Sunday 21 January 2018

Diego Costa wants face-to-face goodbye with Antonio Conte in tunnel ahead of Atletico vs Chelsea

Diego Costa has not seen Antonio Conte since he received a text message to say his Chelsea career was over
Diego Costa has not seen Antonio Conte since he received a text message to say his Chelsea career was over

Matt Law

Diego Costa wants to go face-to-face with Antonio Conte for the first time since the text message that ended his Chelsea career by saying his goodbyes in the tunnel of the Wanda Metropolitano stadium ahead of the Champions League clash between his former club and Atletico Madrid.

Costa formally completed his return to Atletico on Tuesday night – 24 hours before Chelsea take on the Spanish club in Group C of the Champions League.

Chelsea have been informed that Costa will be in the tunnel area before the game to say goodbye to his old team-mates and club staff, having refused to return to England since the end of last season.

And that means Costa will test the claim of Chelsea head coach Conte that he will shake hands with the striker now that both men have got their way.

Conte first told Costa he could leave Chelsea this summer in January, following a row between the pair, but it was a text message in June that prompted the 28-year-old to go on strike in Brazil and accuse the club of treating him like a “criminal.”

The message reiterated the fact Costa was no longer in Conte’s plans, but the Italian has refused to publically explain his reasons for wanting last season’s top scorer out of Stamford Bridge.

Conte has largely refused to discuss Costa this season, but has now twice claimed he will shake hands with the player if they cross paths again.

Asked by Spanish reporters on Tuesday night whether he will shake the hand of Costa, Conte replied: “Yes, as I said before, I have no problem with Diego Costa. I said that we wish, for him, the best for the future. We want to thank him for the last season. But, I repeat, I have no problem with him.”

All eyes will now be on Conte’s reaction if and when he is confronted by Costa in the tunnel area of Atletico’s newly-opened stadium and whether or not the pair exchange a handshake.

Costa posted a goodbye to the Chelsea fans on Instagram on Tuesday night after his return to Atletico was formally confirmed by both clubs.

Há ciclos que se abrem e ciclos que se fecham. O meu ciclo no Chelsea iniciou-se há três anos, três anos marcantes em todos os aspetos, e que jamais esquecerei. Dois títulos de campeão, uma Supertaça Inglesa, 120 jogos, 59 golos e 24 assistências depois este ciclo encerra. Não da forma que desejava (longe disso), mas da forma possível. Na memória e no coração ficarão para sempre os maravilhosos adeptos de um grande clube e todos os companheiros com quem partilhei o balneário, bem como todo o staff logístico, administrativo e clínico. Levo-os comigo com a certeza de que sempre irei estar ao seu lado da mesma forma que, acredito, eles entenderão a razão pela qual este meu ciclo teve de chegar agora ao fim. Porque não podia perder a crença em mim. Obrigada por tudo Chelsea. -- Some cycles begin while others end. My cycle at Chelsea began three years ago – three remarkable years in all aspects – and I will never forget it. Two championship titles, a Community Shield, 120 matches, 59 goals and 24 assists later this cycle has ended. Not the way I would have wanted – far from it – but the best way possible. The wonderful fans of such equally admirable club and all team mates, as well as all clinical, administrative and logistics staff will remain forever in my mind and in my heart. Will bring them with me with the certainty that I will always be by their side as well, and I’m sure they will understand the reason why this cycle of mine has now ended – because I could not lose faith in myself. Thank you Chelsea for everything!

A post shared by Diego Costa (@diego.costa) on

In his message, Costa wrote: “Some cycles begin while others end. My cycle began at Chelsea three years ago – three remarkable years in all aspects – and I will never forget it. Two championship titles, a Community Shield, 120 matches, 59 goals and 24 assists later this cycle has ended.

"Not the way I would have wanted – far from it – but the best way possible. The wonderful fans of such equally admirable club and all team mates, as well as clinical, administrative and logistics staff will remain forever in my mind and in my heart.

"Will bring them with me in the certainty that I will always be by their side as well and I’m sure they will understand the reason why this cycle of mine has now ended – because I could not lose faith in myself. Thank you Chelsea for everything.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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