the tough centre-forward “transmitted fear” to rivals, while club captain Gabi said in the Wanda Metropolitano mixed zone that the whole team could learn from their teammate’s attitude.
“[Costa’s] way of playing is contagious and we must learn from it,” Gabi said. “He makes us better, and has shown what he is — pride, goals and excitement.”
Costa will now miss Saturday’s La Liga trip to Eibar through suspension, although he is likely to start Tuesday’s Copa round-of-16 second leg at home to Lleida as he continues to build his match fitness.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan