The war of words between Diego Costa and his manager Antonio Conte has hugely escalated after the Chelsea striker told the Daily Mail that he is willing to spend a year in Brazil unpaid if the club do not allow him to leave.
Costa, who is currently back in Brazil with his family and being fined for refusing to train with the Chelsea reserves, told the Mail 'I take the hit every week but I'm not driven by money. The important thing is to be happy with how I live. I'm here with my parents and people who respect me.'
The stiker's future with the club has looked uncertain since early January when it seemed he was on his way to China but Costa insists that come the end of the season he was settled and happy at Chelsea before receiving a text message from Conte telling him he had not future at the club:
I was with the Spain national team, alone in my room, when it came through. It was a shock to get it like that. I was showing it to my team-mates and they could not believe how he had done it.
I was angry at the time. Now I am more calm. I have not deleted the message. If people accuse me of lying, I can show them. It was clear, saying that he didn't count on me and wishing me the best for the future. Full stop.
Costa revealed that he was actually close to signing a new contract with the club in January before talks stalled, which he believes was at the behest of Conte. While the great footballing dynasty of China may have tempted him after Christmas, his heart is now firmly in Atletico Madrid, 'The language is better for me in Spain. If I'm off, I'm going to the club I want to go to — not the club that's paying the most.'
His undying bond with Diego Simeone seems to only be rivalled only by his undying bond with Jose Mourinho, who Costa says rang him to make sure all is well, 'Jose has called me, direct to my phone, just to check I am OK and to see how I am.'
Surely all this will be settled before the end of the transfer window but when you read the full interview it certainly seems as if we've seen the last of Costa in a Chelsea shirt, whether he moves in before 31 August or not.