Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has admitted that he does not regret playing Diego Costa in the 2014 Champions League final against Real Madrid, despite the Spain striker not being at full fitness.
Costa, who had been the club’s talisman that season as Atleti went on to lift the Liga title before reaching the final in Lisbon, played just nine minutes of the showpiece event before having to be replaced through injury.
Simeone’s side suffered an agonising extra-time defeat at the Estadio da Luz, but doesn’t think he made a mistake in fielding the striker.
Speaking to AS, the Argentine said: “If I had it all over again, he'd play the final from the start again. How could our best player not play?
“I said: "If this lad can give me 45 minutes in the Champions League final..." It's Diego Costa! It's like [Leo] Messi being at 50% and not playing for Barça in the Champions League final. For us, Diego Costa was our Messi.”
Simeone guided Atleti to the final again two years later but his side suffered the same fate, going down once again to their arch rivals Real in Milan.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Simeone: Costa was our Messi, he had to play in Champions League final