Thursday 18 January 2018

Chelsea leave Diego Costa out of Champions League squad but Zlatan Ibrahimovic features for Man United

Diego Costa will not feature for Chelsea in the Champions League group stages
Diego Costa will not feature for Chelsea in the Champions League group stages
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Chelsea have omitted exiled striker Diego Costa from their 25-man Champions League squad, to further confirm the wantaway forward's pariah status at the club.

The 28-year-old is yet to return to Chelsea for the new season, having remained in Brazil in a bid to force a move to Atletico Madrid.

Atletico's transfer ban means the Spain forward cannot move until January at the earliest, and despite being named in the champions' Premier League squad he has been left out of their ranks for European action.

Costa remains a Chelsea player after the close of the summer transfer window, and the Blues still want him back at the club.

Former Atletico striker Costa claimed Chelsea had treated him like a "criminal" in insisting he would not return to west London, but manager Antonio Conte has since laughed off those remarks.

Costa would avoid being cup tied if he does not make any European appearance for Chelsea, making him a more attractive signing for Atletico in the new year.

While Chelsea want their employee to return to the club and fulfil the terms of his contract, his omission from the Champions League ranks serves as another reminder of his diminished status at Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have found room for the returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their squad for the group stages though he is not expected to featured.

The Swede scored 27 goals in all competitions for United last term after signing on a free transfer, but was released after suffering a serious knee injury.

Jose Mourinho took the decision to re-sign Ibrahimovic last month, despite the fine form of summer signing Romelu Lukaku, but the former Barcelona and Juventus striker is not expected to return until the new year.

"I am not thinking Zlatan will play any part in the group phase," Mourinho said.

"I don't think there is any chance of that. Do we have space in the Champions League list to have him? Yes, we have.

"Hopefully he can play in the knockout phase but for that we need to finish top two."

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