MADRID — Diego Costa’s time at Chelsea seems to have come to an end.
The Spain striker said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte doesn’t want him playing for the English team next season, so he is on the market for a new club.
"The other day I received a message from coach Conte saying that I’m not part of his plans," Costa said after Spain’s 2-2 home draw against Colombia in a friendly on Wednesday. "I’m a Chelsea player because I’m still under contract, but the coach doesn’t want me there, so I’ll have to leave."
The Brazilian-born Costa, whose contract is valid until 2019, said he doesn’t know why the coach made the decision to let him go.
"I don’t know, it seems that I had a bad season," Costa said, not hiding his disappointment with how the matter was handled. "He just sent me a message, a simple message, after everything that I’ve done. Just a message."
Costa scored 20 goals for Chelsea to help the club win the Premier League title this season, finishing as the competition’s third-highest scorer. He has scored more than 50 goals with Chelsea since joining the club from Atletico Madrid in 2014.
The 28-year-old Costa said his future was up in the air.
"I just have to look for another team to play for," he said. "But now it’s all easier, because if the coach doesn’t want you in the team, Chelsea will have to sell me no matter what, and at a discount."
Costa was in a dispute with the coaching staff in January after he was the subject of interest from a club in the Chinese league, which was reportedly prepared to pay him more than $30 million a year.
Costa said he likes living in Madrid and would like to return to Atletico, although he would also consider other options.
"It would be nice to be back with Atletico, but I have to think about it," Costa said. "I want to be playing, always. And next year we have the World Cup. So there are a lot of things to think about."
He said he has not entered any negotiations with Atletico or any other club, although his agents already know about the message he received from Conte.
Chelsea did not immediately comment on Costa’s remarks.
The club has been linked with its former striker, Romelu Lukaku, who said while on international duty with Belgium that he had reached agreement with an unnamed club for a move away from Everton.
Lukaku was at Chelsea from 2011-14 and was seen as a natural heir to Didier Drogba, although he didn’t fully play up to expectations and spent season-long loans at West Bromwich Albion and Everton before being sold to Everton in 2014.