Diego Costa saluted by Simeone as striker cuts ties with Atletico Madrid

By Sports Desk December 29, 2020

Diego Costa was hailed by Diego Simeone as "a fighter" who still has a future in football as the striker's Atletico Madrid career came to an end on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old former Spain international has been a fringe member of the Atletico side this season, making just seven LaLiga appearances and scoring twice.

He was due to reach the end of his contract at the end of the campaign but that has been effectively ripped up, allowing Costa to find a new club.

Costa asked to leave Atletico, citing personal reasons, and has been linked with a return to the Premier League, having previously played in England with Chelsea.

Speaking at a news conference, Simeone appeared to indicate the often fiery forward would be leaving Spain.

"The club have been able to help him without being harmed and that generates peace of mind," said Simeone.

A move to a LaLiga rival on a free transfer is reportedly not on the cards due to clauses built into Costa's exit settlement.

"You know that we love Diego, we have spent a lot of time together in the best way, we gave each other a lot and we have talked with him," Simeone said.

"He also has the need to find new challenges because he is well, strong and I cannot imagine another scenario other than him going on to do good things, because he is a fighter.

"[We want] to thank him, as with all the people who have given us their hearts, and Diego has been one of them from the sporting and human point of view.

"[I] hope that he finds the best way and to be able to hug each other when we meet again, since we have not seen each other for a couple of days because he did not come to train while he was negotiating.

"The most beautiful thing that remains is that we can hug each other when we see each other, celebrate and remember."

Costa scored 83 goals and provided 36 assists in 215 games for Atleti, where he first arrived in 2006 aged only 17.

He won the LaLiga title at the capital club in the 2013-14 season and has also lifted the Copa del Rey and Europa League with Atleti, as well as twice being a Premier League champion during his three-year stay at Chelsea.

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