Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has told striker Diego Costa that he no longer features in his plans.
This transcript of Costa`s interview following 90 minutes on the bench for the Spain Colombia game leaves absolutely no room for doubt about where the moody striker`s Chelsea career stands – or, rather, doesn`t.
The granular detail of Costa`s words, clearly prompted by a mutually terminal animosity between the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard and his manager, paint as clear a picture as you could like of what`s what.
For a start, the mere the fact that Don Antonio hasn’t even bothered to speak to the player face to face clearly illustrates the way he feels about matters: by his highest of standards, Costa has transgressed so many written and unwritten rules that he is dead to The Don.
Costa`s peevish words, where he sensationally admits that his relationship with the manager has been bad, and then goes on to sarcastically suggest that his season`s performance of 20 goals was obviously not good enough, give a perfect picture of the kind of pain in the you know what Costa is to deal with.
What Costa neglects to highlight, of course, is that yet again the bulk of his efforts were in one half of the season – just enough to let people (including other transfer destinations) know that he can do it when he really wants to – while the rest was non-stop arguments with defenders coupled with a clear and obvious lack of effort in training as his touch and acceleration deserted him, more often than not embarrassingly so.
While this kind of behavior may have disturbed the former manager, Antonio Conte has dealt with it like the man-managing maestro he is.
Unlike the former one, himself tormented by Costa-like ego demons, The Don has not made a scene.
At the risk of being racist for which I apologize in advance, Don Antonio has behaved like many Italian Dons before him, real and imagined: he has smiled nicely, kept business smooth as silk, but when that was over he has dispatched the problem instantly and ruthlessly.
We True Blues would have it no other way.
If a manager who brought the first ever Premiership title to the club and then did it again the following year isn`t bigger than the club, then Diego Costa certainly isn`t.
We reserve a small place in our hearts for a striker who, at his best thrilled us and terrified opposition defences like no other.
But that`s for later.
Right now, The Don has business to do. And nothing but nothing will be allowed to interfere with that.