Chelsea, still reeling from a bruising 2-3 home defeat by Burnley, have fined out-of-favour Diego Costa two weeks’ wages for failing to return to training as the dispute over his future worsens.
Costa, who has remained in his home town of Lagarto in Brazil, told the Daily Mail on Sunday that Chelsea are treating him “like a criminal” and that he has lost all personal respect for head coach Antonio Conte over the Italian’s handling of the situation.
The Chelsea manager had informed Costa via text message in June that the Blues would not be planning with him for the new season. However the club’s position is that their striker and his representatives were informed in January that his time at Stamford Bridge was coming to an end when he was dropped following a training-ground row. There was also then a lucrative offer from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian
But the Spanish international insists he will only consider a move back to former club Atletico Madrid, who are banned by FIFA from registering new players until January 2018.
Costa was granted extra few days off when the rest of the Chelsea squad gathered at Cobham for preseason training in early July. However, he has failed to return since then and claimed on Sunday that the Premier League champions have asked him to return and train away with the U-23 team, which he said he will never do.
Sources at Stamford Bridge told ESPN FC that Costa has not told the truth, saying that the club simply expect the 28-year-old to fulfill the terms of his contract by coming back to training, regaining match fitness and making himself available for selection.