‘I am grateful to him’: Diego Simeone pays tribute to departing Diego Costa – who he worked with for seven years – following termination of striker’s Atletico Madrid deal
- Atletico Madrid confirmed on Tuesday that Diego Costa’s deal was ended early
- The veteran striker is understood to have asked to leave due to personal reasons
- Diego Simeone hailed Costa and added he was ‘grateful’ in his press conference
- Both Arsenal and Juventus are believed to be interested in swooping for the ace
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has paid a touching tribute to Diego Costa after the striker’s contract was terminated on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old is understood to have asked the club to tear up his deal after falling down the pecking order and will now be available on a free transfer ahead of the January window.
And after the departure was confirmed, Simeone insisted he hopes to cherish the memories from their on-field success – but refused to be drawn into the details behind the decision.
Diego Simeone paid tribute to Diego Costa after the star’s Atletico Madrid deal was terminated
Atletico boss Simeone (pictured) said he hopes to share an embrace with Costa and celebrate
‘I am grateful to him, like all the people who gave us their hearts,’ he said, as reported by Marca. ‘Diego was one of them, as much from a sporting point of view as from a human point of view.’
Costa was handed permission to miss training on Monday during his attempts to leave the Wanda Metropolitano due to ‘personal reasons’.
‘We haven’t seen each other for a few days because Diego didn’t come to train while he was negotiating. Most importantly, we can hug each other when we see each other, celebrating our memories.’ Simeone added.
Costa asked for his £270,000-a-week terms to be ripped up early after struggling for minutes
The former Chelsea ace’s terms had just six more months to run, but Costa asked for an early divorce in order to take up a new challenge imminently. It is believed he was earning £270,000-a-week.
The Spain international struggled to make a notable impact this season, having been waylaid by several injuries and often dropped to the bench.
Leg and muscle setbacks saw Costa miss six of Atletico’s LaLiga fixtures from the end of October to mid-December as well as Champions League action. He has scored just two goals this campaign.
Simeone has favoured a partnership of starlet Joao Felix and Luis Suarez instead – and the Atletico coach is thought to have also favoured allowing Costa to leave as soon as possible.
Simeone is also understood to have favoured allowing ace Costa to leave as soon as possible
During his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with Getafe, Simeone outlined how Atletico plan to deal with Costa’s departure.
‘It was very recent with Diego,’ he said. ‘The sports management works to find the best for the team in any situation that may happen.
‘The club will tell me what they think and then we will share situations if someone comes to fill the position that Diego has left empty.’
The tactician insisted that finding the balance between helping the club and its players is crucial, however.
Both Arsenal and Juventus are said to have shown an interest in moving for Costa next month
He added: ‘I will not explain the contractual issues. We want to help Diego as he has been helped, but obviously we do not want to harm ourselves.
‘The people who work at the club will have put the balance between the club and wellness.’
Arsenal and Juventus are both believed to be among the clubs hoping to swoop for Costa in the near future.
Sportsmail reported earlier that the London club are viewed as offering a ‘favourable situation’ for Costa with boss Mikel Arteta keen to add reinforcements next month.
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