Diego Costa Is Risking His World Cup Spot By Waiting Out His Chelsea Contract In Brazil

Lead Photo: Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring his team's first goal against Manchester City on December 3, 2016. Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring his team's first goal against Manchester City on December 3, 2016. Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Chelsea outcast and Brazilian-turned-Spaniard Diego Costa has broken his silence following an exile from the London club he’s called home for the last three seasons. Speaking with Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail, Costa talked about receiving the news that his Chelsea days were over via text, as well as the possibility of moving back to Atlético Madrid.

Since Chelsea manager Antonio Conte sent the infamous text that severed the Blues’ relationship with Costa, the 28-year-old striker has been sitting at home in his childhood neighborhood of Lagarto, awaiting a resolution that he hopes will give him back the ability to play professional soccer, something that he blames Conte for: “In January, things happened with the coach. I was on the brink of renewing my contract and they put the brakes on it. I suspect the manager was behind it.” He continued, saying that he doesn’t doubt Conte’s ability as a manager, but rather as a communicator: “I respect him as a great coach. He has done a good job and I can see that, but as a person, no. He is not a coach who is very close with his players. He is very distant. He doesn’t possess charisma.”

Costa does admit that the club has offered him a place on the reserves in order to train until an offer comes in, but even that feels like an insult to the Brazilian. “They want me to be there training with the reserves. I wouldn’t be allowed access to the first-team dressing room and I would have no contact at all with the guys. I’m not a criminal! I don’t think it is fair after all I have done to be treated like that.”

As for a next move, Costa feels pretty confident in his ability to wait out his Chelsea contract, saying he’d be “ready to see out his Chelsea contract unpaid and train alone near his home in Brazil.” The end goal, of course, is to move back to Atlético Madrid, where he rose to prominence under Diego Simeone from 2010 to 2014. “My desire is to go to Atlético. I’ve spoken to Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia. I said, ‘If the manager doesn’t want me, I want to go to Atletico Madrid’. I have rejected other offers. They want to sell me to China or other teams.” It’s not that simple, of course; while Costa says that both Simeone and the fans want him to return, Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports reports that the Brazilian has been angling for a move back for at least two years:

Costa’s future remains up in the air, a fact made evident by his absence during Chelsea’s shocking opening day loss to Burnley on Saturday. While he waits for a resolution, Costa continues to train and stay ready for the moment that his name gets called. Whether it will be by Chelsea–rumors are already swirling that Conte could be on the way out, less than a year after winning the Premier League–or by Atlético, one thing is certain: if Costa is to appear at the World Cup next summer, he’ll need some top flight soccer, and fast.