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Resuscitating a career - Diego Costa and Sandoval (22nd March, 2017)

It's funny to think that Diego Costa was once a backup at Atlético Madrid.

In June 2011, he was packing his bags. Beşiktaş had agreed a deal, and he was going to leave. All the papers had been signed. The team had four non-EU players and Eduardo Salvio was being favored over Costa.

Costa was going to Turkey.

However, in July, Diego Costa tore his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, which meant not only was the deal to Turkey off, but he would also be out for six months and unregistered for an entire year.

Closer to recovery, in January, Sandoval insisted he come to Rayo. Costa was nowhere near full fitness, but Sandoval believed in him. He would later say that Costa was the best striker in the world.

He was right.

Diego Costa scored four in three games, which became six in seven, and eventually ten in sixteen as Rayo Vallecano survived in La Liga. 

Diego Costa went on to score 20 goals in the 2012-13 season and 35 in the next. He would win the Copa del Rey and the league with Atlético, earn a move to Chelsea, and win the league with them too.

A legend was born - and Vallekas was a part of that story.

Manucho won't be available for the game against Numancia. He has been called up to the Angola national team by new coach Beto Bianchi. The former Brazilian defender played mostly in Spain and has worked as a manager Jordan, Spain, Montenegro and Indonesia.

Some stats: the top 11 players at Rayo in terms of game time are (in order): Paulo Gazzaniga, Trashorras, Quini, Amaya, Zé Castro, A. Embarba, Javi Guerra, Álex Moreno, Ebert, José Antonio Dorado and Manucho.

Also, Ebert averages 2.0 shots a game, followed by Guerra with 1.7. For context, Manucho is at a lowly 1.1.

Speaking of stats, here are the players who stayed on after the 2002-03 La Liga relegation for the 2003-04 Segunda season: Sergio Segura, Imanol Etxeberria, Diego Mainz, Patricio Graff, Mario Gómez, Hélder, Pablo Sanz, Jorge Azkoitia, Roberto Peragón, Sergio Corino, Iriney Santos, Luis Cembranos and José Fernando Marqués. That's 13.

This season, we had 17 stay on - Zé Castro, Roberto Trashorras, Quini, Raúl Baena, Javi Guerra, Toño, Adrián Embarba, Nacho, Miku, Manucho, Antonio Amaya, Lass Bangoura, Răzvan Raț, José Antonio Dorado, Patrick Ebert, Piti and Jonathan Montiel.

If Rayo go down it will not be unexpected. But it will be embarrasing.

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