Diego Costa has changed. Two months and 27 days separate the two photos above. On the left Diego Costa in his first training session on his return to Atlético Madrid on 4 October 2017. On the right, how he looked two days ago, on 5 January 2018, in his first game back. Between the two: 91 days and 10 kilos. That's the weight Atleti's coaching staff, led by Atlet's feared Profe Ortega, have managed to burn off the Brazilian as they got him match fit.
Costa's weight loss recipe
Diego Costa's weight loss was based on intense physical work-outs, football training, strict diet (five small meals a day, with minimum fat) and the secret trick: boxing. Not apparently to raise his aggression levels, but to improve his proprioception and balance out on the pitch, as well as helping burn off the weight. He's had a number of sessions with a specialised boxing coach, at Fernando Torres gym, Nine Fitness, in the centre of Madrid.
When Simeone called for Costa to come off the bench on Wednesday night in the Copa, there were a fair few looking for his rotund belly... but it had gone. As Costa said when he was waiting for the FIFA ban to end in order to register as an Atleti player: "I'm not scared of the scales, I'm scared of Profe Ortega".