Out-of-favour Chelsea striker Diego Costa has launched an angry broadside against both the club and manager Antonio Conte, accusing them of treating him like a “criminal”.
Costa, 28, has been informed by Conte that he has no future at the club and having been frozen out of the first-team squad, the Brazil-born Spain international has gone home to Brazil.
He says Chelsea “want to sell me to China”, but has reiterated his desire to return to former club Atletico Madrid, who are under a transfer ban until January.
“I am waiting for Chelsea to set me free. I didn’t want to leave. I was happy. When the manager does not want you, you have to go,” Costa said in an interview published in Monday’s Daily Mail.
“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 asked for that to happen.
“They gave me a week extra off, but since then it’s fines all the way. They want me training with the reserves. I am not going to do that. I am not a criminal and I am not in the wrong here.
“So, if they need to fine me, let them fine me.”
Costa was particularly scathing in his criticism of Conte.
“I respect him as a great coach. He has done a good job and I can see that. But as a person — no,” said Costa.