Diego Costa denies holding Antonio Conte grudge ahead of Atletico return
Diego Costa has said he has no grudge against Chelsea boss Antonio Conte as he prepares to complete a return to Atletico Madrid.
Atletico have agreed a deal with Chelsea for the return of Costa, which sources have told ESPN FC is an initial loan with a commitment to buy for £58 million (€65.7m) at the end of the season.
Costa has spent the summer in Brazil after Conte sent him a text message to say he was not in his plans at Chelsea, and the Spain international said during his exile that he did not respect the former Italy boss as a person and that he "doesn't possess charisma."
However, interviewed by Splash News in a Sao Paulo airport as he prepared to head to Madrid, Costa said that he was not annoyed with the Chelsea boss.
"Not at all," he said. "I have no regrets with anyone. I hold no grudge with anyone. Everything is fine."
Asked if he had a message for the Chelsea fans, he said: "They know that I care a lot about them."
Atléticos, a friend says hi! pic.twitter.com/l9AzyL9ou8— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 22, 2017
Meanwhile, Atletico coach Diego Simeone has suggested Costa will not walk straight back into the team if he completes a return from Chelsea.
Simeone said he did not yet view Costa as an Atletico player and that he is only thinking about Saturday's game against Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano.
"I can say what I know, the same as yourselves," Simeone told a news conference. "There is an agreement in principle, but officially I have not heard that he is with us [yet]. There is work going on with Chelsea, but the only thing I am concerned about is Sevilla."
Costa won the 2013 Copa del Rey and 2013-14 La Liga title and scored 56 goals in 95 games during his previous spell at Atletico, and he has won two Premier League titles since joining Chelsea in 2014.
However, he will be returning to a club with strength in depth in attack, with Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa, Luciano Vietto, Kevin Gameiro, Yannick Carrasco and Fernando Torres at the club and summer signing Vitolo -- currently on loan at Las Palmas due to Atletico's transfer ban -- also due to join up with the squad in January.
"Big teams grow from having big players, and big players know that at the biggest clubs they will have competition for places," he said. "It is clear the club is growing, and needs people who know how to compete thinking of the club and the team.
"The club is taking important steps forward, and we all need to make the same effort -- current players, the coach who is staying, and players who come in."
Torres and defender Jose Maria Gimenez are not included in an 18-man squad for Saturday's game, with right-back Sime Vrsaljko -- who has returned to fitness -- and France international Gameiro making the cut.
Sevilla arrive at the Wanda second in the early La Liga table and unbeaten in all competitions, and Simeone said their coach, fellow Argentine Eduardo Berizzo, had already put his stamp on the team since his summer arrival.
"Sevilla are going very well," he said. "Berizzo is a top coach, he improves all the time, did it with Celta too, always competes very well.
"You can see what he wants from his team -- pace down the wings, collective work, and players in the centre who can play quality football. And up front they have a lot of pace. They are a very competitive team and will compete in the top spots."
ESPN FC's Madrid correspondent, Dermot Corrigan, contributed to this report.
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