Monday 19 March 2018

'He doesn't possess charisma' - Diego Costa blasts Antonio Conte over Chelsea exile

Diego Costa frozen out by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Photo: PA.
Diego Costa frozen out by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Photo: PA.
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Diego Costa has offered up an extraordinary interview that has revealed how his fractious relationship with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte broke down several months ago.

Speaking to the Daily Mail from his home in Brazil, the striker who revealed earlier this summer that he was told his Chelsea career was over via a text message from Conte has answered most of the questions hovering around his current exile from the Blues squad.

Costa has yet to return to pre-season training with Chelsea, with Conte confirming that he would not discuss the striker's current exile from his set-up after Saturday's shock 3-2 defeat against Burnley as he considered the player to be 'in the past'.

Now Costa has served up his version of events, as he revealed he fell out with Chelsea boss Conte back in January after claiming the Italian tactician blocked his attempts to sign a new contract with the club.

The Spain striker also revealed he is in regular contact with his Chelsea team-mates and confirmed he has been fined by the club for not showing up to pre-season training.

"You know that the manager doesn't want me," stated Costa, who confirmed in the interview he has asked to be allowed to return to his former club Atletico Madrid.

"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.

"They want me to be there training with the reserves. I wouldn't be allowed access to the first-team dressing room and I would have no contact at all with the guys.

"I'm not a criminal! I don't think it is fair after all I have done to be treated like that.

"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."

Costa also claimed that Conte 'doesn't possess charisma'.

"His ideas are very fixed and clear," he said.

"I have seen the sort of person he is. He has his own opinion and that will not change.

"I respect him as a great coach. He has done a good job and I can see that, but as a person, no. He is not a coach who is very close with his players. He is very distant. He doesn't possess charisma."

Costa went on to confirm he has been fined by Chelsea for not turning up to pre-season training, as he suggested Conte 'doesn't possess charisma' in his dealing with players.

"What is happening now with Chelsea is sad," he continued. "The text message - I understand it when a coach wants a different player. There are ways of going about it. You don't do it by text message. You should be honest and direct to someone's face.

"I was with the Spain national team, alone in my room, when it came through. It was a shock to get it like that. I was showing it to my team-mates and they could not believe how he had done it.

"I was angry at the time. Now I am more calm. I have not deleted the message. If people accuse me of lying, I can show them. It was clear, saying that he didn't count on me and wishing me the best for the future. Full stop."

Costa also revealed he had a personal call from Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho amid his troubled summer, with the perceived breakdown in communications between the striker and his former Chelsea boss clearly overblown by the media.

"Jose has called me, direct to my phone, just to check I am OK and to see how I am," he added.

"He wished me good luck. I never had any problems with Jose, we have a strong relationship. Everyone was very sad when things didn't work out in the end for him at Chelsea."

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