Diego Costa: Thierry Henry, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Gary Lineker say controversial Chelsea striker should not be banned

The four former footballers do not think Costa should be banned retrospectively

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The Independent Football

A number of former football stars have thrown their support behind controversial Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

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Costa, 26, will today find out if he is able to play against Manchester City on Saturday evening, after the Football Association charged him with stamping on Emre Can in the 1-0 Capital One Cup semi-final win over Liverpool on Tuesday.

An independent regulatory commission will present a decision on his charge for violent conduct before the end of the day. But despite widespread criticism of the Spanish striker, who also stamped on Martin Skrtel later in the game, a number of former players believe he should escape punishment.

Writing in his column for The Independent, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes said he "saw it differently" to most.

"I thought his actions were at the lower end of the scale of dangerous and that he was under extreme provocation from Martin Skrtel, who has wound him up before this season," writes Scholes.

"My view of it was that Costa gets kicked a lot and actually his patience is to be admired in many, if not all, situations."

Gary Lineker, who has extended his contract at Match of the Day until 2019, said: "Only Diego Costa knows if his stamp was intentional, he certainly wasn't looking in that direction, therefore it's difficult to ban him."

Sky Sports presenters Gary Neville and Thierry Henry also Tweeted their opinions on Costa.

Costa was later found guilty and banned for three matches - meaning he will miss the crucial clash with Manchester City.

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