Diego Costa confirmed that he has to find a new team ahead of next season after the striker claimed that Antonio Conte had sent him a message conveying that he is not part of Chelsea's plans for the upcoming campaign.
The Spain striker revealed the Italian manager's stance following Spain's 2-2 draw against Colombia in Murcia on Wednesday (7 June). Costa has been flirting with a move away from Stamford Bridge since the January transfer window with reports linking him with a move to the Chinese Super League. However, after helping Chelsea to the Premier League title, he confirmed that he will only leave the Blues for a chance to rejoin former club Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish capital club were also keen on bringing the striker back to his adopted homeland, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the transfer ban imposed on them by Fifa. They cannot sign any new players until January 2018, which put paid to any chance of Costa leaving Chelsea. But from Conte's message to Costa it is clear that he will need to find a solution away from west London for the upcoming campaign.
"I'm a Chelsea player, but they do not want me there. Antonio Conte has told me by message that I do not follow at Chelsea and that's it. Conte said he did not count on me for next season," Costa said after Spain's draw with Colombia as quoted by ESPN.
"It's a shame, I've already forwarded the message to Chelsea people to decide. But it is clear that the coach does not count on me and does not want me there. You have to find a team," he added.
The 28-year-old Brazil-born Spain international is open to a move to Atletico this summer, but he will not be allowed to play for them until January next year owing to their transfer ban. The World Cup is in Russia next year and the striker fears that skipping five months of football will harm his chances of making the Spain squad for the quadrennial show-piece event.
"It would be nice to return to Atletico, but it is difficult to be four-five months without playing,'' Costa added. "Being five months without playing? I do not know, it's complicated, but people know that I love Atletico a lot and that I love living in Madrid."
"It would be nice to go back, but it's difficult to be four-five months without playing. It's a World Cup year and there's a lot to think about. I need to play, that's all.''