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Diego Costa refuses to use Conte's name as he reflects on difficult Chelsea exit after Stamford Bridge homecoming

15:48 GMT+3 09/10/2022
Antonio Conte Diego Costa
Diego Costa has reignited his feud with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, refusing to name the Italian when explaining his 2017 Blues exit.
  • Striker spent three years with Blues
  • Won two Premier League titles
  • Forced out by Italian coach

WHAT HAPPENED? Costa had spent three productive years in west London at that point, scoring 59 goals through 120 appearances while helping the Blues to two Premier League titles and a League Cup triumph. He was informed by text that his services were no longer required, as a return to Atletico Madrid was eventually lined up. The 34-year-old is still disappointed at how his first stint in England came to a close.

WHAT THEY SAID: Having been given a hero’s reception by Chelsea supporters on his return with Wolves, Costa said: “I've never had a problem with the fans. My problem was not with the crowd, it was with that coach. I left in bad terms with that manager, I left a champion for the second time, and he didn't count on me.

"That was nothing I could do. I had to leave. Today showed that I did not leave on bad terms with the fans. It's very special. It's the feeling that in the time that you spent here, you did good work and left good memories. Chelsea fans always treated me very well. I was always surprised by the way they treated me. It's satisfying.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Costa said back in 2017 of receiving a message from Conte during a summer break in Brazil: “It was a moment of madness. It can happen, but I thought it was disrespectful. I always asked to speak face to face with the coach and the board. I never sent [them] text messages, so it shows what kind of person he is. If something makes me sad about this situation, it's [the fans'] affection as they'd always supported me, even during the delicate moments.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR COSTA? The former Spain international striker suffered a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea with Wolves, but was given an opportunity to soak up applause from the home support when being substituted in the second half.