Atletico striker Costa handed eight-game ban

Atletico Madrid will not be able to call upon Diego Costa for the remainder of the season after he was given an eight-match ban.

Athletico Madrid's Diego Costa reacts after being sent off against Barcelona at Camp Nou last week.   -  Getty Images

Diego Costa has been given an eight-match ban following the Atletico Madrid striker's red card against Barcelona last weekend.

Costa was dismissed in the first half of his side's 2-0 loss to Barcelona on Saturday for dissent, having confronted referee Jesus Gil Manzano.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Thursday that Costa's punishment was an eight-match suspension – four for foul-mouthed comments made towards the referee and a further four for grabbing the official's arm. The club has 10 working days to appeal the decision.

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Atletico, which trails La Liga leader Barca by 11 points following its defeat at Camp Nou, has only seven games left to play this season, so the Spain international will be unavailable for the rest of the campaign.

Costa's coach Diego Simeone had complained about the consistency of decisions in the aftermath of the red card, saying: "Other players have said things and he doesn't send them off."

The RFEF's statement included the observations of the referee, who claimed Costa insulted his mother and, after being dismissed, grabbed his arm to prevent him from showing yellow cards to his team-mates Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.

Costa, who returned to Atletico from Chelsea in 2017, had not received a straight red card in a league match in nine years prior to his dismissal against Barca.

The striker has scored just twice in 16 La Liga appearances this term.

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