Diego Costa: Atletico Madrid agree to terminate Spain striker's deal

Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa will be able to join a new team as a free agent in January after Atletico Madrid contract terminated for personal reasons; Atleti boss Simeone: "He felt the need to find a new challenge... Wherever he goes he will do well, because he's a fighter."

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 19: Diego Costa of Club Atletico de Madrid reacts during the La Liga Santander match between Atletico de Madrid and Elche CF at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on December 19, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Image: Diego Costa played in the Premier League with Chelsea for three-and-a-half years before returning to Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid have reached a mutual agreement with Diego Costa to terminate the Spain international striker's stay at the club.

The former Chelsea forward's deal with the La Liga giants was set to expire in June 2021 but he has asked the club to end his stay prematurely due to personal reasons.

It means the 32-year-old will now be able to join a new club on a free transfer in the January transfer window.

"Atlético de Madrid and Diego Costa have reached an agreement for the termination of the striker's contract, which was to end on June 30, 2021," an Atletico statement read on Tuesday.

"The striker asked to leave the club for personal reasons a few days ago and on Tuesday signed the termination of his contract.

"The club thanks Diego Costa for his dedication during these years and wishes him well in the next stage of his professional career."

Diego Costa celebrates Chelsea's second goal against Stoke City
Image: Costa won two Premier League titles during his time at Stamford Bridge

"We have spent a lot of time together over the years, he has given us a lot and we have given him a lot too," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said on Tuesday.

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"We spoke about his personal issues and the club wanted to help him without harming its own interests and we feel better now we have resolved the issue.

"He felt the need to find a new challenge, and I'm sure wherever he goes he will do well, because he's a fighter."

Costa originally joined Atletico in 2006 aged just 17 and scored 43 goals in 94 appearances for the club between 2010 and 2014.

He helped Simeone's side to the Spanish title in 2014 with 27 goals but missed out on that year's Champions League with an extra-time defeat to Real Madrid in Lisbon.

Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid lifts the trophy after the 4-2 victory over Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup
Image: Costa won the Europa League with Atletico in 2018

He joined Chelsea in 2014 in a £34.2m deal and went on to score 58 goals in 120 appearances for the club, winning two Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

However, he was frozen out at the club by Conte in the summer of 2017 and returned to Atletico in a £54m deal the following January.

The striker immediately helped Diego Simeone's side win the Europa League with a 3-0 final win against Marseille and the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid.

But his spell was repeatedly interrupted by injuries and he struggled to make an impact, despite starting 43 La Liga matches since rejoining.

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