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Diego Costa Tries Controversial Treatment for Hamstring Prior to Champions Final

Atletico's Diego Costa lies injured on the pitch during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press
Will CarrollSports Injuries Lead WriterMay 22, 2014

There are times when desperate measures are called for. Getting a star player healthy for one of the biggest football matches of the year might seem like that, but when the answer to any issue is horse placenta, everything else gets called into question. Diego Costa is doing anything he can to be on the pitch in Portugal for the UEFA Champions League final, including, as reports, the controversial therapy.

Heading into this weekend's matchup between the two Madrid clubs, Costa is very questionable. While he and the club want him to play, they also acknowledge that they must consider both his health going forward for the World Cup, where he's expected to be a part of the Spain squad after gaining citizenship there in 2013, and for the transfer market, where Costa is likely to be bid up this summer. 

Costa's right hamstring remains problematic, with a weakness even after several weeks of rest and more standard therapy. However, the "miracle treatment" had Costa back out in training just days after he had the treatment in Serbia, according to Inside Spanish Football

Costa is believed to have a recurrent Grade I strain of his hamstring. It was originally suffered in last week's La Liga game against Barcelona. Costa's absence would push David Villa to the front and change the formation for Diego Simeone's team as they take on their crosstown rivals. 

If Costa is able to play at striker, even for a portion of the final, Atletico has a much better chance. Without Costa, the team is more likely to have to play back and counterstrike, hoping that Thibaut Courtois can work his magic once again. If Real Madrid has Cristiano Ronaldo, getting a counter threat like Costa back could be a game-changer.

The treatment has been used extensively, though there are few scientific studies regarding it. A gel is made of a mare's placenta, which is pushed into the muscle with electricity. This treatment, a variant of iontophoresis, is not uncommon, but the addition of placenta is. 

Costa's availability will be in question right up to game time, and even then, how much he can play or how hard he can go will also be an issue for Atletico. It's easy to tell Costa to coast a bit (no pun intended) but will be harder to do so if he's pushing for a goal that could bring silverware to Atletico. Give his club credit for thinking long term when it would be easy to do the opposite.

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