Costa: I loved the battle with Pepe and Ramos
Diego Costa says he relished playing against Real Madrid because of the inevitable "battle" with Sergio Ramos and Pepe.
The Chelsea striker joined Atletico Madrid in 2007 and went on to play a pivotal role in their success under Diego Simeone before he left for Stamford Bridge in 2014.
The 28-year-old admits that he used to relish derby encounters in the capital as it gave him the chance to scrap with Madrid's centre-back duo - although he insists their approach was always professional.
"I used to love the games against Real Madrid and the chance to face Pepe and Ramos," he told Sport TV. "It was a good battle, where we always had trouble and sparks were flying.
"I can guarantee that they used to love them for the same reasons!
"We went out on the pitch knowing that they would be intense games but the important thing was that there was loyalty. They went out hard, I did too, but without being disloyal.
"And the games against them always had friction: some sort of insult, some kicking. But after the end of the game, we would always greet each other without any problems.
"Now, with Ramos, we're team-mates with the national team and we're always joking that I can't do it anymore."