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Monday 11 December 2017

Costa: This is not way I wanted to leave Chelsea

Diego Costa. Pic: PA
Diego Costa. Pic: PA

Diego Costa spoke of his delight at being able to return "home" to Atletico Madrid as he arrived in Spain to put the finishing touches on his move from Chelsea.

The two clubs announced on Thursday they had reached an agreement for the transfer of the 28-year-old Spain striker back to Atletico, with the fee reported to be in the region of £58million.

Costa, who made no secret of his desire to return to the Rojiblancos during his three years at Stamford Bridge, yesterday landed in Madrid from Sao Paulo to undergo a medical with Diego Simeone's side and finalise his contract.

The Brazil-born forward will not be able to play for Atletico until January due to their transfer ban, but he is nevertheless thrilled to have been granted his wish to re-join the club with whom he won the Spanish title in 2014.

Costa said: "I'm very happy, It's taken a lot of time but it has a happy ending. Now I'm waiting to see my team-mates and train. I'm looking forward to giving my best as always, and hopefully things go well.

"It always makes you a little nervous when time is passing by, but (Atletico chief executive) Miguel Angel Gil has made a great effort and I'm grateful to him, like everybody at the club. I'm very happy and will try to show my thanks in some way."

Costa scored 59 goals in 120 appearances for Chelsea after joining them from Atletico for £32m in 2014, helping the Blues win two Premier League titles.

However, things turned sour this year.

He said of his acrimonious Stamford Bridge exit: "It's not the way I wanted it leave, ever. I have special affection for the people at Chelsea. I'm not a person who is going to smear the image. They know the person I am.

"I wanted to return (to Atletico). I'm not going to be ungrateful to Chelsea, where I was also very happy, playing in a team that was great. Atletico is my home and I'm here."

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