Diego Costa has revealed that he made a wrong choice going to Chelsea but insisted that he “was very happy” at the club.
The Spain international departed Stamford Bridge in September 2017 following a bitter falling out with manager Antonio Conte, who informed the striker via text that he was not part of his future plans.
Costa initially went AWOL, weeks after playing a pivotal role in the Blues’ Premier League title success, before eventually being granted his return to the Spanish capital.
Speaking about the switch 12 months on, the 29-year-old says that he does not regret going on strike.
“I wanted to play. Chelsea are also a big club. At that time, I needed to change,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “I’d done things very well and wanted to try something different. I was very happy at the club and with the fans, they had a great affection for me. I’m always proud and that gives me confidence, I feel comfortable.
“I left, I won two Premier League titles… I already told [Diego Simeone] that he had to sign me to start winning things. He knows that I love him, and the group… almost all of them were still there. When I left, I was leaving some colleagues I’d known since I was 10. It was a very bad moment but it wasn’t my fault. People said things, but time puts everything in its place.
“Look where the coach is, look at Conte. I was wrong going to Chelsea because of their way of dealing with things. Cholo (Simeone) is a direct coach, and when he doesn’t love you, it’s clear and he facilitates it. At Chelsea it was the opposite.
“I had the option of returning to Atleti and when Chelsea told me to go back to training with the B team… I was clear that I was going back to Atletico, even though there were other offers. If not, I would’ve stayed in Brazil with my family. I had to live my whole life with my family. I have other values that no money can buy.”
Costa scored 52 goals across three Premier League campaigns for Chelsea.