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Conte opens up on "the truth" behind Diego Costa’s bitter exit from Chelsea

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Antonio Conte has lifted the lid on Diego Costa's bitter exit from Chelsea – claiming he was demanding to leave for a year.

Costa became a cult figure at Stamford Bridge and was one of the league's most impactful players when the Blues won the Premier League in 2017.

But despite being a big part of Chelsea's team, Costa wanted out.

Conte insisted that he wanted to keep "good memories" of his time working with Costa because of the league title success.

But he did admit that he did not have a happy departure from Stamford Bridge – and was pushing to leave a full year before he did eventually head back to Atletico Madrid.

Conte told the Telegraph: "For sure, the truth, we know the truth. The player, his agent, the club and I.

"We know how many times he asked to go away to Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, during the season to go to China, and at the end of the season to join, again, Atletico Madrid.

"This is the truth and, honestly, in my career I want to have players who are concentrated on my team and not to consider my team a second choice. My team must be the first choice.

"It was an incredible season and I managed, together with the club, the Diego Costa situation in the best possible way.

"But, in the end, the truth was only that the player wanted to leave many times to Atletico Madrid and during the season to go to China because he wanted the best contract."

  • Chelsea FC
  • Premier League

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