Diego Costa says Antonio Conte has told the striker he's not wanted at Chelsea
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 08/06/17 3:27pm
Diego Costa has revealed that Antonio Conte has told him that he does not feature in his plans for Chelsea next season.
The 28-year-old, who scored 20 goals in 35 league appearances in their title-winning campaign last season, says he received a text from his Italian boss and will now be looking for his next club.
Speaking after Wednesday night's Spain's 2-2 draw with Colombia, Costa said: "I'm a Chelsea player, but they do not want me there.
"Antonio Conte has told me by message that I do not follow at Chelsea and that's it. Conte said he did not count on me for next season.
"It's a shame, I've already forwarded the message to Chelsea people to decide. But it is clear that the coach does not count on me and does not want me there.
"It was just a message, after everything I did there. That's up to him - now I have to look for a team and play.
"The truth is I have to look for a team straight away and I'll have to see where I'll be playing next season.
"When a coach picks his players, but you're not included, then what can you do? You have to leave."
The Spain international, who didn't play against Colombia, has always stated a desire to one day return to Atletico Madrid where he played between 2010-2014.
But any move to be reunited with former boss Diego Simeone in La Liga is not possible until at least February because of Atletico's transfer ban.
"To not play for four to five months is a bit difficult," Costa added. "People know that I love my Atletico team-mates and I love to live in Madrid, but I also need to think about my future.
"I always want to play and to be part of the Spain national team because it's a year where we have the World Cup next summer, so there's lots to consider. I need to play - that's it!"
Heading to China could also be back on the cards with Sky sources reporting in May that Super League club Tianjin Quanjian were confident of landing Costa in the summer.
Conte repeatedly said during the season he could not guarantee Costa would stay, but Conte continued to pick his top scorer in the Premier League finale.
Costa missed Chelsea's trip to Leicester in January when Sky sources said a training-ground row ended with Conte telling the player to "go to China".
Romelu Lukaku, who has not extended his contract with Everton, has been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge and the striker told Sky Sports News HQ on Monday that he knew where he would be playing next season.
Chelsea signed Costa in 2014 for £32m and he has gone on to score 58 goals in 120 games, winning two Premier League titles and one League Cup.