Costa: Conte has told me I can leave

The 28-year-old striker, who hit 26 goals in 46 games in all competitions for the Premier League champions last term, said that Conte sent him a text message telling him he is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking after Spain's 2-2 friendly draw with Colombia on Wednesday, 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.

The striker has been consistently linked with a move away from Chelsea, despite being their leading scorer, with a rumoured move to the Chinese Super League in January casting his future into doubt and causing his form to dip in the second half of the season.

The Blues are also said to be interested in a bid for want-away Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.

"I had a simple little message on my mobile from Conte," Costa said.

"It will be because I've done badly this year. It's a shame. I've forwarded the message on to the people at the club for them to decide but it's clear that the coach isn't counting on me and he doesn't want me there.

"I'm on the market and so I'm looking for a team. If the coach doesn't want you, you have to leave."

Costa has also been linked with a move back to former club Atletico Madrid, but a return would be complicated by the La Liga club's transfer ban.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) recently rejected Atletico's appeal against a FIFA ban on registering new players, which means the Madrid club will be unable to field any new signings until next January.

"It would be nice to go back to Atletico but I have to think everything over," said Costa. "There's a World Cup [in 2018] and I need to play. Being four or five months without playing is tough, but people know that I love my Atletico teammates a lot, I love living in Madrid."


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