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Diego Costa left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad

Diego Costa left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad

Monday 04 September 2017

Diego Costa left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad

The wantaway striker has been left out of Chelsea’s 25-man squad for European action.

Diego Costa has been omitted from Chelsea’s Champions League squad.

The wantaway striker was included in Chelsea’s official Premier League list, but has been left out of their 25-man squad for European action.

The 28-year-old is yet to return to Chelsea for the new season, having remained in Brazil in a bid to force a move to Atletico Madrid.

Atletico’s transfer ban means the Spain forward cannot move until January at the earliest.

Costa remains a Chelsea player after the close of the summer transfer window, and the Blues still want him back at the club.

Former Atletico striker Costa claimed Chelsea had treated him like a “criminal” in insisting he would not return to west London, but manager Antonio Conte has since laughed off those remarks.

Diego Costa
Diego Costa wants to leave Chelsea and rejoin Atletico Madrid (Mike Egerton/PA)

Chelsea missed out on signing Fernando Llorente, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley in a frenetic end to the transfer window.

The return of a fit, focused and compliant Costa would doubtless strengthen boss Conte’s hand, but Chelsea have left the door open to a mid-season move by omitting the Spain striker from their European ranks.

Costa would avoid being cup tied if he does not make any European appearance for Chelsea, making him a more attractive signing for Atletico in the new year.

Diego Costa
Costa will be seen as more attractive to Europe’s top clubs if he does not play in the Champions League with Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)

While Chelsea want their employee to return to the club and fulfil the terms of his contract, his omission from the Champions League ranks serves as another reminder of his exiled status at Stamford Bridge.

Eden Hazard meanwhile believes Chelsea boast a squad capable of challenging on all fronts, despite the Blues missing out on those summer transfer targets.

Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard has set his sights on winning the Champions League with Chelsea this season (John Walton/PA)

Belgium star Hazard remains convinced however that Chelsea have the power to fight for silverware across the board – especially amid their return to the Champions League.

“I think this year will be no different from the previous years, in the sense that every year it is difficult, especially when you play in many competitions,” Hazard told the Daily Mail.

“This year we have the Champions League as well and it is not easy to succeed in multiple competitions. But we will do our best and we have got depth in our squad so sometimes maybe one or two players can rest so they are 110 per cent for the next competition.

“We just want to win as many trophies as possible, for me personally I haven’t won the Champions League so maybe that one would be a little bit more special, but I would prefer us to win everything.”

Hazard missed the start of Chelsea’s new campaign owing to an ankle injury, but has returned to action with Belgium across the international break.

The 26-year-old hailed Blues boss Conte as one of the world’s top managers as the Stamford Bridge club set about defending their Premier League crown.

“I have a good relationship with all my managers,” said Hazard. “You know we train every day together and we can talk together and laugh together. So yes absolutely we have a good relationship, I wouldn’t say ‘friends’ because it is difficult to be friends with your manager so I wouldn’t say that but we have a good relationship.

“I think we have got one of the best managers in the world. So we are really happy with him.”

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