As one door opens, another one closes.
Diego Costa was not included in Chelsea’s Champions League squad which was submitted on Monday, despite being named among his club’s 25-man throng for the current Premier League campaign.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte infamously informed Costa via text message that he wasn’t part of his plans at Stamford Bridge earlier this summer, but the striker’s desired return to Atletico Madrid failed to materialise before the transfer window slammed shut on Aug. 31. This is despite Atleti president Enrique Cerezo declaring himself “optimistic” that a deal could be struck last week.
The biggest snag in negotiations was Chelsea refusing to lower its asking price, according to the Spanish international.
There was brief indication that Costa could possibly reconcile with Conte and win his place back in the starting lineup when he was included in the club’s 2017-18 Premier League squad. Those hopes now appear to be quashed after he was left off the Champions League roster.
That would leave Costa available for Chelsea, Atleti, or another club when three changes can be made to Champions League squads before the knockout rounds. With Chelsea not competing in Europe during the 2016-17 campaign, Costa has now been denied continental football since Feb. 2016.
The 28-year-old last played for Chelsea on May 27, when the Blues lost to London rival Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley. Costa didn’t participate in Chelsea’s pre-season programme, and was reportedly fined £300,000 for his unauthorised four-week absence in mid-August.