Professional soccer players are driven by any number of motivations: competitive spirit, hunger for wealth and fame, pure love of the game, fear of failure, desire to live an extended childhood, the search for an escape from poverty, the knowledge that when you run around for two hours a day you can eat nachos and pizza without getting fat.
The new autobiography of Chelsea striker Diego Costa suggests that some of these factor have played their part in his rise from humble beginnings in Brazil to becoming one of the top strikers in Europe.
Scampering around the field and biting at the heels of defenders, he’s one of the most dogged players in the EPL. But best not to use that sort of language around him, because the standout anecdote in the book is that he killed his dog by accidentally reversing over it.
Here’s the sad story, as recounted by former Atletico Madrid teammate Paulo Assuncao, via extracts in The Independent:
“Diego brought his Yorkshire Terrier to Madrid but one day when he was parking and didn’t realize the dog was behind the car, he reversed over it. He was devastated, totally depressed for a month. When I asked him why he was so low he practically broke down. ‘I can’t believe it. I killed my dog. He came out of the house to greet me and I didn’t see him and I ran over him.’”
That is… heavy.
Fortunately, the book appears replete with more light-hearted anecdotes: Costa placing a pillow-case over his head and “kidnapping” the club doctor. Costa hiding in grass behind a lawnmower during a training session. Costa locking the coaching staff in the sauna. Costa watching a porn movie at home with the volume turned up.
From the extracts, the striker — who scored 20 EPL goals in 26 appearances last season — comes across as half-prankster, half-warrior.
The book is called The Art Of War. Nice title, Diego.
Bonus: since Sun Tzu’s book of the same title came out in 513 B.C., there’s no chance of him suing for copyright infringement.