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Atletico Madrid chief Enrique Cerezo plays down Diego Costa return talk

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo says Diego Costa remains a Chelsea player “at the moment,” amid uncertainty about the future of the Spain international just weeks ahead of the new season.

Former Atletico striker Costa, 28, looks likely to leave Chelsea this summer following the deterioration of his relationship with Blues manager Antonio Conte.

The situation, however, is complicated by Atletico’s FIFA transfer ban and their difficulty in meeting the financial demands of Chelsea and Costa himself.

While both Chelsea and Atletico are hard at work in preseason, Costa is currently on holiday at home in Lagarto, Brazil, from where he published an Instagram video last weekend showing him partying while wearing a Rojiblancoshirt.

Speaking at a dinner organised at Atletico’s camp near Segovia in the mountains to the north of Madrid, Cerezo told AS that Costa’s choice of clothing did not change the reality of the situation.

“Costa is a Chelsea player at the moment, and you know for a long time now that we cannot sign anyone [this summer],” Cerezo said. “This shows that pyjamas come in all different colours. Everyone can put on whichever ones they want.

“Diego is a magnificent player, a great player, he was in Spain for many years. He has had a good spell in England, learned English, English customs. He will return to Spain someday… On holiday. Madrid is a lovely place to visit, if you have the money to enjoy it.”

Asked whether he had spoken with Costa this summer, Cerezo said there had been little contact since the €38 million move to Chelsea in 2014.

“It is a long time since I spoke with him,” the film producer said. “At least a year, since he left here. I have seen him with the [Spain] national team, but spoken to him very little.”

Despite the transfer ban, Atletico have moved this summer to sign winger Vitolo from Sevilla, triggering his €36.5m release clause. The Spain international has been sent on loan for the first half of the 2017-18 season to his hometown club of Las Palmas before his return to Atletico in January, when he can be registered to play for them.


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