Atlético Madrid forward Diego Costa says he came close to joining Liverpool in the summer. The Brazil international was linked with a £21m move to Anfield, to provide cover and competition for Uruguayan international Luis Suarez.
"I had the chance to leave. I was about to do so. Liverpool are a great team. But, after so much fighting and overcoming many difficulties to earn my place at Atletico, how was I going to leave? Here I have the trust and respect of the people," the South American told Mundo Deportivo.
The summer's talk of Costa moving to the Premier League was immediately dismissed by the Vicente Calderon side, whose officials told Spanish publication AS they received no offers (either from the Reds or Chelsea) and would not consider selling the 24-year-old under any circumstance.
Costa has since extended his contract with Diego Simeone's side and has enjoyed an excellent start to the new season, with three goals and an assist in the opening three games of the league. Atlético are second in La Liga and join champions Barcelona, cross-town rivals Real Madrid and the newly-promoted Villarreal as the only side to have won all games played so far.
The former Rayo Vallecano striker is now contracted to Atlético till 2018.
"I thought it was very important for me to continue growing in this club and to play here for many years. I know the world of football. I can really love a club, but a club is not just the fans, make no mistake. There are people running a company and with them you can encounter problems. The best way to demonstrate the affection or love that I have for Atletico is by giving my all on the field. That's my point of view. If I go, perfect. If I do not go, I try to improve," Costa said.
Finally, the Brazilian also admitted he learnt a great deal from Argentine international Sergio Agüero and Uruguayan Diego Forlan. The two played for the club till the end of the 2010/11 season; Agüero moved to Manchester City and Forlan to Serie A side Inter Milan.