Antonio Conte’s first season in charge of Chelsea was characterized by plenty of good vibes, in all footballing and non-footballing aspects, from the results on the pitch, to the harmony in the dressing room (despite the Costa shenanigans), to the relationship with the media and beyond. But that honeymoon is well and truly over and the gloves have been off since the summer. Even the FA have started butting in once again, levying a fine on the Chelsea head coach for doing not much more than what others routinely get away with.
The latest issue that Conte’s been getting needled with is David Luiz’s (somewhat?) Costa-esque situation, with rumors of palpable discord between the two of them floating relentlessly about, followed by an (in-)conveniently timed knee injury that’s kept David Luiz from even the substitutes bench. The last time he played was two weeks ago, away at Qarabag; since then, the only place where he’s been a constant fixture have been the rumors linking with an exit, possibly to Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Conte’s maintained that there is no issue, David Luiz has maintained radio silence, and the media has maintained their own narrative as they’re wont to do. And Conte’s apparently done fighting it.
“David is out. This problem with his knee, trying to solve this situation. He’s out.
“Why do you ask this question [about if there is a breakdown in the relationship]? Two weeks ago, then it was the past, then he played against Qarabag. If you don’t trust what I tell it’s your problem not my problem."
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
Last season, press conferences turned into rather repetitive affairs of Chelsea needing to work hard and pay great attention. Conte was allowed to skate by (and was taken at face value) on several issues. Alas, that wonderful ennui is long gone. Now we’re back to the manufactured soap opera to help sell the papers and the clicks.
What that means for David Luiz’s future? Who knows. Depends on whom you believe, which of course may or may not reflect that actual reality. One does wonder what is the point of this whole charade sometimes.