Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld will go head-to-head with Diego Costa in the FA Cup this weekend (Picture: Getty)
Toby Alderweireld believes training with Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid helped him develop into the defender he is today.
Belgium international Alderweireld spent his first five years in professional football at Ajax before joining La Liga outfit Madrid in 2013.
There he shared a dressing room with Costa, who scored 36 goals in all competitions in 2013-14 as Atletico won the Spanish title.
Alderweireld insists the knowledge he gained training alongside Costa in the Spanish capital allowed him to become one of the world’s best defenders.
The Tottenham star told Standard Sport: ‘Was he the toughest forward I marked? Yes, he’s a winner.
‘He is talented, strong, clinical in front of goal and he has a good technique. He is one of the best in the world.
Diego Costa played alongside the Belgium international in Spain (Picture: Getty)
‘I was at Ajax as a young kid and then I went to Atletico, playing with the big boys. It helps so much to train with people like Costa.’
Alderweireld, who will face Costa at Wembley on Saturday as Spurs look to reach the FA Cup final for the first time since 1991, added: ‘There were big players in that squad.
‘We won La Liga and we reached the Champions League Final. It was a huge help to my performance.
‘There are similarities between that Atletico squad and the group we have now at Tottenham, especially in terms of the spirit.’