DIEGO COSTA’S on course to become a Chelsea striker legend like Didier Drogba.
That’s the claim of Blues centreback Gary Cahill, who reckons the Spain star’s become a massive fan favourite just like the Ivorian before him.
Drogba wrote his way into Stamford Bridge folklore by scoring the late equaliser against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League Final – then converting the winning spot-kick in the shootout.
And Costa has taken his game to a new level this season, cutting out his anger on the pitch to concentrate on scoring goals.
On Sunday, he bagged a stunning winner in the 1-0 defeat of Middlesbrough to take his Premier League tally to 12, one clear of Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez in the goal charts.
The game was also a tenth in a row where the 28-year-old has not been booked and he now is just one off a half-century of goals for the club in just 86 starts and will bid to add to that number for the table-toppers at Sunderland on Wednesday.
“The fans are getting behind him because he is banging goals in and winning us football matches,” said Cahill.
“Didier was a huge figure, goalscoring-wise, on and off the pitch, personality wise.
“You need strikers like that at a club like Chelsea and Diego is fitting into that role nicely. This season he is on fire.
“He is up there with the very best in world football at the moment. The stats don’t lie. We hope that continues.”
But Cahill insisted the cool, calm and collected Costa on the pitch was exactly the same person off it as he was before, when he constantly landed himself in hot water with the authorities.
“He’s exactly the same fella, he’s the same guy as when he first came into the club,” added Cahill.”He’s just channelling his aggression in the right way and not getting as frustrated as he usually would.
“I can see, because I know him, when gets frustrated like he was in the first half. But he’s being patient because when the goals are coming he knows that one chance and he’ll stick it away.
“That’s something he’s added to his game this season. I was just saying to be patient and I knew he would get opportunities in the game.
“He made his own opportunity in the end. He is going to be that player and have that personality, so it’s just putting it in the right direction and at the moment he’s doing that and banging goals in.
“His goal was work-rate, effort and class all in one moment. He had not right to score that goal whatsoever.”