Chelsea have fined Diego Costa two weeks’ wages for failing to return to training as the dispute over his future rumbles on, according to reports.
Costa, who remains in his home town of Lagarto in Brazil, claimed in an interview with the Daily Mail on Sunday that Chelsea are treating him “like a criminal” and that he has lost all personal respect for head coach Antonio Conte over the Italian’s handling of the situation.
Conte informed Costa via text message in June that he would not be in Chelsea’s plans for the new season, though the club’s position is that their striker and his representatives were informed in January — when he was dropped following a training-ground row and lucrative offer from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian — that his time at Stamford Bridge was coming to an end.
Costa is adamant that he will only consider a move back to former club Atletico Madrid, who are banned by FIFA from registering new players until January 2018.
The Spain international was granted an extra few days off when the rest of the Chelsea squad gathered at Cobham for preseason training in early July, but he has not come back since and claimed on Sunday that the Premier League champions have asked him to return and train away from his teammates.
Sources at Chelsea have told ESPN FC that no such condition has been laid out to Costa, and insist that the club simply expect the 28-year-old to fulfill the terms of his contract by coming back to training, regaining match fitness and making himself available for selection.