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May 21, 2014

Costa 'using horse placenta treatment'

Atletico Madrid star Diego Costa is a major doubt for the UEFA Champions League final against Real on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has reportedly travelled to Serbia to visit a "medical miracle worker" specialising in horse placenta treatments as he battles to be fit for the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Costa is a major doubt for Saturday's game in Lisbon after suffering a grade one hamstring tear -- which would typically lead to a fortnight on the sidelines -- during the weekend's 1-1 draw at Barcelona.

However, Atletico boss Diego Simeone said earlier this week that it was "too soon" to rule the Spain star out of the final, and AS and Marca report that Costa headed to Belgrade to visit Marijana Kovacevic in a bid to expedite his recovery.

Kovacevic, who is said to use electric shocks as well as an ointment made of horse placenta, has previously treated Premier League stars including Robin van Persie as well as working with the Ghanaian national team, and received backing from Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

However Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger -- speaking during the period in which he allowed Van Persie to visit Kovacevic for treatment in 2009 -- remained sceptical over the long-term benefits of the treatment and said it could lead to further problems.

"I asked my medical people if there was any danger to the treatment and, when they said there wasn't, I was happy to let him go," he said. "Van Persie wanted to go. It's sometimes psychological as well, for the players to feel that they can be helped. It can be a problem of confidence -- but since I've been in sport a muscle problem takes 21 days [to heal], a damaged ligament is four weeks, and I've never seen it any shorter. You can only play with injections and there's always a recurrence of the muscle injury."

Should Costa suffer a setback, it could be a major issue given that the World Cup begins in less than a month. The 25-year-old was named in Spain's 30-man preliminary squad and is expected to retain his place when coach Vicente del Bosque names his final selection on Sunday.

Del Bosque told AS he is concerned about the Brazil-born striker, who switched his international allegiance to Spain this season.

"Diego Costa has us on tenterhooks," Del Bosque said. "His club say he has a muscular injury and that concerns us. Medicine has advanced a lot, but each injury has its minimum recovery time. We will see what happens in the end, but it seems there is time for him to recover before the World Cup begins."

Del Bosque warned that Costa would be taking a risk if he played in the Champions League final.

"It is normal that a player wants to be there, because it is not just another game but the European Cup final," he said. "But he cannot go against his own health. His team, Atletico, and the player himself are those who have to weigh up the situation and the consequences."

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