English champions Chelsea have confirmed they have fined Diego Costa, with the striker absent from training for the past four weeks.
The Brazil-born Spain striker picks up an estimated £150,000-a-week at Stamford Bridge, according to the London Evening Standard, but has not turned out for the club since the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup final in May.
28-year-old Costa was given an extra week's summer break, but remains in Brazil and is apparently refusing to return to the club as he seeks a move back to La Liga with Atletico Madrid, the club he left for Chelsea in a £32m transfer in 2014.
"They gave me a week extra off but since then it’s fines all the way. I am not a criminal and I am not in the wrong here. So, if they need to fine me, let them fine me."
The situation is complicated by the fact that Atletico are currently banned from signing players in this window although a loan deal would be possible. It is claimed Chelsea want £50m for the forward with Atletico offering around £28m.
Costa claims Chelsea manager Antonio Conte sent him a text, telling him he was not in his plans for the new season as Chelsea resumed pre-season training on July 10.
The Standard also claims Costa was expected to train at Cobham while Chelsea embarked on their pre-season tour of the Far East last month as the club worked out the player's future.
Costa was interviewed at home in Brazil on the same day Chelsea lost 3-2 to Burnley on the opening day of the season. He said he was refusing the club's demand to return to play with the reserves.
"They want me to be there training with the reserves. I wouldn't be allowed access to the first-team dressing room and I would have no contact at all with the guys," he told the Daily Mail.
Costa said if the club did not allow him to move before the transfer window he was prepared to see out his contract unpaid in Brazil.
"I am open to being a year in Brazil without playing, even if Chelsea fine me for a year and don't pay me. I'll come back stronger. If I was in the wrong, I'd go back now and do as they say."
"I want the deal with Atletico resolved this month. My idea would be to go to Madrid, train there, get in the best physical shape and be ready to fire ahead of the World Cup."
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