We already knew just how close Diego Costa was to leaving Chelsea last summer to go back to Atlético Madrid — even after Chelsea issued a very public hands-off warning to Atlético and their chairman — but in an interview yesterday in Cadena SER’s El Larguero (which seems to be appearing quite regularly in the Chelsea news cycle these days), Diego has delved into greater detail than he had ever done in public before.
“I did everything possible to return to Atletico. I won’t fight like that to return again. When Atletico had to wait for me they didn’t. I had to go to Conte with my tail between my legs.”
Atlético signed Kevin Gameiro at the end of July, which effectively ended the Costa rumors. The way Atléti talked back then, they settled for Gameiro as their second choice, but the way Costa seems to be looking at it, they panicked and didn’t want to wait for him. Two sides to every story.
It’s unclear why Atlétio had to wait since Costa apparently told Conte on the very first day that he wanted to leave.
“On Conte's first day at Chelsea, I told him that I wanted to return to Atletico, and he was angry with me, he hardly even looked at me. I would have reacted the same way, thankfully I started scoring goals.”
-Diego Costa; source: Cadena SER via Google Translate
Given their public displays affection since, it’s safe to say the relationship has been more than productive since. Though of course there are the couple “blazing rows” to consider as well, so while Costa may insist that he’s not wanting to go back to Atlético anymore (and there’s hardly been a sniff of a rumor from them this season) and he may only talk about China jokingly, I doubt his future is all that assured at Chelsea, which has been my baseline assumption since the start of the season for whatever that’s worth.
Of course, as Costa says, you never truly know in football. With rumors of a possible extension being negotiated for Costa, but with the Lukaku rumors picking up again as well, there are several different outcomes that are quite likely at the moment. So stay tuned.
For now, the important part is that Costa’s scoring goals, showing plenty of fight and passion and commitment as we look to end the season on a high note.