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The striker marked his return from a blood clot with a goal – only to see his rival get the upper hand with a double

Atletico Madrid star Diego Costa is thriving on the competition for goals with Luis Suarez, whom he jokingly called a “b*stard” for outscoring him against Elche. 

Diego Simeone’s men tightened their claim on the La Liga summit with a 3-1 victory on Saturday – a welcome return to form after losing out to city rivals Real last weekend. 

Costa came off the bench to score from the penalty spot in his first game back in just short of a month, having recovered from a bout of deep vein thrombosis. 

But he was overshadowed by his Uruguayan strike partner, who netted both of Atletico’s first two goals to take his Liga tally to seven since moving from Barcelona in the summer. 

And his team-mate accused him, albeit with his tongue firmly in cheek, of saving up the goals to overshadow his return to the team. 

“I wasn’t here and Suarez wasn’t scoring; I come back and he gets two, the b*stard!” Costa joked to reporters after the final whistle. 

“I hope he keeps it up. I am very happy, the more goals he scores the better for Atleti. 

“We are going to keep winning and respectfully competing against each other, he came out and scored twice and then I came in and hit one. 

“If we want to win something big that’s the way it has to be, like when we won the league, one player went out, another came in and was up to the task, we had a great team.” 

Costa’s recent blood clot was the latest in a series of physical setbacks that have restricted his playing time since returning to Atletico from Chelsea in January 2018. 

Now the Spain international is hoping that those troubles are behind him as he looks forward to re-establishing himself in Simeone’s plans. 

“I’m very happy I can be here, I was already delighted to get the call, to see my team-mates and train,” he added. 

“Life knocks me down, but I always get back up. I have a family, my team-mates, the physios, the doctors… When I am not on the pitch, I try to give my all from the sidelines. 

“It hasn’t been easy, ever since I arrived there has always been something, but I am strong enough to fight and get back up. I’m back with a goal and very happy.” 

Atletico are back in action on Tuesday against second-placed Real Sociedad, who welcome their title rivals to Anoeta.

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December 20, 2020