Diego Costa has remarkably claimed he is being treated like a “criminal” by Chelsea.
The Spanish striker has gone AWOL in Brazil after being told he can leave by Antonio Conte in a public spat.
But in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Costa says he is being held against his will with his heart set on a return to Atletico Madrid.
Costa said: “I am waiting for Chelsea to set me free. Why won’t they let me go if they don’t want me?
“My desire is to go to Atletico (where he played from 2010-14). I’ve spoken to Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia. I said, ‘If the manager doesn’t want me, I want to go to Atletico Madrid’.
“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.”
Costa faces a fine up to £300k after failing to report for training TWO WEEKS ago.
But he has been pictured partying in Brazil instead of returning to the club’s Cobham HQ and working on his fitness.
Conte has made it clear Costa is not part of his plans and would be training away from the first team.
But Costa was still due to return and keep himself in shape for a potential move.
He now could be fined by the club two weeks wages with his current earnings £150,000 a week.
His situation has been complicated by his dream move back to Atletico Madrid being put on hold as they have a transfer embargo until January.
Chelsea were beaten 3-2 by Burnley in the worst possible start to their Premier League defence on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.
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